Taxing the Force

Twenty of the Air Force’s 132 enlisted specialties and eight of the 125 officers specialties are considered “stressed” due to today’s high operational tempo, Lt. Gen. Herbert Carlisle, deputy chief of staff for operations, plans and requirements, told lawmakers last week. “A number of programs are in place to bolster the manning in these career fields as well as mitigate potential negative effects on our airmen and their families,” he said in written remarks to the House Armed Services Committee’s readiness panel. He didn’t specify the stressed career fields, but service officials have previously stated that remotely piloted aircraft operators, security forces, and civil engineers are among them. Carlisle also said 30,000 of the 37,000 airmen who are forward deployed are engaged in US Central Command’s area of operations, including 10,000 in Afghanistan in missions like close air support, airlift, air refueling, personnel rescue, and training Afghan airmen. (Carlisle prepared testimony)