Breaking the Daisy Chain

The sequester is doing long-term damage to the Air Force’s flow of leader development, Gen. Mike Hostage, commander of Air Combat Command, said in a June 27 interview with Air Force Magazine. The cancellation of Air Force Weapons School Class 13B was a blow, he said, and will leave a gap in tactical and theater airpower expertise that will persist for years. “I’ll never recover that class,” he said. While those who would have attended might compete for a future class—“assuming I get a chance to do a weapons school next year—more than likely, they…will never get to go,” Hostage said, because another year group will be coming through, and “I don’t ever get to double a class size to catch back up.” The opportunity, once missed, is gone. “If you take a decrement…that decrement exists for the full span of time it takes for that age group to age out.” This year group “will be short” of Weapons School graduates, “and it will be that way forever. So, some impacts are unrecoverable,” Hostage acknowledged. To a less-permanent degree, the same thing is happening as the flying standdown delays pilots from upgrading to flight lead, instructor pilot, or mission commander. Hostage said he’s worried about the morale and retention of pilots “who’ve been told, ‘hey, take a knee, we don’t have enough money to fly you.’”