720 cuts means AF is less forgiving

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. John Kilian
  • Combat Air Forces Logistics Support Center
The Air Force is on a mission to cut almost 40,000 Airmen by the end of fiscal year 2009. How are they going to accomplish this huge task? One of the ways to slim down our force is to trim excess fat! 

What I mean by this is one of the tools the Air Force is using to reduce our end-strength is to focus attention on getting rid of Airmen who posses negative quality indicators such as, Article 15s, Unfavorable Information Files, control rosters, assignment limitation and reenlistment eligibility codes. So, let's examine what things you can do, or fail to do, that could cut your career short.

I like to categorize potential career-ending actions into three main areas: 

1) Not Doing Your Job
2) Not "Fit"ting In
3) Breaking Rules

Not doing your job is a surefire way to ensure the Air Force will give you the boot. With downsizing initiatives in full swing, the Air Force must operate "leaner and smarter" so there is no longer room to keep deadweight. Therefore, substandard performance, multiple CDC failures, inability to meet expectations, incompetence, and the inability to maintain proficiency commensurate to your grade, are all great ways to ensure you get sent out the front gate without an ID card to get back in.

Not "fit"ting in pertains to staying physically fit. The Air Force culture is rapidly changing and this is clearly evident in the increased number of Army in-lieu-of taskings we fill. We must be ready to be on the front lines in a combat environment and the importance of staying physically fit now goes way beyond living healthy and looking good. It's now a matter of life or death for you and the person standing next to you. Therefore, repeated non-compliance to maintain physical fitness standards may also eventually lead to a "one-way" ticket out the front gate.

Last, breaking the rules translates into you making a bad choice that violates good order and discipline; and your "bad" choice(s) may very well lead to the demise of your career. The top three bad choices I feel will almost guarantee you will no longer be part of the Air Force team follows: 

1) Use of drugs (to include taking other people's prescription medications)
2) Drinking and driving (to include under age drinking)
3) A pattern of misconduct (repeated infractions, such as insubordination, disobeying orders, being late for work, making false official statements, etc.)

The bottom line is the Air Force must focus on its top priorities: fighting and winning the long war against global terrorism and militant extremism, taking care of our Airmen and their families, and the modernization of aging, obsolete aircraft and spacecraft. 

One of the ways to help ensure the Air Force turns these priorities into mission accomplishment is to keep only highly qualified, trained, fit, disciplined, and effective Airmen. Something to think about before you decide to make a bad choice, because it may be the last one you make wearing Air Force blue.