- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) - The Air Force Academy plans to cut a third of the sergeants who oversee military training as part of an austerity plan that will cut 3 percent from its workforce and eliminate 10 academic majors at the school, but the academy proposals do not include a reduction in the 4,000-member cadet wing or the elimination of sports teams.

The academy plans are part of a Pentagon move to cut $900 billion in spending over a decade.

The 2015 spending plan meets Pentagon targets, but is far from official. Congress must approve a budget before the cuts can take hold, and if lawmakers approve increased Pentagon spending, some austerity measures won’t be implemented.

Academy superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson proposes cutting payroll by eliminating 99 of 3,000 positions at the school to meet spending targets. Personnel spending makes up 90 percent of the academy’s budget.

“We don’t have big squadrons of aircraft to cut or hangars to close down, we have people,” Johnson said.

Of those positions, the biggest cut will be borne by sergeants. The school, which has 40 squadrons with 100 cadets in each, will cut the number of sergeants in those units from two to one, eliminating 40 jobs.

Academy commandant of cadets, Brig. Gen. Greg Lengyel said the move saves money, but requires cadets to step up as military trainers and disciplinarians, the Colorado Springs Gazette reported Wednesday (https://tinyurl.com/l55deoa ).

Degrees in biochemistry, environmental engineering and meteorology are among the cuts.

Dean of faculty Brig. Gen. Andy Armacost said some of the programs facing elimination duplicate other offerings. Armacost said the areas seeing cuts also traditionally have low enrollment, so the changes will impact about 100 cadets per year.

Johnson said the academic changes will allow for a broad-based education that will prepare cadets for career-specific training in the Air Force after they graduate.

“We’re trying to educate people to make a well-rounded officer,” she said. “We’re not a vocational training center.”


Information from: The Gazette, https://www.gazette.com

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