By Tech. Sgt. Amaani Lyle
Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
Editor’s Note: Lt. Gen. Mike Gould will conduct force management briefings for Academy personnel on April 1 at 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at the Arnold Hall Theater. A question and answer session will follow the briefing.
WASHINGTON – Air Force leaders announced March 25, 2010 an expansion of force management measures designed to bring the service closer to its authorized funded end strength. Fewer Airmen than anticipated applied for voluntary programs offered under Phase One of the force management program initiated in November of 2009. This has prompted expanded programs to encourage more Airmen to apply for separation or retirement by Sept. 1, 2010, or earlier.
Both officer and enlisted accessions will be reduced to meet mission requirements. Voluntary and involuntary initiatives will also be implemented as appropriate. Eligibility for these programs will vary by Air Force Specialty Code and years of service to ensure the Air Force has the right balance of skills needed to meet current and future mission requirements.
“Air Force retention is at a 15-year high,” said Brig. Gen. Sharon Dunbar, director, force management policy. “While this is tremendous testament to the dedication of our great Airmen, we now have more Airmen serving than our authorized, funded levels. We also have a number of career fields over-manned at the expense of other critical and stressed career fields. The challenge before us is to keep our force both sized and balanced within authorized, funded levels.”
In an attempt to limit the impact to Airmen who are currently serving, the Air Force will adjust accessions. Decisions to reduce accessions will be based on career field manning and future growth.
Expanded officer measures include waiving active-duty service commitments in targeted year groups; waiving all but two years of commissioning commitments for U.S. Air Force Academy and ROTC graduates as well as waiving their education and scholarship recoupment costs; and lowering the Reserve obligation for PALACE CHASE transfers from a three-year commitment ratio to one year for each remaining year of ADSC.
Phase Two of the force management program also involves a Selective Early Retirement Board. The SERB will consider for early retirement Air Force colonels with four or more years time in grade and lieutenant colonels deferred for promotion at least twice. This board will convene July 19-23 to identify those who must retire by Jan. 1, 2011. Officers with more than six and less than 12 years of commissioned service in specific career fields and year groups will be offered voluntary separation pay as a means to encourage their transition from active-duty service. Should this incentive fall short of encouraging the number of transitions needed, a reduction in force board will convene in September to identify officers for transition by April 1, 2011. A force shaping board will also convene at this time to identify officers with less than six years of commissioned service in designated career fields and year groups for continued retention or separation.
Enlisted force management measures have been expanded to include waiving time-in-grade and limited ADSCs for Airmen in non-critical, overage Air Force specialties and year groups; and waiving up to two years of four- and six-year enlistments for those in non-critical, overage specialties and year groups. Transfers are also available for enlisted personnel with a one-to-one rather than a two-to-one year commitment.
Dates of separation rollback will result in early release of some Airmen with less than 14 years of service or more than 20 years of service who have declined training, failed initial training, declined retainability for an assignment, or who have negative quality indicators.
Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard and Department of Defense civilian hiring opportunities are open to all Airmen, officials said. Airman and Family Readiness Centers host the Department of Labor Transition Assistance Program, offering Airmen vital information for a successful transition from the Air Force. Veterans also receive hiring preference for federal service and are eligible for GI Bill Programs.
“The Air Force has a long-standing tradition of offering comprehensive transition assistance programs,” General Dunbar said. “It is important for our Airmen to know the full range of options and benefits available to them.”
For more information on force management options call the Total Force Service Center at 800-525-0102 or at https://gum.afpc.randolph.af.mil/cgi-bin/askafpc.cfg/php/enduser/home.php?p_sid=pf8ohfXj&p_accessibility=0&p_redirect.
(Daniel Elkins contributed to this story)