The Air Force's latest budget plan proposes to cut 25,000 airmen, including 21,000 from the active duty and 4,000 from the reserves. These cuts represent not only a loss to our nation from the investment in costly military training, but also an increased risk from losing the ability to 'surge' these skilled airmen in a future crisis. The recommendations made by the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force (NCSAF) offer an alternative — and less risky — way forward.
The NCSAF's plan would reduce risk to the nation by retaining all 507,000 active, guard and reserve airmen in a rebalanced "Total Force." It envisions increased — but more predictable — reliance on a larger reserve component composed of more part-time airmen serving side by side in integrated units with their active-duty colleagues. This more integrated structure will enhance efficiencies by sharing aircraft and equipment across a more streamlined command structure.