The Government Accountability Office says that within the military services—active and reserve—some 41 percent of specialties have been “consistently underfilled” from Fiscal 2000-05. The Air Force has been working for several years to reshuffle its airmen from overstaffed career fields to those that are chronically understaffed. (Read our article on “The New Drawdown.”) According to data collected by the GAO for 2000-05 on percentages of under- and overfilled specialties, the active Air Force does not have that many overfilled categories, but it does show 55 percent of its specialties are underfilled. USAF officials say the data merely represents the force structure changes the service has made to provide more authorizations in low-density, high-demand career fields. It is now training personnel to fill those slots.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.