Officials announce force management measures
RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — Air Force officials here announced Nov. 16 measures to meet the fiscal 2010 end strength of 331,700, requiring personnel management actions to reduce the force by approximately 3,700 officers and enlisted members through voluntary and involuntary early separation and retirement programs.
Eligible airmen may begin applying Nov. 17.
A weakened economy has lead to an increased retention rate and force management measures are needed to strategically balance skills and abilities as well as reduce a projected $228 million personnel funding shortfall, officials said.
Force management measures are aimed to reduce the end strength by 2,074 officers and 1,633 enlisted members. Officials believe they can achieve the enlisted end-strength goal but anticipate that actions to reduce the number of officers may only attain about 900 of the more than 2,000 needed.
“As the Air Force continues to support requirements of combatant commanders in a time of war, it’s essential that it follows a comprehensive force management plan to provide the necessary manpower and bring relief to those critically manned career fields,” said Col. Joan Garbutt, the director of force management policy at the Pentagon.
Garbutt added that the service is also held to a fiduciary responsibility in meeting its congressionally mandated end-strength.
“Whenever the Air Force exceeds its authorized end strength, there’s a cost to pay that was not programmed for in the budget,” she said. “That places the burden on its leaders to vigilantly consider all options in any approach to reduce the number of personnel while striking a balance with retaining the right skills.”
Plans for an enlisted date of separation rollback combined with a reduction in Air Force specialty quotas for airmen who fail to complete initial technical training are expected to achieve the enlisted goal. Enlisted members affected for the date of separation rollback impacts those with fewer than 14 or more than 20 years of service as of April 30, 2010. The criteria for the DOS rollback will be based on certain re-enlistment eligibility codes and/or assignment availability codes. DOS dates can be no later than April 30, 2010, and retirement dates no later than May 1, 2010.
A number of personnel measures will be taken to reduce the number of officers needed; however, officials anticipate those actions to continue into fiscal 2011. A reduction in time-in-grade requirement for colonels and lieutenant colonels will be offered to eligible officers who retire on or before Sept. 1, 2010. The limited active duty service commitment for officers in overage Air Force specialties and year groups will be waived so that they may separate or retire on or before Sept. 1, 2010.
Additionally, the Air Force will reduce the number of fiscal 2010 accessions from Officer Training School by 144 and delay the accession of 417 ROTC cadets from fiscal 2010 to fiscal 2011. Officials also plan to expand the number of Palace Chase transfers to the Air Force Reserve and offer expanded waiver criteria for interservice transfers to the Army as part of the Blue to Green program.
“Airmen who voluntarily retire or are separated through force management measures are better prepared to find their next career by virtue of the advanced training and experience gained in service,” Garbutt said. “Base transition assistance programs along with a number of agencies standing by to assist veterans help prepare airmen for a successful transition.”
The addition of more than 9,000 new Air Force civilian positions in fiscal 2010 may also help ease the transition. With contractor-to-civilian conversions, new organizations standing up and overall increases in positions, the service is projecting an even larger hiring surge in fiscal 2011 with an estimated 25,000 new positions by fiscal 2013.
For more information on force management measures and eligibility, visit the Air Force Personnel Center’s “Ask” site or call the Total Force Service Center at 800-525-0102.