Several factors have resulted in fewer Airmen eligible for current and upcoming involuntary force management boards.
Air Force leaders recently decided to bolster manning for nuclear-related career fields, an intention to make adjustments to account for budgetary uncertainties tied to proposed force structure changes. Those actions, coupled with previously approved voluntary applications and recent increases in non-force management related retirements and separations, resulted in significant reductions in the number of Airmen slated to meet involuntary boards.
The Air Force approach to force management has been to maximize voluntary opportunities first, offer additional incentives where needed and use involuntary separation only as required. Newly publicized matrices on the myPers web site reflect this strategy and show the resulting reductions from when the programs were first announced in January. In total, the programs have gone from having almost 98,000 Airmen eligible for involuntary programs down to approximately 13,500 officers and enlisted Airmen who remain eligible for involuntary separation. Individual adjustments to each involuntary program are discussed below.
Enlisted retention boards
Enlisted retention boards convened June 16 with 7,121 eligible Airmen (senior airman through senior master sergeant) across 44 enlisted Air Force specialty codes. The total target for these boards is now only 1,427. These numbers represent significant reductions from the latest matrices published in May, which showed 14,500 eligible Airmen with a target of more than 4,000. Original published numbers in January showed more than 80,000 eligible Airmen with involuntary targets more than 20,000. The Air Force Personnel Center will provide commanders the ERB results for their Airmen between mid-July and early August. Senior NCOs not selected for retention will retire by Dec. 1. Only senior NCOs who are eligible for regular retirement by the board convening date will meet the ERB. Senior airmen and NCOs not selected for retention will either separate by Jan. 31, 2015 or retire through temporary early retirement authority by Feb. 1, 2015.
Enhanced selective early retirement board
The enhanced selective early retirement board, which convened June 16, will only target 98 line of the Air Force colonels and 140 line of the Air Force majors in 16 officer AFSCs. These numbers represent significant reductions from January with targets at that time exceeding 300 majors. Additionally, nurse, medical services corps and biomedical sciences corps categories met their targets through voluntary retirements, eliminating the need for a major or lieutenant colonel health professions board.
Force shaping board
The force shaping board scheduled for July 14 was reduced to a line of the Air Force and line of the Air Force judge advocate general target of 226 lieutenants and junior captains (with three to six years of commissioned service) with only 11 officer AFSCs now eligible. Additionally, the FSB seeks to reduce the medical services corps and biomedical sciences corps career fields by 26 junior officers. The total eligible population was reduced from more than 4,000 to 1,100 officers now scheduled to meet the FSB.
Reduction in force board
The Reduction in force board scheduled for Oct. 1 will target approximately 600 officers (captains and majors with six to 18 years of service) but the number is expected to drop. The application windows for both TERA and voluntary separation pay associated with the RIF board remain open through June 30. Approvals of all applications will be done after the window closes in one batch and all approvals will subsequently reduce the involuntary target.
Civilian force management
Round three of the voluntary early retirement authority/voluntary separation incentive pay (VERA/VSIP) survey period concluded June 6. Installation civilian personnel sections forwarded VERA/VSIP applications to AFPC for review and processing on June 20. Employees with approved VERA/VSIP applications will be notified by June 27 and will have an effective separation date of Aug. 31.
Updates to information on force management and other personnel programs will continue to be available on myPers.af.mil. Airmen can also use the force management graphic on the Air Force Portal, which will take them to updated matrices and force management program details.
(Information from www.af.mil was used in this story)