Officer voluntary separation pay results announced

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON — Air Force officials announced updates April 20 to voluntary separation pay approvals and reduction-in-force targets as part of the fiscal 2011 force management program for officers.

“Later this week, commanders will begin notifying approximately 300 officers that their requests to separate under the voluntary separation pay program have been approved,” said Maj. Gen. Sharon K. G. Dunbar, force management policy director. “Officers approved for VSP are no longer eligible for the RIF due to their new separation date, but eligible officers not approved for VSP will meet the RIF board.”

In response to projected voluntary officer separations, Air Force officials are lowering the reduction-in-force board target, General Dunbar said. The RIF scheduled for this September will focus on selecting for retention the most qualified officers, regardless of career field.

“Depending on year group size and competitive category, we may only need to RIF up to 5 percent compared to the initial 10 percent projection,” she said.

RIF board members will consider officers in the grades of major and captain in the following year groups and competitive categories: line of the Air Force: 2000 and 2003 through 2005; judge advocate general: 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2003; chaplain: 2002, 2003 and 2005; medical service corps: 2001; and biomedical service corps: 2000 and 2001.

Due to voluntary separation approvals, JAGs in the 2000 year group and chaplains in the 2004 year group are no longer eligible for the RIF.

“It is important that RIF-eligible officers ensure their records are current, particularly with regard to duty history, appropriate professional military education and advanced academic degrees,” Dunbar said.

VSP was offered as an incentive to encourage officers in overage competitive categories and specific year groups to leave the service early. Applications were approved based on objective criteria and the needs of the Air Force. Officers approved for VSP must separate on Oct. 1, 2011.

The methodology for approving VSP applications encompassed several factors. For example, officers must have been eligible for the September RIF board, not receiving a bonus, such as the critical skills retention bonus or aviation continuation pay, or be qualified in a current critical Air Force skill. Based on needs of the Air Force, applicants with specialized training or expertise, such as nuclear, acquisition or other hard-to-fill specialties, were not approved for VSP. Likewise, applicants with service commitments resulting from advanced academic degrees were not approved.

Officers with no active duty service commitment or those eligible under the Limited ADSC Waiver program generally were approved. For example, service commitments associated with permanent change of station, GI Bill transferability, and tuition assistance were waived. Service commitments for flying training, however, were only waived for six months or less.

“It is always difficult to select dedicated airmen for early transition from the active duty force, so we never take this decision lightly,” said Gen. Norton Schwartz, the Air Force chief of staff. “At the same time, the Air Force has a responsibility to operate within the levels authorized by Congress while maintaining our capability to meet current and future missions.”

“Leaders at all levels of our Air Force are committed to assisting airmen in their transition from the active duty force,” Schwartz said. “Our Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard are two great options for continued service.”