Right-Sized is Down-Sized

Authorized Air Force endstrength will take a steep nosedive in Fiscal 2015, dropping from 503,000 to 483,000, according to a budget brief presented Tuesday. The cuts are “driven by the divestiture of associated force structure [and] weapon systems, headquarters realignment, and rebalancing of aircrew-to-cockpit ratios in a post-Afghanistan environment,” states the brief. The Active Duty would take the biggest hit, dropping from 328,000 in FY’14 to 311,000 in Fiscal 2015. The Air Force Reserve is projected to lose 3,000 personnel in Fiscal 2015, while Guard authorizations will remain steady at 105,000. Officials say they will use targeted programs to meet the endstrength goals with an initial focus on voluntary separations and retirements, though involuntary measures are a possibility. Endstrength will continue to decrease through Fiscal 2019, though at a much slower pace. According to budget documents, Active duty endstrength is projected to be 308,000 in Fiscal 2019, the Air Force Reserve is projected at 67,000, and the Air National Guard is listed at 104,000. Officials said airmen will continue to receive a raise, though it will be held at one percent. Pay will be frozen for general officers, according to the brief.