Biting Budget Bullet All Around:

The Noncommissioned Officer Academy at McGuire AFB, N.J., has closed, and more academies will follow, Col. John Bowley, commander of the College for Enlisted Professional Military Education, told the Daily Report via telephone from Maxwell AFB, Ala., yesterday. They are falling prey to both to the personnel drawdown and budget belt tightening. USAF’s planned cut of 40,000 airmen—generated by a need to put that money into aircraft modernization—has meant there will be fewer NCOs to attend the academies—the requirements and the dollars are just not there. “What we need to do to be smart is to right-size our NCO Academy and minimize costs,” Bowley said. McGuire was first because it had the number of instructors and students USAF needs to cut right now and the facility also needed a “serious” upgrade, explained Bowley. The next NCO academies to close are at Kirtland AFB, N.M., Robins AFB, Ga., and Goodfellow AFB, Tex. The Robins and Goodfellow academies will close next year, and Kirtland’s will close in 2009. Bowley said these four closures should save the Air Force approximately $5 million in manpower annually. The other NCO academies are located at Elmendorf AFB, Alaska, Hickam AFB, Hawaii, Kadena AB, Japan, Kapon AS, Germany, Keesler AFB, Miss., Maxwell-Gunter AFB, Ala., Peterson AFB, Colo., and Tyndall AFB, Fla.