USAFA Cadets Being Affected by Budget Cuts

Discussion in 'Air Force Academy - USAFA' started by Stealth_81, Feb 11, 2011.

  1. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    I was talking to my cadet tonight and he told me that 46 of the Firstie cadets were informed today that their AFSC slot has been cut from the AF budget. The cadets were asked to choose a new AFSC from a list of openings that the AF still has available. It sounds like most of the cuts were in the Scientist category.

    Stealth_81
     
  2. urbonman6

    urbonman6 Member

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    AFSCs

    I was talking to a firstie that had this happen to a few friends of his, and he said they may be put into jobs based on the needs of the AF.
     
  3. Gasdoc

    Gasdoc Member

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    Non-rated AFSCs were affected...may not be a great 100s night for some.
     
  4. fencersmother

    fencersmother Founding Member

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    Oh, that's pretty sad. I wonder if for some, they might just give them the option of not commissioning? I heard that happened in the Clinton years (though that might have been a rumor since I can't confirm it).
     
  5. Derrick Singleton

    Derrick Singleton Member

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    I am truly sorry to hear this.
     
  6. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Nope, they will be commissioned. The AF has needs in many areas and just because they aren't the areas the cadet wanted/planned on/desired...well, that really doesn't come into the picture when the "needs of the AF" surface.

    Those of us that have served a career in the AF or any service...have at one time or another taken/been given an assignment that wasn't what we planned/wanted/liked/desired/"fill in the blank" and yet, there were the orders.

    We have the "7 day option" if we're eligible to leave the service: take the orders or ask for discharge. A graduating cadet does NOT have that option; they have their military service obligation to fulfill.

    My best friend from the AFA...was headed to UHT...2 days before we graduated (yes, TWO DAYS) he was told: "You had XXXX illness as a doolie, we're revoking your pilot qual..." He was sent to Wright Patterson AFB as an AF engineer.

    How do you think he felt?

    And yet...after 3 years of busting his a** and doing phenomenal work, winning awards, etc., he was in UPT (not UHT, that wasn't an option) because a general officer in his chain recommended "this outstanding young officer..."

    Things work the way they do for a reason; its up to the graduate/officer/airman/NCO to make the most of what they're given.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  7. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Excellent words of wisdom Steve. We've had so many discussions with applicants, appointees, and their parents on what the "Right Reasons are for Applying to the academies" are. We've had many people defend the various reasons an individual will apply to the academies. But when the dust settles; the education has been given; you knock your ring on the table; and you're commissioned as a United States Military Officer...... The #1 reason has to be that you did all that to serve your country. And if that service means that you don't get the job you want; for whatever reason; then so be it.

    Maybe it wasn't a cut-back. Maybe 2-3 years into the academy, you discover that you simply aren't pilot qualified, and that was your lifelong dream. Do you just QUIT the academy?? We can even assume you found out in the FIRST 2 years? If a person would quit the academy, because they found out they couldn't get the job they wanted, then I'm sorry.... But I can't feel sympathy.

    It definitely sucks that force management and reshaping is going to cause some officers to not be able to get the career that they always imagined or dreamed of. Some of these individuals will wind up doing a 5 and dive instead of the 20+ year career that might have been. It is definitely a hard thing to swallow. But as Flieger said, it has to be about the needs of the military. If you come in with that and service as your #1 reason for applying and accepting the appointment, then you will do just fine. The good cadet, officer, nco, and airman, will make the best of the situation and things will definitely work out. The bitter and upset individual will be miserable, and will become blinded to other great opportunities that they could possibly have available.
     
  8. USAFAHopefulMom

    USAFAHopefulMom Member

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    Since my son is still just a candidate (hoping to hear soon!) I'm not clear on all the acronyms and didn't see AFSC on the Acronym list. From reading the posts, I'm guessing it has something to do with their job assignment out of the academy? And how about UHT? Sorry to be so ignorant, just trying to figure all this out!
     
  9. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    AFSC: Air Force Specialty Code.

