Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh says the proposed budget deal does not eliminate the need for force cuts. (Colin Kelly/Staff)
The proposed budget deal for the next two years would not change the need to issue force management guidelines, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh told reporters Friday.
Over the next 10 years, the Air Force is going to have to get smaller as defense spending shrinks, Welsh said.
“We need to have tools in place that allow us to [shrink] and if we’re going to even consider impacting people that way, our belief is we need to put the guidance out as early as possible so they have the chance to think through the impact on them — or the potential impact on them if they are eligible for any of these particular force shaping measures,” he said.
“We’d love to get all this done by voluntary force shaping measures over a period of time. If we have the leeway based on budget decisions to do that, we’ll go that route. If we don’t and we have to take involuntary measures, I would like everyone to have at least six months of time to talk to their family to think about the impact this could have on them ... and have that conversation with someone in their immediate chain of command, so they have people talking to them, giving them facts so they can make a fact-based decision instead of an emotional one.
“I hope that something changes in the budget environment and three months from now we put out a note saying, ‘Never mind, don’t do any of that.’ ”
The proposed budget agreement, passed by the House and being considered by the Senate, restores about $22 billion in previously ordered sequestration cuts throughout the Defense Department for the current year.