Understrength Air Force Officer Career Fields: A Force Management Approach
Apr 14, 2005
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The U.S. Air Force faces a manpower shortage in many critical career fields. At the end of the Cold War, all of the U.S. military services downsized their forces in response to a new international security environment free of superpower conflict. But the recent increase in deployments (for operations in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Iraq, for example), the competition for workers posed by a healthy economy, and other factors have been blamed for chronic understrength conditions in some career fields. The Air Force is concerned about having enough people with the right mix of skills for the technologically complex task of generating and projecting aerospace power in the 21st century.
RAND Project AIR FORCE (PAF) examined the causes of the shortages in the active-duty, non-rated line officer force, a broad set of diverse career fields that make up almost 50 percent of the officer corps. PAF found that many aspects of the problem may be due to a lack of high-level workforce coordination and planning. Workforce management occurs at three levels: tactical, operational, and strategic. Most management concentrates on short-term tactical problems, which are both challenging and time-consuming and divert attention away from the strong, centralized planning that would help the Air Force diagnose workforce problems and implement solutions across the entire force. PAF made recommendations in each of the three management areas, with special emphasis on operational and strategic management.
This research brief describes work done for RAND Project AIR FORCE.
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