    Yes, it's what your job is. In the army, they refer to it as MOS

    UPT: Undergraduate Pilot Training
    UHT: Undergraduate Helicopter Training. (I could be wrong about this one)
     
  10. bandit

    bandit Member

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    And how is this any different than life in the civilian world?:shake:

    On a more serious note.

    My cadet just told me it is very possible they will not even get to find out their base assignments on 100's night because they are thinking about waitinf for the cadets that have to change their AFSC's to find out so they can all get their base assignments as a class.

    Also, the budget cuts are having a dramatic effect on the scholarships as well. They have cut scholarship slots to grad school to less than half of last years numbers.
     
  11. hornetguy

    hornetguy USAFA Cadet

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    Yikes! Though I imagine those cuts are almost all to AFIT. The requirement for the other scholarships was to receive funding from the school. EX: for RAND, the AF pays my salary and RAND pays by tuition. Same goes at MIT, Harvard, and UofMaryland.
     
  12. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    "needs of the air force" has also upset many O-2/O-3 pulled from their specialties and moved elsewhere....

    AF had to refill its PAO numbers after it cut many of those jobs for F-22 parts.

    Half of my 60 person PAO class was AF.
     
  13. 2011's Mom

    2011's Mom Parent

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    I want to preface this post to ask that this not degenerate into a "needs of the Air Force", "welcome to the military" type post. The involved cadets are well aware of that and totally get it. Those that I know are taking this well and say that they went to USAFA to become a military officer so it's okay, though they are understandably very disappointed. I want to simply provide information on the situation.

    The affected cadets have met with USAFA and have all been given clear instructions for how this will impact them and any steps they need to take. As I understand it, quite a few more than 46 cadets are impacted. The AFSC's involved are all of the scientist as well as Public Affairs, BS, and several others in addition to quite a few Intel. Intel is one of the largest AFSCs and only losing some of its slots, the others are losing every slot within that AFSC. The Intel cadets do not yet know if they are personally losing their slot because USAFA has yet to identify which of the Intel cadets will be cut. Apparently there were 80 Intel cadets in limbo as of late yesterday.

    The affected AFSCs are historically very competitive. Many of the kids that initially were assigned these AFSCs were top of their major (some AFSC's have minimal slots and are major specific). Most of these cadets had been awarded their first choice. With this change, these cadets are being asked to select from AFSCs that were not even on their list of top 5 or 6 because that is all that remains available. AFSC's are awarded based on the students class rank. If this had been figured out when the AFSCs were assigned last year, these impacted cadets, while not receiving their top choice AFSC, would have at least received an AFSC that was one of their top choices, probably their second or third choice but certainly not one that wasn't even being considered by the cadet. Many of these cadets have already been awarded grad school slots for advanced degrees specifically related to the now non-existent AFSC so their grad school spot is now also in limbo. I am personally aware of several cadets with grad school slots that have been told their grad school award is under review to determine if that graduate degree is something the AF will need. The grad school determinations have not been confirmed - those impacted will hopefully know in the near future.

    How does this impact future classes? There may be fewer slots available for affected AFSCs but the number of slots awarded when AFSCs are handed out is not likely to be this poorly managed. The issue arose because the number of slots awarded in these AFSC's was greater than is now budgeted. It is better for these cadets to deal with this issue now as opposed to face a potential RIF in the future. So, while it may be more competitive to get some of these slots, the likelihood of a large group of cadets suddenly being assigned an AFSC that is far outside of their interest or aptitudes is slim.

    I would not be surprised if AFSC assignments were moved to fall of Firstie year instead of spring of 2° year. It would likely be a good idea to postpone that a bit to ensure this does not occur, at least to this degree, in the future.

    On another note, AFSCs do switch around sometimes. Every year we hear about kids receiving a pilot slot a day before graduation or similar such stories. While that does occur every year, this is not that situation. This was a change in the number of available slots for given AFSC's after they were assigned. This was not the opening up of an AFSC or a pilot slot becoming available because someone was dropped. This was a manpower needs projection that was incorrect. I am sure that at the time the projection was made it was considered accurate and then, with the recent force shaping moves, the AF reevaluated the 2011 AFSCs and had to make changes. It is a shame that they cannot re-review all of 2011's AFSC assignments to ensure they are granted in BOM order, but this is far better then dealing with a RIF in the future.
     
