AF realigns 13k military, civilian positions

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  • By Staff Sgt. A.J. Bosker
  • Air Force Print News
The Air Force will realign more than 13,000 active-duty and civilian manpower authorizations now through the end of the decade to better support the service's highest-priority mission requirements, personnel officials said Dec. 19.

"This restructuring of manpower positions isn't an attempt to reduce our overall end strength," said Brig. Gen. W. P. "Bear" Ard, director of Air Force manpower and organization at the Pentagon. "Rather, it's an effort to shape our workforce to meet our future steady state."

The increased operations tempo, workload and security requirements created by the war on terrorism, and budgetary realities have prompted the Air Force to review its authorizations to create a workforce that is better prepared to meet future challenges and missions, Ard said.

These changes will identify the functions and job types that are central to meet the needs of the Air Force, specifically the stressed career fields such as security forces and intelligence.

The major commands are working to identify approximately 9,300 military and 3,900 civilian positions, which will be realigned.

The active-duty positions identified will result in more airmen being available to perform expeditionary duties such as operations, maintenance and combat support. This will help the Air Force relieve some of the stress on the most critical career fields, he said.

The civilian positions identified by this review will facilitate work force shaping.

"Throughout this whole process, we're committed to making the impact on our people as minimal as possible," Ard said.

People's whose positions have been identified for realignment will be able to take full advantage of the wide array of personnel programs available.

Some of these programs include career job reservation and retraining opportunities for military members and priority placement, voluntary early retirement authority and the voluntary separation incentive program for civilians.

It is important that the Air Force's manpower authorizations accurately reflect the military and civilian workforce because everything from deployment taskings to accession programs are based on manpower authorizations, he said.

Today's challenges have forced the Air Force to make some tough choices, according to William H. Booth, senior adviser in the directorate of manpower and organization.

"We've been directed by the secretary of defense to conduct a review of our entire workforce in order to accurately determine our ability to meet mission requirements in-house," Booth said.

If the final results of our ongoing review support an increase in airmen, the secretary of the Air Force will have the information needed to go to the secretary of defense and Congress to ask for an increase in end strength, he explained.

"Getting our manpower levels right is essential to shaping the force to meet the challenges of the 21st century," Ard said.