2014 Pulitzer Prize Winner

Evidence points to sports being impacted if Air Force faces budget cuts

Published: February 28, 2014, 11:56 am, by Brent Briggeman

President Obama has yet to announce his budget, so anything regarding the impact of potential budget cuts to Air Force remains purely speculative. However, it’s becoming more and more clear that sports will be impacted if serious cuts need to be made.

Also, we have obtained the following email sent from Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, the academy’s superintendent, to a former baseball player. Judge for yourself, but Gen. Johnson certainly doesn’t dismiss the possibility that sports will be in the crosshairs.

As The Gazette reported earlier this week, supporters from several sports have shown concern over rumors that they could be cut at the academy.

Here is the superintendent’s full letter:


I have refrained from responding to the many emails I’ve received
regarding sports at USAFA, primarily because every budget decision
remains predecisional until the USAF makes decisions based on the
President’s Budget due next week.  We have however by necessity
absolutely had to build contingency plans.

Also, if you are familiar with my background, you’ll know that as a
former Academic All American  USAFA basketball player I completely
understand the value intercollegiate sports to the aspect of Competition
in the education and training programs at our Air Force’s Academy.

Of course I do not desire to cut or lose any sports, any academic
courses, any enlisted military trainers, or any support for various
installation maintenance projects–including the Chapel– or anything
else.  However, our DOD and our Air Force are entering an interwar
period of change and drastically reduced budgets.  About 25,000 active
duty airman–officers and enlisted, thousands of GS civilians and
hundreds of aircraft–entire fleets–could be cut. Our senior AF leaders
must make gut wrenching decisions on a large scale. We simply cannot
afford the status quo.

We have thought through carefully and are continuing to analyze how we
can align ourselves with  AF needs while preserving the Essence of what
the AF needs from its Academy.

I try to keep our challenges in the context of the big picture.

I hope you can do so as well.

Thank you for your concern.

Very respectfully,

Michelle Johnson