Peace Time: March 4, 2003


Although the United States is at peace, the U.S. Air Force has found itself sending an increasing number of its troops over seas in the last decade. This has caused problems because the same people were being sent overseas again and again. During the Cold War, this wasn't as much of a problem as the destinations (Europe, Japan) were considered pleasant places to spend a few years. But since the 1990s, the destinations have largely been much less pleasant (mainly the Middle East). Many experienced and highly trained personnel were leaving the service rather than face endless deployments. The air force finally confronted the problem by recognizing that a lot of people were exempt from these deployment because of their job classifications. But many of these jobs (particularly in the ICBM field) were similar to jobs in other parts of the air force (communications, maintenance, security) and with a little retraining, these exempt troops would have a secondary skill that would make them eligible for the less desirable overseas trips. Bonuses and energetic recruiting were used to replace the shortages in the job categories hardest his by people leaving the air force. As a result, the number of people now eligible for overseas deployment has increased by 100,000 in the last year. This means that some 75 percent of all the people in the air force are now eligible for overseas duty. As a result, fewer will be sent to foreign postings again and again, and fewer will leave the air force. 


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