The Government Accounting Office does not think the Air Force approach to managing its space workforce will “ensure it has enough space acquisition personnel or personnel who are technically proficient to meet national security needs,” according to a new GAO report. For one thing, GAO thinks the service must do a “zero-based needs” assessment of its space acquisition workforce—military, civilian, and contractor—to “help inform” the service’s planned personnel reductions. The service plans to cut 40,000 positions—a mix of military and civilian—and, GAO says, it also plans to reduce its contract force by 25 percent over the next five years. DOD only partially concurs with GAO recommendations. For instance, DOD believes any assessment of space acquisition personnel “must be integrated” as part of the Air Force’s total force planning process. It also does not yet agree with GAO that USAF should create a space-specific acquisition force, saying there is merit in having the “flexibility to use these individuals in other acquisition positions.”
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.