WASHINGTON — Up to 40 active-duty, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard officers and enlisted members who meet eligibility requirements will be offered between one and three years of partially-paid time out of uniform to focus on personal and professional pursuits under the Career Intermission Pilot Program, or CIPP, Air Force officials announced July 30.
In accordance with the 2009 National Defense Authorization Act, each military branch is authorized to implement CIPP, which authorizes selected members to take a sabbatical and seamlessly return to their active-duty or Air Reserve Component role.
“This program offers a few high performing Airmen the opportunity to focus on priorities outside of their military career without having to choose between competing priorities,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III.
Applications will be accepted from Aug. 15 to Oct. 15 and a total force selection panel is scheduled to convene Nov. 12 to select the Air Force’s first program participants. The active-duty, Guard and Reserve panel will consider active and reserve component applicants using common criteria.
“This is a first for the total force,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. “We’ve been working together for a couple of years to develop common personnel practices and implement tools used by each component, but this panel represents our first opportunity to truly assess our Airmen – whatever their component – as equal members of the total force.”
The panel will select up to 20 officers and 20 enlisted members for the inaugural pilot program.
Implemented by the Navy in 2009 and more recently by the Marine Corps, the program allows participants to retain full medical and dental benefits for themselves and their dependents, as well as exchange and commissary benefits. Participants also receive a stipend of 1/15th of their monthly basic pay. In addition, members will be allowed an Air Force-funded permanent change of station move to anywhere in the U.S. when entering the program, and a move to their follow-on base of assignment when they complete the program.
“The key to the intermission program is the Airman’s return to duty,” said Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Cody. “Top performers with a bright future won’t be lost to premature separation, and upon return, those Airmen will bring greater experience, education, knowledge, commitment and passion to their career.”
While participating in CIPP, members will be required to maintain all Air Force standards, including health and fitness, and be ready to fully resume their duties.
Participants won’t be able to compete for promotion while in the program, and those selected for promotion who enter CIPP before their promotion date will have to wait until they complete CIPP to be promoted. Upon return to active duty, participants will have their date of rank adjusted to remain competitive with those of similar time-in-grade.
Those who receive career field or skill level bonuses will not receive those while in CIPP, and they won’t be eligible for tuition assistance. They will, however, be able to use any veteran’s benefits they have accrued – like their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits – and they will also be able to retain up to 60 days of earned leave.
While all eligible Airmen – regardless of rank or career field – are welcome to apply, some Airmen are not eligible. Those who cannot complete the associated service commitment prior to reaching high year tenure or mandatory retirement/separation for age and years of service cannot be considered for CIPP. Airmen who are currently receiving a critical skills retention or fulfilling the associated service commitment for that bonus are ineligible for participation. In addition, any Airman who does not meet physical fitness standards may not apply.
Detailed application procedures, points-of-contact, and eligibility requirements will be outlined in the Air Force Personnel Center Career Intermission Pilot Program Personnel Services Delivery Memorandum and will be provided to Airmen in the coming days.