The Air Force’s top doctor, Lt. Gen. James Roudebush, says the Air Force is facing “major challenges” in its medical arena. He told lawmakers last week that the drive to become ever more efficient has caused the USAF medical force “to programmatically reduce our operating platforms and take risks in areas we’d prefer not take risk.” Roudebush declared that “a significant and sustained shortfall” in military construction funding has produced “much older, much less efficient, and much more costly facilities.” He also pointed to an “increasingly difficult” recruiting and retention environment and trouble in “finding the right balance” for military to civilian personnel conversions. However, despite these dire warnings, Roudebush maintained that the Air Force medics, “at the end of the day,” continue to provide “world-class health care.”
The Air Force overall reduced its size by 120 aircraft in fiscal year 2021, but kept about the same number of fighter, bomber and attack aircraft, according to data supplied by the service. The F-35 fleet saw the biggest increase while the B-1B bomber fleet saw the largest decline.