Nothing Happens in a Vacuum

Budget battles between Congress and the Air Force are starting to affect Air National Guard retention, Lt. Gen. Bud Wyatt, ANG director, told Senate defense appropriators May 23. “We have great volunteerism and our people stick with us a long time, but our retention numbers are beginning to drop,” said Wyatt. “I attribute that to the Air Force’s [Fiscal 2013 President’s Budget]. It has had a more detrimental effect on our retention numbers than 20 years of high operational combat has had.” Uncertainty about the future of the Air Guard and specific units appears to be taking “a toll on our people,” added Wyatt. Specifically, Air Guardsmen seem to be wondering if they should invest their time in a unit that may or may not be here next year, he said. The Air Force had proposed cutting 5,100 Air Guardsmen and 134 Guard aircraft next fiscal year as part of its Fiscal 2013 budget request. House defense appropriators last week nixed the service’s proposed reductions outright, and the House’s version of the Fiscal 2013 defense authorization bill, approved on May 18, rescinded most of the cuts. The Senate has yet to vote on its Fiscal 2013 defense policy and spending bills. (Wyatt’s written testimony)