Hmmm...when you are cutting 40K out, it isn't hard to meet your recruiting goals.
More to the point, the Presidential Budget Directive 720 (PBD 720) now calls for cutting 60,000 Air Force personnel between now and FY 2011.
The reason for the increase from 40K cut to 60K cut is because of Congress. The personnel cuts were supposed to be accompanied by weapon system cuts that the Air Force asked for: the entire F-117 fleet (no longer deemed needed with the F-22 coming on-line), some B-52s, 100 C-130s from Guard and Reserve units, and the C-21 fleet.
Congress said no. Those aircraft are in their district.
20,000 more Air Force personnel shown the door.
The last Force Shaping board got rid of some Lieutenants. Now the cuts are coming to the rest of the force. Some will be offered a cash bonus for leaving between the 6 and 12 yearpoint. Some will not.
I can't applaud the recruiting goal being met. It is smoke and mirrors as you said. In the middle of this war, we are cutting good folks to pay for the F-22 and the F-35.
Perhaps it is the "right" thing to do. But in my mind, we have done a terrible, terrible thing to people who proudly served.