Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said sequestration budget cuts could affect Air Force promotions. (Sgt. 1st Class Jim Greenhill / Army National Guard)
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ORLANDO, Fla. Promotions for up to 8,000 noncommissioned officers could be delayed as a result of the "sequestration" cuts to defense spending, which are set to take effect March 1, said Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. Mark Welsh.
The cuts would mean the Air Force would not have enough money to send airmen to noncommissioned officer academies, so airmen would not get training needed to advance to the next rank, Welsh said Friday at the Air Force Association's Air Warfare Symposium here. "If we can't send our people TDY [temporary duty] to complete that course then, right now, they can't be promoted."
The Air Force will look into the possibility of whether any promotion requirements could be waived, but that can have downsides, he said.
"For example, if we waive the requirement to have completed NCO academy before you're promoted to master sergeant, do we really want new master sergeants who are supervising more and more people not having completed NCO academy?" Welsh said. "We could probably waive it, but is that the wisest thing to do?" Certification courses for explosive ordnance technicians and airmen in medical career fields would also be affected by the spending cuts, he said.
Delaying promotions is the "last thing" the Air Force would want to do, Welsh said. It is not known whether Congress will give the services the authority to transfer money that could be used to fund travel for professional military education.