Date of Conferral



Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A.)


Business Administration


James Savard


The United States Air Force (USAF) has downsized an average of 10,000 active duty personnel each year from 1990 to 2010. Despite this downsizing, the mission remains the same, which increases the workload on the remaining airmen, lowers morale, decreases specialization, changes the mindset/culture, accelerates promotion rates, and shifts the dependence on technology in the Security Forces career field. The USAF needs adequately sized and proficient members to meet its mission. This phenomenological study examined the effects of USAF downsizing on the USAF Security Forces career field. The great man theory, social learning theory, theory of expertise, and Maslow's hierarchy of needs provided the conceptual framework. Semistructured interviews were gathered with a purposeful sample of 24 retired Security Forces members, near Air Combat Command bases; data were then analyzed through the Moustaukas modified van Kaam technique. The themes from this study were the cycle of downsizing; increased workload despite decreased number of personnel, also known as "more with less"; an accelerated promotion rate; and dependence on technology. The primary finding suggested the need for specialization and consistency of technology used. Further research on downsizing based on budgetary constraints, awareness of the loss of specializations after downsizing, and communication while downsizing could expand the findings of this study. The results of this study can be used by all leadership facing budgetary constraints and technology upgrades. Social change could ensue if leadership observes the cultural changes that occur when choosing to downsize and merge.