WASHINGTON — The Air Force’s senior enlisted Airman testified in front of the National Commission on the Structure of the Air Force Oct. 25 in Arlington, Va., giving his perspective of the total force and the challenges to building the best balance for the future.
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody shared his view on how the Air Force has performed as a total force during the past two decades of war, and addressed deployments for active-duty members, Reserve and Air National Guard.
During the testimony, Cody said the effective integration and cohesion of the three components over the last 13 years at war has strengthened the relationship of the total force.
“We’ve been extremely successful,” Cody said.
A topic heavily discussed and emphasized during the testimony was the concern about future deployment operations tempo for the Air Force. Cody said Airmen have been able to project airpower around the world with success, especially during operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. He also noted there is concern about how much longer Airmen can be asked to deploy as often as they do without it negatively affecting Airmen and their families.
Currently, active-duty Airmen have a dwell rate of 1:2, and reserve components are charged with deploying at a 1:5 rate. What a 1:2 dwell rate means is for every one month deployed, an Airman is at home station for two months, and for reserve components, for every one month deployed, they’re not deployed for five months.
“Performance has indicated that we are able to do what our nation asks us to do around the world, when they need us to do it,” Cody said. “But that doesn’t mean we can rely on the current construct going into the future.”
During recent years, the Air Force has consistently reduced its active-duty force. Through this reduction, Cody is proud of the fact Airmen are accomplishing the missions asked of them.
“The good news is our Airmen do get it done every day,” he said.
Appointed by the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, the commission is reviewing the Air Force’s structure to determine if and how it should change to meet future missions and funding challenges. The commission’s report and recommendations are due to the president by Feb. 1, 2014.