Editor’s Note: The “People First” section is compiled from information from the Air Force Personnel Center, TRICARE, 56th Force Support Squadron, Airman and Family Readiness Flight, Veterans Affairs, the civilian personnel office and armed forces news services. For the complete story, go to the web address listed at the end of the story.
OTS transforms BOT course
Beginning in January, the Air Force Officer Training School’s Basic Officer Training course will be shortened by three weeks.
Cutting the course from 12 weeks to nine weeks was the result of finding efficiencies in the course’s scheduling processes and curriculum, said the OTS commandant.
“Our staff was able to adapt its operations and curriculum in several innovative ways to save money and Airmen’s time while still producing fully qualified and capable second lieutenants,” said Col. Thomas Coglitore. “We’ve also beefed up our total force academics in order for our trainees to better understand the cultures between the active, Reserve and Air National Guard components.”
Furthermore, shortening the course falls in line with Air Education and Training Command’s cost conscious culture initiative, or C3, which challenges AETC units to seek more efficient ways of using available resources.
“By developing and delivering qualified second lieutenants in a new way, we preserve our resources,” he said.
New program helps develop holdover Airmen at BMT
Airmen placed on hold in the 324th Training Squadron are benefiting from a new program established earlier this year.
Typically, Airmen in a hold status have already completed basic training and are awaiting orders or assignment to technical school. There may be medical reasons for a hold status according to squadron leaders, but other factors may also result in assignment to the 324th TRS.
The new holdover Airmen development program, focuses on personal and professional development; giving Airmen in a hold status options to further their careers.
The program has already been successful. Airmen interested in broadening their educational goals accumulated more than 1,000 credit hours to date by using their time to study for, and taking, college level entrance program tests.
Several community service projects in and around base were completed by Airmen in the program. Holdover Airmen also organized a drill team with the aim to compete in the quarterly 37th Training Group drill down competition, and established two “rope programs:” the chaplain-based White Ropes and an Airman Leadership program of study.
Thrift savings plan contribution limits increase in 2013
The federal retirement thrift investment board has announced the 2013 elective deferral limit for regular Thrift Savings Plan contributions increased from $17,000 to $17,500 for 2013, Air Force Personnel Center officials said. The TSP catch-up plan contribution limit will remain at $5,500.
TSP is a long-term retirement savings plan which allows investors to build an investment portfolio while lowering their taxes each year they contribute. Contributions go directly from each paycheck to the member’s account, which makes it easy to pay yourself first, with taxes deferred until post-retirement withdrawal.
TSP investments are not limited to stocks: employees can choose government securities or invest in lifecycle funds as well. Regular TSP contributions stop when an employee’s contributions reach the annual maximum limit and then automatically resume the next calendar year.
Catch-up contributions are additional tax-deferred contributions separate from regular contributions. Catch-up contributions provide investors a way to secure their retirement, especially for those who begin investing later in their careers.
Revamped program aids separating service members
Major changes announced today to the transition assistance program will revolutionize the way the military prepares people leaving the services, with mandatory participation in programs throughout their military careers to help set them up for a successful transition.
The redesigned program, called transition goals planning success, was unveiled by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki. It is a multi-agency response to President Barack Obama’s call to improve career readiness for separating service members, said Susan Kelly, Defense Department Transition to Veterans Program Office principal director.
The president hinted at the most sweeping change to the transition assistance program in two decades during a speech this summer to the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Obama called it the centerpiece to a broader federal effort to help service members transition to civilian life and to reduce veterans unemployment.
During the three-phase rollout of the Transition GPS program that will continue through 2014, the many, but often disconnected, activities conducted across the U.S. government to support veterans and their families will be melded into one comprehensive effort, Kelly said.