May 24, 2012

‘What do I do now?’

Commentary by Master Sgt. April Little
Davis-Monthan AFB Career Assistance Advisor

“What do I do know? I don’t want to get out of the Air Force.”

Unfortunately, that is a common question I get asked as the base career advisor. With today’s economy and job market, many Airmen are making the decision to continue their military career rather than compete for what little jobs are available beyond our gates. With that being said, the Air Force is stuck with too many Airmen in particular jobs. The politically correct term is called “Force Management” but for those who are achieving civilian-below-the-zone status, it’s unemployment.

What’s the take-away? Don’t wait until it’s too late! This goes for everyone, whether you’re an airman basic or a master sergeant. Give yourself enough time to study for promotion tests. Senior airmen now have a high-year tenure of eight years, staff sergeants have a HYT of 15 years and technical sergeants have a HYT of 20 years. What does this mean? Taking too long to reach the next rank will ensure a short military career. What’s more, if you want to PCS overseas or apply for a base of preference, you will be denied the opportunity. So, what do you need to know?

Currently, the Air Force is using several different measures to ensure only the strongest survive. The first to get cut are those in trouble. The DOS Rollback identifies those Airmen who have a control roster, refused retainability for schools or assignments, etc. During this fiscal year alone, the AF has already initiated two DOS Rollbacks, with roughly 150 Davis-Monthan Airmen identified as potential civilians-below-the-zone. If a commander can’t remove that Airman from this list, they will separate earlier than they anticipated. But wait, there’s more!

In addition to the DOS Rollback, the AF is using Career Job Reservation constraints on 17 Air Force Specialty Codes. This means that if a first-term Airman wants to reenlist, they won’t be able unless they have a CJR awarded. The emphasis is for any FTA on the CJR constraint list is to apply for retraining or special duties to reduce the number of airmen in those particular career fields. FACT: Even those FTA with fire-wall “5” enlisted performance reports can still be denied a CJR.

We’ve all heard the nagging before – go to school, study for promotion, complete a special duty assignment, etc. The choice is yours. Educate yourself and your fellow Airmen about assignments, promotions and force reduction programs. The information you are looking for is all on the AF Portal. If you don’t make your Air Force career a priority, you will likely become a civilian sooner than you think.

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U.S. Air Force photo/ Master Sgt. Luke Johnson

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