  14. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    2011mom; Whenever there are cutbacks and budget cuts, there will always be someone that got the initial brunt of it. And it may seem unfair that their choice of replacement AFSC's isn't as varied as it would have been if this was done last year when they were choosing AFSC's. But sometimes, these cutbacks and budget cuts happen almost literally over night, and are expected to be implemented immediately. So, what would the alternative be for these individuals??? Pull back the AFSC's of ALL 1000+ projected graduates, and start the assigning of AFSC's all over again??? Obviously, the inconvenience of 45+/- cadets is better than that of 1000.

    The good news for future classes is: If the military is still under the same level of cutbacks and budget cuts, the career selection of those in the future, will be more accurate. They won't be choosing career fields that have no openings in them.

    One thing that will become more significant, is that the academy will become more competitive. Initial academy appointments, as well as assignments and career choices. Those ranked in the top-10% with GPA/OPA, will most likely not be impacted too much. If there are any open slots in the career field they are interested in, they should still do well. Unless of course, they totally shut down a career field. And for those who don't know, they have actually had times where they totally shut down all pilot slots for an entire class. Steve and Bullet can verify the time frame, but I believe it was around the 1992-1993 time frame. So it's not like pilots get treated differently. This year is might be the science fields and some intel. A couple years ago, it was most of the technology fields like telecom/IT/etc... that was being reduced in force from the air force.

    This is nothing new. I cam into the air force in 1978. In 21 years, I can count of at least 5-6 times where some career field; both commissioned and non-commissioned officers were being required to either cross train or get out. This is nothing new. But the "First Group" impacted immediately after such cutback and budget cut decisions are made, generally are affected a bit more harsh. The following groups usually aren't affected as badly. They know what's available. The 2012 class at the academy is going to be a little mixed right now. They have chosen their career preferences, and should be told which career they received. However; the air force may need to go back and re-sort the requests, because of a number of AFSC's that may no longer be available at this time. The classes of 2013,14, and 15 coming in won't really be affected. They won't have certain choices, so they won't be disappointed in selecting something that wasn't available. The good news is: These all go in cycles. In a couple/few years, they will be back to opening slots again.
     
  15. marciemi

    marciemi USMA Alumnus

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    From what I've heard it was between 100 and 150 cadets affected - a significant number, and many of those were at the top of their class. What you suggested was actually proposed by them, and seem to me to be by far the best way of solving this. Seems awfully unfair to me to tell kids for 4 years that if they work hard, do well academically and everywhere else, that they'll have at least some say in their AFSC and assignment, and then at the last minute, pull the rug out from those who did exactly that. Since more than half the class is going into rated fields (mostly pilot, right? I'm still learning these things), it would probably mean juggling the AFSC's of around 400 cadets, not 1000. Certainly what I would want if I was in the top of my class and one of those affected by this.


    This was one of the first things I said to my son - "Wow, the pilots are probably thrilled it's not them being jerked around for a change!".


    Doesn't help much if you're one of those caught in it right now to tell them that if they were in 2014 their lives would be much better! :rolleyes: On that note, if you read this article from yesterday, it DOES sound like it's a good time to be in the class of 2014 as far as living conditions at the academy coming up!

    http://www.usafa.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123242367
     
  16. flieger83

    flieger83 Super Moderator Moderator

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    Excellent post "Mom!" :thumb:

    General Schwartz outlined recently the "Force Shaping" that will soon be taking place. I'll "cut/paste" a quote from the article:
    *************************************************
    For junior officers, the plan includes force-shaping boards beginning this May. The FSB initially will consider year groups with excess officers in the judge advocate general, biomedical science corps and medical service corps competitive categories. The May FSB impacts officers in the 2006 through 2008 commissioned year groups. Officers not selected for retention by this FSB will be required to separate no later than Oct. 1, 2011.

