Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

‘Pop Rep in the Mil Services’ (II): Zooming in on the shape of the Air Force

More on the makeup of our services, today focusing on the USAF.

airforce
airforce

More on the makeup of our services, today focusing on the USAF:

More on the makeup of our services, today focusing on the USAF:

— Historically, the Air Force had the most officers of any service. But since 2007, the Army has had more. Now the Army has a full 18,000 more.

— 20% of Air Force officers are female.

— Hispanics are badly under-represented in the Air Force officer corps — 1.7%, vs. about 9% in the equivalent civilian population.

— There have been no warrant officers in the Air Force since 1984, but they make up 16% of the Army. (I would have guessed 5%. Where do they keep them all? Fort Rucker?)

— The Air Force’s ratio of enlisted to officers is 4 to 1. But if you throw warrant officers into the mix, the Navy and Army are close to that.

U.S. Air Force

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

More from Foreign Policy

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping give a toast during a reception following their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 21.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping give a toast during a reception following their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 21.

Can Russia Get Used to Being China’s Little Brother?

The power dynamic between Beijing and Moscow has switched dramatically.

Xi and Putin shake hands while carrying red folders.
Xi and Putin shake hands while carrying red folders.

Xi and Putin Have the Most Consequential Undeclared Alliance in the World

It’s become more important than Washington’s official alliances today.

Russian President Vladimir Putin greets Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
Russian President Vladimir Putin greets Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

It’s a New Great Game. Again.

Across Central Asia, Russia’s brand is tainted by Ukraine, China’s got challenges, and Washington senses another opening.

Kurdish military officers take part in a graduation ceremony in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, on Jan. 15.
Kurdish military officers take part in a graduation ceremony in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, on Jan. 15.

Iraqi Kurdistan’s House of Cards Is Collapsing

The region once seemed a bright spot in the disorder unleashed by U.S. regime change. Today, things look bleak.