I had the chance to ask Chris Short, who recently re-upped (see the video), a few questions on how the lack of funding for the Air Force is impacting active duty personnel. In particular with active duty changing duty stations and relocating. As most people know military personnel aren't paid nearly what they are worth.
Digger: "So Chris, what is your take as active duty Air Force on this situation?"
Short: "I honestly think that Congress's timetable laden bills are forcing the Department of Defense as a whole to shift money around to help keep up the good fight. The sad thing is, that the money being shifted right now is the same money that is going to pay me this summer and help me move in the early fall. It's a sad situation, really, but I feel that the Commander-in-Chief is trying to do the right thing. However, others are just trying to make the CINC look bad."
Digger: "Have you seen this impacting others in the Air Force yet? Are they concerned?"
Short: "I've seen a handful of people being extended in Iraq long past their selected tours because of the "surge" and lack of money... They are gravely concerned by this because it means they will either A) stay out there longer or B) be stranded"
Digger: "Having been in the service myself and knowing how close knit the spouses are, do they know of this situation and if so how much has it concerned them?"
Short: "I have not heard from spouses about this yet... But, I can only imagine"
Digger: "I can only imagine that once spouses realize what could potentially happen it will spread like wildfire. Do you have anything in the works just in case funding doesn't come through?"
Short: "What can I really do at this point?"
You can tell that Chris is at a loss for what to do if the funding falls through as are thousands just like him.
Don't you love how those in powerful positions claim to really care about the military and then at the first chance will play political games with their finances, morale and general stress levels? I mean these people are already on the edge with potential deployment and friends and family in combat and then you've got our Congress sitting around adding to it unnecessarily all to prove a point.
Whenever I hear someone in power say they support the troops I always do a double-take, because it's usually the statement right before they say "but I'm gonna screw them".
Thanks to Chris for taking the time to answer the few questions above
Make sure you visit Chris' site Conservative Thinking.
The USAF is in deep financial trouble. The problem is that the aircraft are old and falling apart. The majority of the active duty C-130 fleet is from 1970s era and the KC-135 fleet is older than dirt, and maintenance rates reflect both. The F-15 is still a great plane, but will no longer be state of the art if we don't replace it (also from the late 1970s). To reconstitute the fleet, the USAF had to make a tough decision, cut people or cut hardware. Well, cutting hardware is impossible since that is what we need to rebuild. So the Air Force came up with "Force Shaping" (also known in common language as a friggin RIF) It is a good deal for those already planning to get out and if no one took the deal, then they'd start cutting people, which they have. Point is, the USAF is cutting pilots and other personnel in the middle of a war because they have no more money in the budget to rebuild.
What makes this really suck is say that you are a C-130 pilot out of 100 c-130 pilots. Then they cut 50 pilots out. All of a sudden you are having to deploy twice as much or twice as long. Now I actually have no idea the numbers cut out of the total force of pilots, but I do know that they have cut a bunch and that isn't exactly going to feel good on those left behind. Even a reduction in 200 pilots out of a 1000 will be felt.
Officers would move, on the average, after 3 years on station. Now they are moving every 4 years. And I heard a rumor that out of all the C-130 pilots, only 4 or 5 have orders to move.
I don't know about the other services, but this "do more with less" attitude is not a good thing. And to say the least, it is troubling.
PS: Digger, would you mind letting Rusty over at the Jawa Report that every comment I make must get marked as SPAM will actually SPAM ends up making it past the filter.
Posted by: Duncan Avatar on May 4, 2007 09:14 AM