    Air Force officials also will conduct a reduction-in-force board in September for mid-grade officers. In lieu of meeting the board, eligible officers will have a one-month window in March to apply for voluntary separation pay, with separation by Oct. 1, 2011. The RIF board will consider all year groups with excess officers in the line-of-the-Air Force, chaplain, JAG, BSC and MSC competitive categories. This impacts officers in the 1999 through 2005 commissioned year groups. Officers not selected for retention by the RIF board will be required to separate no later than Feb. 1, 2012.

    For both the RIF board and the FSB, Air Force leaders decided to apply a quality review of the entire competitive category, instead of the methodology used in past retention boards which focused only on certain Air Force specialties. The boards will retain the top 90 percent of officers within the affected competitive categories in eligible year groups. Following retention board results, Air Force officials will use the recently-announced officer crossflow process to rebalance between line specialties as needed.
    *****************************************************
    Now...IMHO...By NOT going into some of these fields, the AF may be saving folks from another RIF in the future, based upon AFSCs.

    These are NEVER fun.

    Steve
    USAFA ALO
    USAFA '83
     
  17. bandit

    bandit Member

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    Yes, AFIT slots for the AAP for 62x afsc was cut to 1 so far. However, my cadet is also attempting to get a grad school slot at UCCS for Aero, which would be funded by UCCS and he was told by the Dept. head that even that "could" be affected by the budget cuts. So we will see
     
  18. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    marciemi: It all depends on the factual numbers. If it is in the hundreds of people affected, then it would warrant possibly pulling all afsc selections and re-selecting. If it's less than 50, then it wouldn't be a very good management decision. And as far as "Many" of them being top of their class, that too would have to have some hard numbers. Just because someone chose an engineering major, doesn't mean they are necessarily the top. I'm sure that some of those affected are in the top of the class. Just like there are some pilots who are in the top of the class. As well as some who want intel, medical, etc... I definitely won't get into the "This major is harder than another" discussion. Because at the end of the day, it's your GPA/OPA that matters. Whether you'r an engineering, biology, behavioral science, or business major.

    But I do agree that if there are hundreds of people affected (150+), then maybe all assignments and jobs should be pulled back restarted. But I wouldn't do it for 40-50.

    Sort of like being bumped from a flight because of a snow storm. When we were leaving DIA at Christmas in 2006 for a cruise, DIA got SHUT DOWN for 3 days. The VERY FIRST FLIGHT that started when the airport re-opened, was MY FLIGHT TO HOUSTON. There were obviously a lot of upset people who thought that THEY should get the first flights out, being they were scheduled to leave earlier and got snowed in. The airline's logic, which is sound, is: The minute the airport reopens, all SCHEDULED FLIGHTS and PASSENGERS ticketed for those flights, fly out on schedule. We fill in any and all empty seats with those who got snowed in. What's the alternative? Allow another 3 days worth of people to ALL be late for their destinations playing catch up, which then totals 6 days worth of people late? Or, get everyone scheduled from that point on, to remain on schedule, and fix those that were inconvenienced, the best you can.

    Yes, it sucks for those who have had their afsc changed. There have been a lot of decisions I've had to make in my life that affected someone in a negative way. But I had to look at the big picture, and what was best for ALL military personnel. Unless you're getting into a large enough percentage of affected people, the best thing is to take those who were affected and accommodate them the best you can. But life isn't 100% fair. And it never can be. Sometimes the pieces land in your favor; sometimes they don't. That too is life.
     
  19. HappyKat

    HappyKat Member

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    Budget Cuts

    Can anyone answer why the other Academies are not mentioning budget cuts? I have appointments to three of the Academies and am down to making my final decision. You are all so knowledgable about the AFA, are these budget issues concerning enough to re-consider AFA as my first choice?
     
  20. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    No.

    I can guarantee you that your career will see a couple of boom and bust cycles as far as the Defense budget and budget priorities. You really can't make your decisions based on something like this. You should be making your decision to go to USAFA, or USMA etc... based on what branch of service you want to be in. If you want to be in the Air Force- then you ought to have USAFA as your top choice. The USAFA Superintendant and the AF CoS will worry about the budget- you don't need to do so.
     

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