Air Force freezes spending amid budget crunch
Facing a budget crunch, the Air Force announced this week that it is freezing spending.
That means the branch will stop awarding new bonuses and troops changing stations will only be approved on a case-by-case basis. The service cites inflation and higher moving costs, which is draining the Air Force budget faster than expected.
During his confirmation hearing before Congress this week, Air Force Chief of Staff Charles Q. Brown asked for the authority to move money within the budget to close the shortfall. So far, Congress has not acted on the request.
The Air Force also says the cost of recruitment and retention bonuses is hurting the budget. Among the bonuses being frozen is a retention bonus for pilots, which just went into effect in June. Airmen already receiving a bonus will continue to receive the money.
The service is experiencing a pilot shortage that’s affecting the entire aviation community and the Force is expected to fall 10 percent behind its recruiting goals for the year.
The limit on changing stations goes into effect August 1 - the time when families are often trying to figure out where to enroll children in school for the fall.
Airmen already overseas will have their assignments extended into next year.
Unless Congress intervenes, the spending freeze is expected to last until the beginning of the federal fiscal year on Oct. 1.
According to military data, there are approximately 12,600 active duty Air Force personnel in Virginia.