Officials announce criteria for reduction-in-force eligibility

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas — Air Force officials announced they will convene a quality-based reduction-in-force board Sept. 19 for mid-grade officers as part of their measures to reduce the number of Airmen to meet the service’s congressionally authorized military end-strength levels.

Officials said retaining the highest quality Airmen is vital to appropriately sizing and shaping the force and will be a key consideration when officers across the seven eligible year groups meet the September board.

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 through 2003; chaplain — 2002 through 2005; biomedical sciences corps — 2000 and 2001; and medical service corps — 2001, 2004 and 2005.

Due primarily to a 16-year high in retention, the Air Force ended fiscal 2010 approximately 2,300 officers above authorized end strength, officials said.

“We changed our approach to the RIF this year to one that will entail a ‘quality cut’ across an entire year group and competitive category, rather than focusing only on overage Air Force specialties as in the past,” said Col. Julie Boit, the chief of military force policy. “Up to 10 percent of officers in each eligible year group and competitive category will be separated to meet congressionally mandated Air Force end strength by the end of fiscal 2012.”

Though voluntary programs from fiscal 2010 remain in place to make more separations and retirements possible, officials announced Feb. 2 that the Air Force will need involuntary separation actions to supplement the voluntary
measures. Officers eligible for the RIF may apply for voluntary separation pay.
Officers have until March 31 to apply for VSP at 1.25 times the involuntary separation pay rate.

Air Force Personnel Center officials said applications will be processed through the virtual military personnel flight, or vMPF.

Each application will be considered on its own merit.
To ensure VSP applications in the best interest of the Air Force are approved, approval or disapproval decisions will be made once the VSP window has closed, officials said. Officers approved for VSP must separate on Oct. 1 and will not be considered by the RIF board.

Officers not selected for retention by the RIF board will be required to separate by Feb. 1, 2012, at the involuntary separation pay rate.

Airmen ineligible for the RIF include officers who have an established or mandatory date of separation of Feb. 1, 2012, or earlier; 15 or more years of total active federal military service by the board date of Sept. 19; or those who have been selected for promotion or have less than one year of time in grade, the colonel said.

Colonel Boit said Airmen are a trained and ready resource possessing many skills needed by the Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard.

“We encourage any officer who is leaving active duty to consider the many great opportunities in our Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard,” Colonel Boit said. “We want to keep as many Airmen as possible in our Air Force family.”

Airmen are also uniquely qualified for federal civilian positions, and many will receive veteran’s preference when applying for federal service, Colonel Boit added.
Colonel Boit highly encouraged transitioning Airmen to take advantage of the transition assistance programs available at Airman & Family Readiness centers around the world.

“There is a wealth of information to be gained in the transition assistance planning seminars the AFRCs conduct, from veterans benefits and employment opportunities to job search and interview techniques,” she said.

For more information on detailed eligibility and board information, visit the Air Force personnel services website or call the Total Force Service Center at 800-565-0102. For information on transition assistance programs, contact your local A&FRC.