What Goes Around

Air Force leadership has decided that it’s time to standardize—once again—the number of military and civilian personnel that must comprise its wings and groups. According to a news report from Hanscom AFB, Mass., Lt. Gen. Ted Bowlds, commander of Hanscom’s Electronic Systems Center, told his workforce recently that new Air Force size standards will force changes in ESC’s organizational structure. Under these changes, he said that a wing must have at least 1,000 military and civilian members, while a group must have at least 400. Air Force Materiel Command units, including ESC, just a few years ago adopted a new organizational structure that transformed program offices and such into wings, groups, and squadrons. (Air Force Instruction 38-101, dated April 4, 2006, on manpower and organization eliminated “specific manpower size guidelines.”) Unfortunately, AFMC’s largely acquisition-centered workforce includes many contract employees, so, in many cases, as Bowlds said, “There is no way we can make the numbers work.” The Air Force has decided that contract employees will count as a third of an employee when computing numbers needed to justify wing or group status. The inevitable do-over for AFMC organizations is “a work in progress right now,” according to Bowlds, who only talked about the impact on ESC units, but it undoubtedly has ramifications command-wide. (Hanscom report by Chuck Paone) (To understand the earlier shift to a wing structure, read Air Force Magazine’s Operational Acquisition)