Over the course of 10 years, the Air Force has stopped questioning the necessity and duration of deployments to the CENTCOM AOR. Too many Airmen are deployed for too long a duration, creating massive travel bills, doling out hostile fire and imminent danger pay to tens of thousands who shouldn't be deployed, and facilitating the underpayment of taxes on a huge scale.
Airmen are deployed to do such things as update powerpoint slides, monitor the deployments of others, perform administrative support tasks, keep track of DV movements, track the flow of spare parts, and a host of other tasks that could just as easily be done from a computer anywhere in the world. At one particular base in Southwest Asia, there are several officers deployed to conduct protocol functions for the countless generals who frequent the base. An entire DV lounge has been built on this base to accomodate these war tours. Meanwhile, those officers are tax exempt for 6 or 12 months, drawing tons of extra combat pay, soaking up expensive base operating support and utility costs, and none too happy to be separated from family to be doing such a trivial duty. This is one example....there are many. The Air Force is constructing fully articulated bases, wings, groups, and squadrons....rotating people in and out of these units every 6 or (increasingly) 12 months at a MASSIVE cost to the American taxpayer. While some of this is necessary...much is not. There has not been a holisitc audit of deployed manpower since 9/11. Airmen are still being issued 1-year orders to Iraq for a war that is over in 5 months, proof there is not even basic accountability in this process. Other Airmen are being involuntarily selected for a 5-year Af-Pak Hands program supporting a theater that our President intends to close in 3 years time.
The expense of careless deployments is difficult to truly quantify. It raises trans, logistics, and support costs, and generates additional PCS moves. It's time to audit.