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.

TFS center to expand
chat features on myPers

The Air Force Personnel Center announced the live chat feature on myPers, the Air Force online personnel information resource, expanded in February to cover a broader range of personnel programs and provide extended hours of availability.

Previously, only the separations, retraining and retirement pages provided this service. The new expanded services include base of preference, join spouse and exceptional family member and humanitarian reassignment pages. The service hours are now 7:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Central Standard Time.

“We saw an increase in calls on certain topics,” said Jackie Harry, the Operations Support chief. “By adding subjects and increasing our chat hours, we hope to better serve the information needs of our Airmen.”

To use the chat feature, users simply need to hover their cursor on the enabled pages for 30 seconds and a chat window will appear.

180-day civilian hiring restriction
reinstated for military retirees

Military retirees seeking to enter civil service in the Defense Department now require a waiver if they are within 180 days following their official date of retirement.

The new DOD requirement took effect Dec. 23, 2016, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act of fiscal 2017. However, personnel who fall under a special salary rate table, such as air traffic controllers and information technology managers, are exempt from the 180-day requirement.

Enacted in 1964, the 180-day policy was waived after a state of national emergency was declared Sept. 14, 2001. After that, the Air Force had the flexibility to appoint retired military members within 180 days of retirement without needing to first seek a waiver.

“The Air Force is committed to sustaining and supporting a diverse civilian workforce,” said Sandy Pyott, the Civilian Force Management branch chief. “We recognize the virtues that retirees, veterans and career civil servants bring to the table and how working together we can continue to be a world-class organization.”

This policy applies to all non-appropriated and appropriated fund civilian positions in the competitive and excepted service, senior executive service and senior level positions, and scientific and professional positions. The policy also includes all permanent, temporary, term, part-time, flexible and intermittent positions.

Civilian progressive education
window open through May 1

Eligible Air Force civilians have until May 1 to submit their civilian developmental education program applications to the Air Force Personnel Center.

CDE provides developmental education and leadership opportunities that will prepare Air Force personnel to anticipate and successfully meet challenges across the wide range of Air Force operations and missions.

“It is the responsibility of Air Force leaders at all levels to invest in and actively support the civilian workforce through mentoring, training and development to ensure we have the right people in the right job at the right time,“ said Gina Banda, the AFPC Civilian Developmental Education program manager.

The greatest change to this year’s eligibility is the requirement to have a minimum of two years federal civil service in order to apply versus just one, in line with the new two-year probationary period that went into effect November 2015.

Also new this year is the Civilian Associate Degree Program, open to all general schedule and wage grade employees, which offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Air Force leadership and management studies from Air University.

New AF chief says
Airmen, families first

When Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth Wright received the title of the Air Force’s most senior enlisted Airman less than a month ago, he instantly became responsible for advocating the best interests of more than 398,000 total force enlisted Airmen and their families.

Wright shouldered that responsibility as he testified in March before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and related agencies regarding the Air Force’s quality of life.

“The ultimate source of air, space and cyberspace combat capability resides in the men and women of the U.S. Air Force,” Wright said. “We must put them first as they face the challenges inherent in serving in the profession of arms.”

During the hearing, Wright updated the subcommittee on the welfare, readiness and morale of Airmen.

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