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Force shaping update

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- As a military member, the needs of the force always come first. The longterm goals of the Air Force's Force Shaping plan span out until 2011 and everyone - active, Guard, Reserve, and even civilians - will be affected. Thus, it is important to understand why the
upcoming cuts are going to happen and what one's options are. 

The Air Force is continually changing and there are several goals in place to meet budget and mission requirements. One is a reduction in numbers. By 2011, officials plan to have approximately 63,000 less active duty officer and enlisted, Air Reserve component troops and civilians in the total force. 

According to Chief Rodney McKinley, Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force, bringing the numbers down will create a "much more capable force." 

Officials wish to see the force streamlined and realize that this will mean more work for less people, but they also recognize that there needs to be better, more efficient ways of completing the mission. The motto is to work smarter, not harder. 

In addition, the Air Force is feeling the constraints of a tight budget set by Congress while aircraft and equipment are getting older. In order to guarantee that the United States continues to be the world's most respected air and space force in the present and future, aging fleets of aircraft must be updated and maintained, said Lt. Gen. Roger A. Brady, Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower and personnel. 

In the upcoming fiscal year 2007, the Air Force plans to bring the active duty officer and enlisted numbers down. More than 9,000 active duty officers must separate through normal attrition, retirement, boards, retrain, or other force-shaping measures in order
to reach the quota for fiscal year 2011. 

Active duty enlisted personnel face even bigger cuts, with a goal of approximately 32,000 cuts by 2011. 

Officers who are in the 2003 / 2004 year groups will face a reduction in numbers but those selected will be from overage Air Force Specialty Codes which were excluded in the 2006 board. Officials expect approximately 930 losses as a result from the board, which will be held in March 2007. 

So what does this mean for Goodfellow? 

According to Maj. Michael J. Gayer, 17th Mission Support Squadron commander,
the most likely AFSCs which will face cuts are those that provide support. That means operational career fields will be retained. 

Goodfellow's main programs are intelligence and firefighter training. 

The intelligence career fields may face possible cuts; while the specific AFSCs and actual numbers will be announced next month, it is a toss-up whether there will be a reduction in intelligence numbers because it is "right on-theline," predicts the major. 

According to Maj. Gayer, the base lost 10 civilian billets in the past year. For more information regarding the Force Shaping program, check out the website
http://www.afpc.randolph.af.mil/retsep/forceshaping/shape.htm (Maj. Gayer and the Air Force Print News contributed to this article.)