This was the assessment earlier this week of Gen. Mark Welsh, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force (CSAF), as reported by the Air Force Times’ Stephen Losey.
The remarks came as a surprise to many, likely including the 2013 version of Welsh himself, who insisted upon the wisdom of cutting 25,000 airmen from the ranks over five years and then proceeded to jam those cuts, electively, into a single year. Somewhere, in the alternative universe where 2013 Welsh roams oblivious to the consequences of his decision, he is undoubtedly haunted by the professional ghosts of the 19,000 airmen who lost their jobs in 2014 … as well as the tortured souls of those who remained behind to struggle with increasing demands in an endemically under-resourced and mismanaged Air Force.
But here in the real world, 2015 Welsh is answerable for the consequences created by his former self. His total reversal is comforting in the sense that it acknowledges a problem at the core of national defense. In every other sense, it is a deeply disappointing admission that could do more to snap the spine of the service than mend it.