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Manpower: Man behind the math

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Whitney Amstutz
  • 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

Having risen to the height of public interest since the commencement of the Resolute Support Mission in January, the drawdown of U.S. forces in Air Force Central Command has weighed on the minds of many in 2015, but perhaps more heavily on one mind in particular.

As the man crunching the numbers here, Tech. Sgt. Gregory Green, 455th Expeditionary Force Support Squadron manpower analyst, views the reduced Air Force footprint through a slightly clearer lense than the average interested party.

“There are magic numbers,” Green said. “Numbers for how many support personnel should be at BAF as well as how many Airmen should be part of the aviation package. The same can be said for locations like Kandahar and Jalalabad. These numbers are always evolving and it’s my responsibility to analyze the unit’s needs and make recommendations on the best way to fill these requirements.”

To those on the outside looking in, reaching end strength numbers might appear to be simple as elementary subtraction. However, when factors such as safety, security, quality of life and sustainability are added to the equation, the answers are not always cut and dry.

“We are in the process of building the Resolute Support Mission Change Request,” Green said. “It’s an intricate progression and it has to be handled with the utmost care and attention to detail. Manpower is most important during a buildup and a drawdown and this is a unique situation in that while we’re ending one mission, we’re posturing to support another, namely the Train, Advise and Assist mission. We have to ensure we have the right people to facilitate success.”

In order to reduce the number of Airmen flowing into the area of responsibility each rotation, a critical piece of Green’s process is immersing himself in various units around base, developing an understanding of how they operate, and finally, making recommendations to the commanders who ultimately make personnel reduction decisions.

“I don’t have the authority to decide who stays and who goes,” Green says. “What I can do, however, is get to know an organization so that I have the wherewithal to advise commanders and superintendents on how and where they can best utilize the smallest amount of people. It’s challenging to maintain a mission and also send people home. We’re all learning to do more with less.”

As those with boots on the ground can easily attest, the military presence in Afghanistan is undoubtedly shrinking. Throughout this historic transition, those in uniform can rest assured that Airmen charged with trimming the right pieces at the right time do so with the finesse such a task requires.

“Predicting what the future of operations will look like here is a difficult thing to do,” Green said. “For this round of cuts, we’re doing the best we can for the people and the mission; we’ll just keep doing that until we’re where we need to be.”