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Voluntary fiscal 2014 force management programs announced

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas (AFNS) -- The Air Force will implement several officer and enlisted force management programs for fiscal 2014, officials said today.

Force management programs enable the Air Force to both size and balance the force, with the goal of meeting mandated end strength numbers in the right career fields and at the right grades, said Lt. Col. John Barlett, the Air Force Personnel Center operations division chief.

Officials anticipate ending fiscal 2013 within or marginally over the 329,460 authorized end strength, but also expect fiscal 2014 authorizations to drop.

"Air Force leaders are working hard to ensure we meet end strength restrictions without harming the mission or the Airmen who accomplish it," Barlett said. "Force management programs help us do that -- they enable us to offer retirement and separation incentives and options that Airmen wouldn't otherwise have. Every approved volunteer is one fewer Airman we may have to lose to a non-volunteer program."

Enlisted members in non-critical career fields will be able to apply for limited active duty service commitment waivers, a waiver of up to two years on their current enlistment contract, a waiver of all but six months of promotion-related ADSC, or the expanded Palace Chase program (reduced commitment to the Air Reserve Component of one year for each year of ADSC waived), Barlett said.

Eligible officers from overmanned fields will be able to apply for time in grade waivers, limited ADSC waivers, the Expanded Palace Chase Program, and the 10-vs-8 Commission Waiver Program (allowing prior enlisted officers to retire with eight years of commissioned time versus 10).

Interested, eligible Airmen must apply online via the virtual Military Personnel Flight, with application windows open July 19, 2013 through July 1, 2014. Those approved must separate by Sept. 30, 2014, and approved retirements must be no earlier than Oct. 1, 2013 and no later than Sept. 1, 2014, Barlett said.

While eligible Airmen may apply for available waivers, some Airmen, depending on their circumstances, may be required to repay the Air Force for benefits received including tuition assistance and transferring Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits to dependents.

"Airmen need to carefully review the eligibility criteria and recoupment information before they apply for a force management program," Barlett said. "Some ADSC waivers don't require repayment, like permanent change of station and technical training, but others do; so you'll want to be prepared. And do look into the Palace Chase option; you may be excused from all repayment."

Eligible, interested members should apply early, as well, Barlett said.

"Force management programs may provide you with opportunities to separate or retire earlier than you had expected, but not all applicants will be approved. As the Air Force meets targets, some career fields will be removed from the list, so if you wait, you may be denied."

Members selected for voluntary and non-voluntary FM programs must attend an Air Force Transition Assistance Program seminar before separating or retiring, as well, so applying early will help ensure they are able to get into a seminar, Barlett said.

In addition to those voluntary FM programs, the Air Force will implement additional programs and measures through the fiscal year, as necessary to bring end strength numbers within requirements.

For additional information about voluntary FM programs, go to the myPers website at https://mypers.af.mil. Enter "PSDM 13-64" in the search window for enlisted programs and "PSDM 13-65" for officer programs.
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