LANGLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Va. — Airmen across Air Combat Command are starting the New Year with many questions pertaining to retention and quality review boards announced by Air Force leadership to reduce the enlisted force by thousands.
Chief Michael J. Helfer, chief enlisted manager (CEM) Manpower, Personnel and Services Directorate, clarifies some of those questions and rumors that have been received from Airmen.
Q. What is the Enlisted Voluntary Program Eligibility Matrix?
A. The matrix on the MyPers website gives Airmen a single snapshot of all the Air Force specialty codes that are either eligible or not eligible for the force management programs. The matrix is pretty well documented with color coordination. Individuals curious whether they will be affected by the force management programs should look on the matrix at their AFSC and grade. Airmen should check the matrix often because it can change at any time. AFSC’s can be taken off of the matrix based on application approvals for separation.
Q. What does it mean if an AFSC and grade is indicated with blue on the matrix?
A. If an AFSC and grade is blue on the matrix it means that the AFSC has been identified as being overmanned and Airmen may be eligible for voluntary separation and potentially involuntary separation programs that have been announced.
Q. What does it mean if an AFSC and grade is indicated with red on the matrix?
A. If the AFSC and grade is red Airmen in the AFSC are not eligible and may not be affected by any of the programs
Q. Have all Airmen affected by the force management programs been notified?
A. Air Force Personnel Center has indicated that notifications are going out however here at the Headquarter ACC A1 staff we don’t see the notifications going out.
Q. If an Airman doesn’t receive a notification does it mean they will not meet the retention board or quality review board?
A. If an individual does not receive notification it does not arbitrarily mean that individual is not eligible for the retention board. It is very important that they look at the eligibility criteria, if they meet the criteria and for some reason didn’t receive a notification from AFPC they should follow-up on that. The notification process will not be 100 percent foolproof, unfortunately.
Q. What is the difference between the quality review board and the retention board?
A. The quality force review board is looking at Airmen with negative quality indicators in their record at present time versus the retention board which is looking at overage AFSC’s for retention in that particular AFSC.
Q. When will the boards meet?
A. A quality review board will convene on May 5-16 and a retention board will convene in June.
Q. What will the retention board take into consideration when reviewing an Airman’s record for retention?
A. The retention board will look at an Airman’s entire record, pass evaluations and decorations. Commanders will be required to complete a retention recommendation letter for eligible Airmen meeting the board. This document is what the board members will look at to determine the order of merit to determine whether an Airman will be retained or not.
Q. Will Airmen who separate voluntarily or are involuntarily separated receive benefits?
A. On the voluntary side, they have opened up the voluntary separation pay (VSP) or the Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA) for those with 15-20 years of service. The voluntary phase of separation pay is 1.25 times the annual salary. If an individual has chosen to go the involuntary route and not retained by the board ,has over 6 years but less than 15 years of service, they will be given involuntary separation pay which is 1 times the annual pay. The .25 factor is what the additional incentive will be for an individual to take the voluntary separation.There is a formula used to calculate the separation pay.
Q. Will Airmen affected by the force management retention boards be eligible for reenlistment, promotion testing and permanent change of station?
A. Airmen that are in overage AFSC’s indicated on the matrix will still be eligible for reenlistment, promotion consideration and assignment consideration. Individuals that are selected to meet the retention board and are subsequently selected for promotion during FY14 promotion cycle will be considered excluded and not meet the retention board.
Q. Is there a specific amount of Airmen the Air Force is looking to separate or retire during the FY14 boards?
A. There has been no specific amount of Airmen that the Air Force will be looking to separate or retire this year.
Q. Can Airmen that are voluntarily or involuntarily separated join guard or reserve units?
A. Airmen are eligible to apply for Guard or Reserve duty, but if they come back on active duty they may have to pay back the early separation incentive or early retirement incentive. Airmen should verify that their DD Form-214 Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty indicates an eligible reenlistment code to allow them to transfer over to part-time duty.
Q. What is the biggest rumor you would like to dispel?
A. I haven’t heard any rumors, but Individuals need to understand that based on the budget constraints the services will have to reduce the inventory of people. This means having to go through force reduction boards. The Air Force is looking to do voluntary measures first; if they don’t meet the separations then they will go to the involuntary.
Q. What is something Airmen meeting the retention boards should know?
A. Airmen need to make sure they are receiving and understanding all the information. Airmen should go to the MyPers website, read the Personnel Services Delivery Memorandums (PSDM) and check the site daily because the frequently asked questions will be updated. If an Airman’s questions aren’t being answered from veiwing the site they should keep going until they get the answer. Airmen should go up their change of command and get with Military Personnel Service to make sure they have all the information to make a decision to take the voluntary incentive or meet the retention board for an involuntary separation. Airmen need to understand the ramifications of both. Again, Airmen are going to have to make that hard decision on what will be best for them and their family. They should talk it over with their family and leadership, communication is important.
For more information on force management programs visit the mypers webiste at www.mypers.af.mil or visit your installations Miltary Personnel Service office.