Murphy's Law: January 23, 2004


Over the last half century, air forces have proved to be the model for what the armies and navies will eventually look like in terms of personnel and education. The U.S. Air Force is the smallest of the three services (the Marine Corps is smaller, but is actually part of the navy), with 372,000 personnel. Yet the air force also gets the most defense money, per capita and (in most years) absolute terms. Some 20 percent of all air force personnel are officers, and 25 percent of the officers are pilots or navigators. Pilots alone comprise four percent of all air force manpower (although about 500 air force pilots are women). All officers are college grads, and half of them have advanced degrees (most of these are masters degrees, but there are a lot of professional degrees and PhDs). Five percent of the enlisted force have a college degree, and another 13 percent have a two year degree. Some 73 percent of all enlisted personnel have some college credits. The air force has always been unique in that a small number of personnel (the crews of warplanes) do most of the fighting. In reality, a larger number of air force people are exposed to danger. There are commandoes and security personnel armed and ready to go into harms way. They have been doing just that in Afghanistan and Iraq. Thus about ten percent of air force personnel can be classified as "warriors." The percentage of warriors has been shrinking in the army for a century (it's down to about 15 percent), and the navy is starting to shrink the crew size of it's combat ships. But the future is pretty clear; fewer fighters, fewer people overall and the ones that are in uniform will be much better educated and lavishly equipped with high tech weapons and equipment.


Article Archive

Murphy's Law: Current 2022 2021 2020 2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 



Help Keep Us Soaring

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling. We need your help in reversing that trend. We would like to add 20 new subscribers this month.

Each month we count on your subscriptions or contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage. A contribution is not a donation that you can deduct at tax time, but a form of crowdfunding. We store none of your information when you contribute..
Subscribe   Contribute   Close