US Air Force is Dramatically Understaffed - Retiring Air Force Chief of Staff

US Air Force is Dramatically Understaffed - Retiring Air Force Chief of Staff 1 July, 2016

According to retiring Air Force Chief of Staff Mark Welsh, the US military branch needs nearly 40,000 to 60,000 more airmen to fulfil its programs. At least 30,000 are needed for the beleaguered F-35 Joint Strike fighter jet. Speaking during a retirement ceremony last week, Welsh said that the US Air Force is going to need to dramatically increase its number of personnel in order to successfully accomplish future missions.

While the Air Force plans to increase its staff from 317,000 in 2017 to some 324,000 in 2019, this is still not enough to ensure that all programs are operating at full capacity. "We've been talking about adding new capability when we weren't being allowed to divest old capability. We've been talking about expanding space, cyber, [remotely piloted aircraft] capability and someone asked me, ‘Well, how many airmen would it take to be able to do all that?' and I said, ‘I don't know — 40,000 to 60,000 would be a guess," Welsh said. "If we're not allowed to divest the airmen who are doing other things today for our Air Force to put against the F-35 fleet, you start with 30,000 more that are required. If we want to expand RPA wings, it's going to take 5,000 to 10,000 people to expand that mission area. If we want to take all the mission areas in the Air Force that are currently manned at 85 percent and plus them up to 100 percent, it's going to be more airmen," he explaine. Welsh served as the senior uniformed Air Force officer responsible for the organization, training and equipping of 660,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian forces serving in the United States and overseas.

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