Air Force recruiters are bringing in the best possible young people to the service and USAF is meeting and exceeding recruiting goals, Gen. William Looney, commander of Air Education and Training Command, said Feb. 22 at AFA’s Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando. “We have a high-quality force today,” Looney told the symposium audience during his presentation, adding that it appears the trend will continue. In Fiscal 2008, the Air Force met its enlisted recruitment goal of 27,800 new airmen with a force of 1,244 recruiters across the nation, he said. The ratio of enlisted recruits to recruiters came out to 22:1—the best of all the services—and USAF spent only $8,741 per recruit in signing them up, including enlisted bonuses and loan repayments, he said. The result is that the Air Force leads all US military branches in top flight recruits, known as 13-As. Ninety-nine percent of the enlisted force has a high school degree and 91 percent don’t require an entry waiver, he said. Those impressive numbers come at a time when the Air Force has consolidated its recruiting centers, cut back on its personnel, and aligned efforts with ZIP codes to find better candidates, the general said.
NASA, SpaceX, and United Launch Alliance are all preparing to launch their next-gen rockets from Florida’s Space Coast, two of them before the year is out. One is expected to liberate the U.S. launch enterprise from its reliance on Russian-made RD-180 engines, while all three rockets could eventually carry astronaut crews.