We've seen this movie before - and to be frank; I don't know if things are better or worse, but I do know this. Some of the best mid-grade officers who are the most frustrated want to be operational, but are stuck in meaningless staff jobs where they just are not contributing. They don't feel that their skills are being best utilized. They are just being put where a busy-work hole needs a Mk1 Mod0 body. Once they get there, they just see themselves in a job that that the UIC absolutely needs, but the substance of that position to the larger mission is opaque even to their bosses.
Another group of your best mid-grade leaders look at those above them - and especially if they get a close look as a staff weenie; and they want nothing to do with "it."
From SWJ - this may be USAF, but it has wider flexibility.
... why should I put service before self when my Chief is systematically dismantling my service? To use a perhaps appropriately joint analogy, I’m a strong swimmer – so why stay aboard a ship whose captain is running it aground?
I know that senior leadership matters, and what my leadership is showing me is that nothing I do matters or ever will.
What happened to our core values? Instead, we’re changing the scenario to fit the tactics! Drop the requirements to meet force structure realities which are dropping to meet budget bogies. So much for a strategy-driven force structure, or even any strategy at all. Next we’ll probably drop experience definitions to meet our aging rate and PCS cycle. Avoiding a “Hollow Force” is a nice talking point; but at least in the 1970s we got the F-15, F-16, and A-10, while simultaneously developing the B-1 and F-117. My Chief is out of airspeed with full aft stick and a boot-full of rudder in an unrecoverable spin [See Note 3].
So you can keep your Bonus Take Rate and whatever other variables go into your Rated Distribution and Training Management models. Money isn’t going to keep me here. I didn’t become a fighter pilot because I wanted to get rich. I became a fighter pilot because I believed. And after everything I’ve seen, my trust and faith in the Air Force is so broken I don’t know why I’m doing this anymore. This flight path marker is buried in the dirt. I’m punching out.