Defense Management. Fully Developed Management Framework Needed to Guide Air Force Future Total Force Efforts
GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABILITY OFFICE WASHINGTON DC
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The Air Force used an iterative process to develop its 20-year force structure plan with periodic review and oversight by senior-level Department of Defense DOD and Air Force officials however, stakeholders have different views on the extent to which the Air Force sought and addressed input from process participants. The plan included a reduction in the legacy fighter fleet residing largely within the Air National Guard and the acquisition of new aircraft such as the FA-22 and the Joint Strike Fighter. In late 2004, a department-wide shift in funding priorities reduced the number of FA-22 aircraft to be acquired and resulted in changes to the Air Forces plan. Perspectives on how well this process worked vary depending on the role and level of involvement of each organization. For example, Air Force Air Staff officials viewed the process as fully participatory and noted that the Air National Guard Bureau and the Air Forces major commands had direct representation on the force structure development team. In contrast, Air National Guard officials expressed concerns about their ability to influence decisions and 7 of the 10 adjutants general whom GAO contacted believed that they did not have sufficient opportunity to influence the decisions. Because documentation of the proceedings of key meetings was limited, GAO was unable to evaluate the extent to which stakeholders influenced the process. During the same period, the Air National Guard began a separate effort -- the Vanguard Engagement Strategy -- to solicit input from the states on future roles and missions for the Guard and to prepare its units to respond to anticipated force structure reductions.
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