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UPDATE: Air Force Academy may be forced to cut majors, jobs

Air Force Academy may be forced to cut majors, jobs

USAFA, Colo. - The Air Force Academy said it's being forced to make changes to its budget that will include cutting nearly 99 jobs and eliminating 10 academic majors if Congress passes the current Fiscal Year 2015 Budget.

"Changing global missions, national security concerns and ongoing budget challenges are driving the Air Force to become a leaner force," said Air Force Academy Superintendent, Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson.

The Pentagon proposed $900 billion in cuts to military spending over the next 10 years.

Air Force Academy Spokesperson David Cannon said the cuts mirror trends in history. As wars die down, the military is cut back.

"We ramp up for Iraq and Afghanistan.  We are coming out of those wars as the president has announced so manning levels go down and the Air Force Academy is not immune to any of that," said Cannon.

The academy will cut 10 majors, which makes up one-third of the majors available to cadets. That list includes: basic sciences, biochemistry, materials chemistry, general engineering, environmental engineering, humanities, philosophy, social science, systems engineering management and meteorology.

Cannon said those majors were selected because they were less popular than other majors. Cadets currently on those academic routes will be allowed to graduate with that degree. The selected majors will be phased out after all cadets in those majors have graduated.

One academy military trainers position will be eliminated per squadron, totaling 40 enlisted personnel positions. It's one-third of the trainers at the academy.

"They (cadets) will still be exposed 24 hours a day, seven days a week to the military lifestyle," said Cannon. "Will it be harder? Yes. But, we can still guarantee the nation that we are going to produce a great set of lieutenants."

The academy said military and civilian jobs will be among those positions cut.

Twenty-nine faculty positions will be eliminated, 20 military and nine civilian jobs, as majors are eliminated and three required course for graduation are cut.

"We continue to be committed to providing a rigorous, accredited Bachelor of Science degree, while focusing our cadets on the Air Force missions in air, space and cyberspace. The decisions made here by our leadership team were in the best interest of our Nation, our Air Force, and our academy, " said Johnson.

The athletic department will also lose 30 civilian positions. It will also cut 10 percent of funding across all 27 intercollegiate sports.

"The decision on which courses to cut was conducted in a deliberate, thoughtful, faculty-centric curriculum process -- this was not easy but it was the right decision and one rooted in methodical, meticulous thought and discussion," said Brig. Gen. Andrew Armacost.

The academy must wait for a decision from congress.

"It's pretty firm unless congress comes back and provides us with the funding for these cuts," said Cannon.

There was mixed reaction to the announcement about the budget cuts Tuesday.

"I feel like we have really gone off track and we are spending money in the wrong places. Military being one of them," said CJ Medina.

"Losing preparedness is not a good thing and that's where are next pilots come from and even our next drone pilots come from and so I'm concerned about that," said Sam Callan.

Cannon said there is a possibility for future cuts at the academy under sequestration.

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