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Air Force vice chief testifies on GO, SES numbers

by Senior Master Sgt. David Byron
Air Force Public Affairs Agency

9/15/2011 - WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- The Air Force vice chief of staff provided the Air Force perspective on general officer and senior executive service civilian authorizations to the Senate Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Personnel here Sept. 14.

Gen. Phil Breedlove joined his Army, Navy and Marine Corps counterparts in discussing the senior positions.

The 2009 National Defense Authorization Act authorized the Air Force 300 general officer billets -- 208 in Air Force-specific positions and 92 in joint-service positions. The Air Force is also authorized 197 SES billets.

Based on a Defense Department efficiency study earlier this year, Air Force officials targeted 39 GO positions and nine SES positions for elimination. When the reductions are complete, by 2014, Air Force senior leadership will drop to 261 GOs and 188 SESs -- a level lower than the Air Force senior leadership team size Sept. 11, 2001 and the lowest level of general officers in Air Force history.

"When normalized to its end strength, the Air Force senior leadership size is in line with service requirements and those of our sister services," Breedlove said. "Ultimately, we believe that we have the correct mix of military officers and civilian executives to provide the Air Force with the best leadership team."

Air Force officials, like the other military services, have re-evaluated senior leader numbers, and they have targeted reductions to reduce overhead while remaining the nation's source for air and space power, he said.

"Our team of general officers and senior executive civilians provide the Air Force with an extensive breadth and depth of expertise to provide America global vigilance, reach and power," Breedlove said.

Due to their comparable level of job complexity, scope of responsibility, span of control, inherent authority, and influence on joint and national security matters, Air Force officials strive for a deliberate and balanced approach to flag-level leadership, Breedlove said.

"We rely on our general officers for their years of command experience and military judgment," Breedlove said. "Our SES civilians bring broad area expertise, as well as stability and continuity not achievable under the current military promotion system."

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