Air Force leaders announced force management programs last Wednesday, Dec. 11, designed to reduce the force by thousands of Airmen over the next five years as a result of sequestration.
Fiscal 2014 force management initiatives are in addition to the announcement made in July, stating the Air Force will implement several force management programs to meet budget reduction requirements.
Altus Air Force Base encourages base personnel to be informed on force management programs after the US Air Force announced last week the decision to reduce the force by 25,000 Airmen over the next five years, as well as a reduction in the civil service workforce.
“The service has made a conscious decision to announce these force management programs now in order to give our Airmen and their families as much information and time as possible to plan for their futures,” stated AAFB Public Affairs. “The Air Force has to size and shape the force to meet DoD strategic guidance for a leaner force, and as FY14 Congressional direction becomes more definitive, the force management plans will adjust. Our goal at Altus Air Force Base is to keep every Airman, both military and civilian, informed of the plans and programs so they understand how they could be impacted. Leadership across the wing has emphasized and encouraged Airmen to discuss these programs with supervisors to consider career options.”
The decision to reduce the force was made as a result of budget reduction requirements.
Air Force leaders made the decision to announce the overall strategic plan now so that Airmen have the necessary time to consider all their career options.
During testimony to the House Armed Services Committee in November, Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, the Air Force chief of staff, said long-term impacts of sequestration could force the service to cut about 25,000 Airmen over the next five years.
“The difference from years past is that we announced voluntary programs first, then involuntary,” said Lt. Gen. Samuel Cox, the deputy chief of staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services. “This year, due to the limited timeframe, we’re announcing all programs at once to allow Airmen time to consider their options and ensure their personnel records are up to date.”
Several programs will be announced in the coming weeks. Boards will consider an Airman’s entire record of performance and will be conducted in accordance with Air Force promotion board standards. These programs only apply to active-duty Airmen.
Enlisted only programs
The chief master sergeant retention board will include two phases. During phase one, chiefs in specific specialties may apply for voluntary retirement in lieu of meeting a retention board. Chiefs with 20 years of total active federal military service from identified overage career fields who do not apply for retirement before the phase one window closes Mar. 15, 2014, will be considered by the board, Cox said.
The quality force review board will look at senior master sergeants and below with a negative quality indicator code. Negative codes include reporting identifiers, grade status reasons, reenlistment eligibility, or assignment availability codes. For a complete list of codes, Airmen should visit the MyPers website once the Personnel Services Delivery Memorandum for this program is released.
Airmen who have declined to obtain retainability for PCS, TDY, retraining/training, deployments or promotion will be looked at under the Date of Separation, or DOS, rollback program.
Voluntary separation pay applies to Airmen on the active-duty list with more than six years, but no more than 20 years of total active federal military service, and will be offered to enlisted retention board eligible Airmen as a voluntary incentive prior to the retention boards. The enlisted retention boards will look at senior airmen through senior master sergeants in overage Air Force specialty codes with a date of rank of Jan. 1, 2013 or earlier. Senior NCOs with a minimum of 20 years of total active federal military service by the mandated retirement date will also be considered by the board.
Officer only programs
Force shaping boards will consider active-duty officers with more than three but less than six years of commissioned service as of Dec. 31, 2014, for separation and will target career fields and year groups based on sustainment levels.
Overages in the officer corps will require the force to conduct an Enhanced Selective Early Retirement Board, or ESERB. An ESERB allows the service to consider retirement eligible active-duty officers below the rank of colonel, lieutenant colonels once deferred for promotion, and colonels with two to four years time in grade. By law, the Air Force will select no more than 30 percent for each grade in each competitive category.
Voluntary separation pay will be offered to active-duty officers with six or more years total active federal military service as a voluntary incentive prior to the meeting a board. A reduction in force, or RIF, board will consider regular officers below the grade of lieutenant colonel who have served at least one year of active duty in their current grade, are not on a promotion list, and have six or more years total active commissioned service and less than 18 years of total active federal military service.
Officer and enlisted programs
Officers and enlisted in over-manned career fields with more than 15 but less than 20 years of service will be eligible for Temporary Early Retirement Authority, or TERA, Phase II. The Air Force will offer TERA in fiscal 2014 with the application window starting in January 2014.
These measures are part of the Air Force’s comprehensive Force Management Program designed to shape the future force.
The Air Force also announced they will reduce the size of its civilian workforce by about 900 positions in addition to maintaining approximately 7,000 vacancies across the force to meet the demands of a constrained fiscal 2014 budget, officials announced.
Specific reductions by location have not been determined.
The Air Force will implement civilian workforce shaping initiatives, along with continued targeted hiring to comply with mandatory funding targets and to rebalance the civilian workforce to meet skill demands for fiscal 2014 and beyond.
“The Defense Department used administrative furloughs to meet civilian pay budget demands in the compressed time frame between sequestration and the end of the FY13. We will meet a similar budgetary challenge in FY14 through a reduced workforce,” said Brig. Gen. Gina Grosso, the director of force management policy for the Air Force. The general added that the Air Force’s strategy to meet civilian pay budget targets does not include a furlough.
To reduce the number of employees assigned against previously and newly abolished positions, the Air Force plans to maximize the use of Voluntary Early Retirement Authority and Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay to entice employees who are eligible to leave federal service to do so voluntarily. These programs offer early retirement for employees who are considering life outside of federal service and up to $25,000 for employees whose voluntary separation would save another employee from being involuntarily separated.
“Over the last couple of years the Air Force has gone through significant civilian pay budget challenges,”Grosso said. “By implementing voluntary programs now we hope to mitigate future involuntary losses to the civilian workforce.”=
Base personnel can visit the myPers website at https://mypers.af.mil for more information about force reduction plans or other issues.