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Langley AFB to eliminate 742 jobs

Jordan Crawford | 7/29/2014, 12:34 p.m.

The Air Force plans to eliminate 742 two jobs at Air Combat Command (ACC) at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton. In total, nearly 3,500 positions will be eliminated at Air Force headquarters both in the U.S. and overseas as part of a service-wide reduction plan.

The move, directed by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, is designed to save taxpayers $1.6 billion over the coming five years.

Captain Erika Yepsen at Langley said these are not layoffs, but “position eliminations” affecting both active duty personnel and civil servants. “What we’re looking to do is reduce some of the redundancies that we have so we can focus all of our efforts on the war-fighter, and making sure we don’t have excess in our headquarters, where we’re not actively engaged,” she said.

Deborah Lee James, secretary of the Air Force, strives to give citizens more bang for their buck, so to speak, when it comes to their security. “I will work to ensure the world’s best Air Force is the most capable at the lowest possible cost to the taxpayer,” said James. “Everyone knows our economy is still not where it should be; we have a responsibility to ensure that every dollar adds value to the taxpayers and our national defense.”

James says the majority of the ACC cuts will take place between now and September 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

These changes result from an effort to reduce overhead costs, increase efficiencies, eliminate redundant activities and improve effectiveness and business processes. The Air Force’s website states after the reorganization, the Department of Defense’s directive to reduce costs and staff levels by 20 percent can more easily be met.

To minimize the effect on civilian personnel, the Air Force will initiate Voluntary Early Retirement Authority programs and Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay to foster voluntary reductions before pursuing involuntary measures. As part of ongoing efforts to responsibly shape the force, military members were offered a variety of voluntary incentive programs.

Senator Mark Warner was unhappy to hear of the news. “While I appreciate the Air Force’s efforts to find savings by consolidating headquarters functions, I am deeply concerned about the impact this potential cut would have on Joint Base Langley-Eustis’s hard-working airmen and civilian work force,” he said in a statement. “While it appears that many of these reductions can be accomplished through attrition and eliminating unfilled positions, I have requested a briefing from the Air Force where I can ask tough questions about this proposed plan. I also urge Air Force leadership to consider locating its consolidated headquarters at Langley, where they could enjoy proximity to the Pentagon and other defense organizations.”

Senator Tim Kaine also weighed in saying, “The decision by the Air Force to consolidate headquarters and eliminate positions at Joint Base Langley-Eustis and in the National Capital Region will impact Virginia families, but we understand the impact is lessened because most of the positions are not currently filled,” he said in a statement. “Our service members and defense civilians are a critical aspect of our military, and I will advocate for new opportunities for them to continue their service. As the Air Force considers locations for the Air Force Installation Mission Support Center (AFIMSC) and Air Force Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance Agency (25th Air Force), I strongly urge consideration of the unmatched infrastructure and dynamic environment offered in Virginia, particularly at Langley.”