US Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh addresses members of Team McChord during a Feb. 3 all-call at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. Welsh unveiled a reorganization of Air Staff on Feb. 20 at the Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla. (Tech. Sgt. Sean Tobin / US Air Force)
ORLANDO, FLA. — The Air Force is reorganizing how the Air Staff handles operations, the service’s top officer announced Thursday.
The reorganization splits both Operations, Plans and Requirements (A3/5) and Strategic Plans and Programs (A8). The new Operations (A3) directorate will stand alone, while the planning staffs will form a new A5/8 directorate.
Additionally, the current budget responsibilities from A8 will be merged with the service’s financial management arm.
The move was unveiled by Gen. Mark Welsh, USAF Chief of Staff, at the Air Force Association’s annual Air Warfare Symposium in Orlando, Fla. Welsh said the change was part of an overall look at how the service plans strategy and operations.
“As part of that reorganization, we’re looking at taking our A3/5 that exists today, and our A8, and we’re taking the operations and plans function of A3/5 and we’re going to make the A3 an operator again,” Welsh said. “We’re going to move the strategic planning strategy, and then long-range resource planning into the A5/8. And we’re going to take the sausage-making part of the A8 out and put it into the FM.”
“So all the people who do the grinding on entering stuff into the databases and keeping the numbers right and doing the accounting are now all going to be working for the same boss,” he continued. “This allows the A5/8 to think about the strategy side of the house. Maybe we can actually get to a place where we build a strategy and a plan that can inform the resource work that we’re doing. That’s the goal.”
The reorganization brings the service more in line with the directorates on the Joint Chiefs. It may also be a first step towards reducing headquarters staff, something that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has made a priority across the Pentagon.