AF enacts retention policy

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ARLINGTON, Va. — In accordance with Defense Department policy on military retention of non-deployable service members, the Air Force implemented its guidance in a memo signed Feb. 19.

Airmen who have been non-deployable for more than 12 consecutive months will be notified by their chain of command and evaluated for retention either through referral to the Disability Evaluation System or consideration for administrative separation.

Air Force leaders signed a memo charging every Airman to be fit for duty and maintain a wartime mission-capable status.

To be wartime mission-capable, Airmen must:

• meet individual medical readiness standards, to include medical, dental, and physical components,

• be able to execute the wartime mission requirements of their respective career fields, to include technical, educational, and physical proficiency,

• be current on the Fitness Assessment and

• be considered a satisfactory participant in Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard duties, as applicable.

“We expect all Airmen to exercise personal accountability for their deployable status and to take the necessary steps to maintain their readiness,” stated the memo signed by the secretary, chief of staff and chief master sergeant of the Air Force. “Commanders will ensure Airmen understand what is required and ensure the necessary resources are available to achieve our goal of a 95 percent or higher deployable rate within their units. The defense of our nation requires Airmen and the Air Force be ready to deploy at all times.”

Airmen exempted from this policy include those who are pregnant or postpartum, in a training or transient status, deployable with limitations, and are filling positions exempted by the secretary of defense.

Additionally, the new Air Force policy lists adoption, humanitarian assignment, legal action, sole survivor/surviving family member/deferred from hostile force zone, conscientious objector, absent without leave, or pending administrative separation as categories that are also exempt from this policy.

For some Airmen, being fit for duty means deploying to an austere environment at a moment’s notice; for others, it means being fit to execute wartime missions from home station. In both scenarios, commanders remain responsible for ensuring their Airmen are fit for duty.

“Being ready to go is in our DNA,” said Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly,  Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services. “It comes from our expeditionary roots as Airmen.”

The Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs will serve as the final retention approval authority, with one exception. Only the secretary of the Air Force may disapprove retention requests for combat-wounded Airmen who have been evaluated through the Disability Evaluation System and whose reason for being non-deployable is a result of their combat wounds.

“As a member of the profession of arms, all Airmen must be ready to execute their wartime missions,” said Shon Manasco, assistant secretary of the Air Force for manpower and reserve affairs. “Retaining Airmen who meet our standards to deploy is a top priority.”

For more information, Airmen should visit myPers or call the Air Force Personnel Center’s Total Force Service Center.