Force cuts won't alter Air Force's ability to do its job

Monday - 3/12/2012, 12:06pm EDT

Lt. Gen. Darrell Jones, deputy cheif of staff for manpower, personnel and services, Air Force

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Budget pressure is resulting in force reductions at the Air Force. The service is looking to eliminate 10,000 jobs as part of the Pentagon's plan to cut spending by $500 billion over 10 years.

"In the Air Force we're continuing a multi-year program to do what we call 'force shape,' said Lt. Gen. Darrell Jones, the Air Force's deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services. "It's our responsibility now to make sure we have the right people in the right jobs at the right time. That includes active duty, Guard, Reserve and our civilian workforce."

Jones told The Federal Drive with Tom Temin Monday that none of the proposed reductions would change the basic organizational structure of the Air Force.

Lt. Gen. Darrell Jones, deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services, Air Force (DoD)

"The squadron will continue to be the building block and the most important fundamental organizational foundation for how we do our job and how we do our business," he said. "These reductions are really across the board in all areas and all specialties, which will allow us to come down to a number that is sustainable but still allows us to be agile, to be lethal and for us to be able to respond on a moment's notice."

Over the last year, the Air Force has been offering voluntary early retirement and separation incentives to members of its civilian workforce who are retirement-eligible.

Although the Air Force will feel the effects of the DoD mandate to reduce its end force strength, the sting won't be as great as that felt by other services.

"Over the last few years, since we've had a ground-centric campaign, we've had to robust the numbers of the Marine Corps and the Army, and so their numbers are going to be coming down in greater proportion than the other services," Jones said. "So you won't see significant reductions in wings and squadrons. You'll see reductions in some capability where we try to focus on multi-role aircraft and multi-role platforms that will allow us to be more versatile when we conduct our mission."

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