Welsh: Fix Pay and Benefits

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said the Air Force must control the rising cost of pay and benefits in order to maintain a sustainable service in the future. Speaking to airmen at Grand Forks AFB, N.D., on Nov. 25, Welsh said pay, benefits, and medical costs comprise about half of the Air Force’s budget, and the costs are growing. The Air Force may not be able to do its job if “all we’re doing is paying our people,” said Welsh. He said some experts think the Air Force will reach that breaking point as early 2023, while others say it’s likely to come by 2032, states a Nov. 26 release. Welsh said senior leaders merely want to slow the growth of such benefits. “Our people will understand that,” he said. “Everything we do is about taking care of them. Nobody cares more about the men and women in our services than the service chiefs.” Although the services have benefited immensely from pay and benefits over the last 20 years, Welsh said, “it’s time to slow it down a little bit until we know we can do our primary job, which is fight and win the nation’s wars.” Welsh spoke during a three-day visit to North Dakota and South Dakota.