A New Low on the Horizon

The Air Force will be left with the lowest number of general officer positions in its history in several years when it completes the planned elimination of 39 billets as part of Pentagon-wide efforts to shed excess overhead, said Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Philip Breedlove Wednesday. It’s also getting rid of nine positions in its civilian cadre of senior executive service officials, he said. “When these reductions are complete in 2014, the Air Force senior leadership will consist of 261 general officers and 188 SES [officials], a level lower than that of the Air Force senior leadership team on Sept. 11, 2001, and the lowest level of Air Force general officers ever,” Breedlove told the Senate Armed Service Committee’s personnel panel. That’s a total of 449 leadership positions compared to 453 in the fall of 2001 (282 GO billets and 171 SES positions), according to Breedlove’s written statement. Of the 39 GO billets eyed for elimination, 22 are service-oriented positions and 17 are joint. Of the Air Force’s 300 currently authorized GO billets, 208 are service-specific and 92 are joint, according to the statement. Of the current 197 SES billets, 170 are service-oriented and 27 are joint.