The memo, signed Oct. 18, 2018, extends the high year of tenure from eight to 10 years for senior airmen, from 15 to 20 years for staff sergeants and from 20 to 22 years for technical sergeants.
Airmen in these ranks who reach their HYT prior to Feb. 1, 2019, or those who are currently approved for separation or retirement under the previous HYT limits, may submit a request to extend their HYT beginning Oct. 24 to the updated limit if government funds have not been expended on their separation or retirement, such as moving expenses.
“This is just one of the ways we are working to manage the talent we currently have,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright. “Adjusting the high year of tenure policy will allow us to keep Airmen we’ve trained and developed over the course of their careers, and allow them to continue to serve their nation to the best of their ability and pay it forward, by training the next generation of Airmen who are right behind them.”
The Air Force will use the flexibility to retain talented mid-tier Airmen to provide training, leadership and mentoring to the growing number of accessions who are joining the force.
“As we grow the force, we need to retain technically skilled experts across our ranks,” said Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly, Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel, and services. “By extending high year of tenure, we’re able to leverage our talented, seasoned professionals to train, develop, and lead new Airmen to accomplish current and future mission requirements.”
The Air Force will consider using career job reservations and noncommissioned officer retraining programs as needed to ensure that its growth is deliberately targeted to meet the needs of the National Defense Strategy.
“These force-shaping tools are critical to ensuring the investment we’ve made in enhancing our Airmen’s technical skills are leveraged and allocated across the force deliberately,” said Kelly.
Senior airmen through technical sergeants with an HYT of Feb 1, 2019, and later, will automatically have their HYT adjusted by AFPC in accordance with this policy. Those hitting HYT prior to Feb. 1 can request an extension via the virtual manpower and personnel flight.
“Service in the Air Force is an honor, not a right or an entitlement,” Wright said. “Supervisors and commanders will continue to ensure that proper conduct and mission performance are the primary factors in determining continued service.”