McCain Accuses Air Force of Playing Shell Game

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said the Air Force’s 20-percent reduction in its headquarters staff is nothing more than a “shell game” that goes against a Defense Department directive meant to eliminate redundancy and save taxpayer dollars. “After touting the speed at which the Air Force had achieved a 20-percent headquarters reduction, you later conceded that none of the Air Force civilians that were part of that reduction? were actually removed from the payroll of the Air Force,” wrote McCain in a March 24 letter addressed to USAF Secretary Deborah Lee James. “In reality, the Air Force re-designated the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency as the 25th Air Force subordinate to Air Combat Command. The Air Force also stood up an Installation and Mission Support Center subordinate headquarters led by a two-star general and attendant support staff,” continued the letter. McCain also noted that SASC has not received a reprogramming request “from the savings generated in the headquarters budget,” and he “strongly” urged USAF to “re-examine” the previous guidance, noting the committee would “closely” monitor the “issue.”