3,700 USAF Junior Acquisition Officers! Rebalance USAF Manning Priorities Now
Air War College, Air University Maxwell AFB United States
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The United States Air Force USAF currently has a manning crisis in the pilot, maintenance, and intelligence officer career fields, among several other career fields in the USAF operations and operations support career fields. The USAF leadership has clearly identified these career fields as the priority for accessing and retaining officers. Yet, the USAF officer career fields have a manning priority imbalance between the USAF mission operations and operations support positions, and the acquisition career fields. The overall intent of this paper is to expose the number of Active Duty AD Line of The Air Force LAF junior officer positions in the acquisition career fields and to propose an innovative method of educating future USAF acquisition officers. This paper uses a quantitative and qualitative approach to argue that the benefits of the AD LAF acquisition officer direct accessions is not worth the initial resource costs and return on investment relative to higher priority USAF AD LAF manning needs at the junior officer, or Company Grade Officer CGO, level. This paper then recommends an innovative mid-career USAF acquisition officer cross-flow program to educate new acquisition officers as they embark on a career path towards becoming a USAF senior acquisition leader. The paper provides three recommendations related to building the future USAF AD LAF acquisition career fields. This first recommendation proposes to immediately cease direct officer accessions into the acquisition career fields. The second recommendation involves cross-flowing AD LAF officers in their mid-career timeframe into acquisition. The third recommendation argues for using a combination of the Education with Industry EWI program and the Defense Innovation Unit Experimental DIUx initiative assignments to enhance newly-accessed USAF acquisition officers education and training prior to their full integration into the USAF acquisition career field.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations