Building Up the Cyber Ranks

The Air Force is building up its force in key areas after decades of downsizing that went too far, and is especially focused on recruiting new people for the cyber fight, Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said. Speaking on Monday at a Center for a New American Security event in Washington, D.C., James said years of cuts have meant the service is now too small to do all the missions it needs to. The service is looking to use its Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve components to be able to attract new cyber operators who can fulfill a patriotic duty to serve while still retaining their civilian careers. “There is no single approach to cyber,” James said, noting the service needs to “open up the aperture” to find the best people, those who are “agile thinkers.” In addition to cyber, the Air Force is focused on building up the ranks in the remotely piloted aircraft community and maintenance. The service ended Fiscal 2017 with 317,800 airmen in the Active Duty, 800 more than its original goal for the end of the year. (See also: The Readiness Conundrum from the June issue of Air Force Magazine.)