Four Years about Right

Four years is about the correct length of time for an airman with a permanent-change-of-station assignment in the continental United States, Chief of Staff Mark Welsh told lawmakers on Wednesday. “I believe that four years is about right,” Welsh told the Senate Appropriations Committee’s defense panel on May 8, when asked about this by panel Chairman Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) “Much longer than that, you run into a separate set of problems, from a workforce that is not maybe refreshed or energized enough,” he added. Welsh said these PCS moves are “one of the strengths” of the service. “We bring new views, new ways of doing business to organizations over time,” he said. Due to the budget sequester, Welsh said “there is a lot of trouble with continuing to fund the normal PCS rotations.” He added, “We probably will have to stop them at some point during this year and move only the required movers—people going to additional training, people returning from overseas.” The Air Force is doing a test program in Europe “to see if at our larger installations, we can stabilize overseas tour lengths at a longer period of time as well,” noted Welsh.