WEATHER ALERT

Challenging evening commute ahead as rain, snow showers redevelop

Retired Air Force vice chair warns force is too small


A former vice chief of staff of the U.S. Air Force struck what is by now a familiar refrain in a recent column, saying the Air Force is too small.

The column was published Tuesday in Defense News, running at a time when the Air Force and civilian airlines are competing for the best pilots.

“America’s Air Force currently has 312 operational squadrons,” wrote retired Gen. Larry Spencer in the column. “The problem is they need 386.”

MOREBeavercreek contractor picks up $44.8M in defense work

“The Air Force goes to war with squadrons,” Spencer said. “Operational squadrons represent the core fighting unit while service support, sustainment and agile combat support squadrons provide support.”

Recently, Col. John Robinson, commander of the 445th Operations Group, based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, told this news outlet that his group has the personnel it needs.

But he predicted that the problem of having too few pilots will be with us for a while.

“It’s not going to go away any time soon,” he said. “And part of it is that since 9/11, forces have been flown a lot.”

RELATEDThe fight for flyers

The Air Force has about 18,000 of the roughly 20,000 pilots it needs. In 2017, Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson and Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein said the problem concerns them.

“With 2,000 pilots short, it’ll break the force,” Wilson said in 2017. “It will break it.”

Spencer wrote that when he entered the Air Force, active-duty strength was 754,000 personnel, and the U.S. had about 96 fighter squadrons. “Fast forward to 1990 when the U.S. fought Operation Desert Storm. At the time, the Air Force had 134 fighter squadrons and they deployed 32 forward,” he wrote.

Today, the Air Force has 54 fighter squadrons, including active duty, Guard and Reserve. “Active-duty end strength is 325,100, a 57 percent decrease from when I first enlisted,” Spencer wrote.

Spencer served as director of mission support at the Air Force Materiel Command based at Wright-Patterson from June 2003 to August 2005.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Beware of shady door-to-door energy sales tactics
Beware of shady door-to-door energy sales tactics

It’s the time of year for door-to-door pitches to get you to switch your energy provider, but consumers need to be wary of shady sales tactics. Norm Krebs of Dayton said he was pressured into an energy contract with a new supplier. Instead of saving money, as he was promised — his bill skyrocketed.  He listened to a pitch from a salesperson...
Dayton Children’s gets approval from accreditation agency
Dayton Children’s gets approval from accreditation agency

Dayton Children’s Hospital is fully accredited by a leading industry rating agency after a preliminary denial earlier this year. The Joint Commission, a nonprofit that accredits hospitals and other health care businesses, had updated the hospital’s accreditation status following a survey at the hospital on Oct. 30. CEO Deborah Feldman had...
Amazon reportedly chooses second headquarters: What it means for Ohio
Amazon reportedly chooses second headquarters: What it means for Ohio

Amazon will reportedly split its second headquarters between New York and Virginia, the Associated Press reported this morning. Instead of one location, Amazon is expected to announce early Tuesday it will build two offices — one in New York and one in Northern Virginia near Washington D.C., the AP reported. The search for a second headquarters...
Cactuses, street graffiti and thousands of sandwiches: The tactics cities used to try to lure Amazon
Cactuses, street graffiti and thousands of sandwiches: The tactics cities used to try to lure Amazon

The guessing game is over: Amazon.com reportedly plans to open new corporate outposts in Northern Virginia and New York, two already crowded metropolitan areas that are likely to become even less affordable with a new influx of tech workers. In some ways, the decision isn't surprising, as Amazon had made it clear that the company wanted to base its...
Tax abatement requested for some of last undeveloped land in I-75 corridor
Tax abatement requested for some of last undeveloped land in I-75 corridor

Warren County has been asked to create a zone around 1,300 acres east of Interstate 75 where property taxes could be forgiven on future commercial or industrial development. The land, some of the last large, undeveloped parcels along the I-75 corridor between Cincinnati and Dayton, is located near the Miami Valley Gaming & Racing racino and Park North...
More Stories