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AFCENT rolls out new leave, pass policy

AL UDEID AIR BASE, Qatar (AFNS) -- U.S. Air Forces Central Command officials released the command's revised leave policy June 6, which affects Airmen serving 12-month tours in Southwest Asia.

In its recent recertification of the Imminent Danger Pay program, the Department of Defense determined that, effective June 1, personnel serving in nine countries throughout the AFCENT area of responsibility would no longer receive IDP. Use of U.S. Central Command's 15-day Rest and Recuperation program is linked to eligibility for IDP.

Airmen who commenced 365-day deployments or Permanent Changes of Station on or after June 1 to countries that do not qualify for IDP are no longer eligible for R&R and therefore must apply for ordinary leave.

The major provisions of the new policy are:

- Eligible personnel who deployed or PCSed before June 1 may elect to take either 15 days of R&R--excluding travel days--using government-funded transportation, or ordinary leave--generally limited to no more than 30 days including travel days--using space-available military or personally funded civilian transportation. Personnel may not use both R&R and leave.

- Eligible personnel deploying or PCSing on or after June 1 will be able to use ordinary leave under existing rules of eligibility and prioritization for military or civilian transportation.

According to AFCENT officials, the new policy is intended to ensure unit mission readiness and compliance with revised guidance while ensuring that Airmen have the time they need to rest and recuperate during extended tours.

The following questions and answers address common concerns associated with the new policy. Supervisors and personnel teams are available to assist Airmen in understanding and exercising their options under the new policy.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is IDP going away?

U.S. Central Command conducted in-depth threat assessments for countries within its area of responsibility. Following the review, the Department of Defense determined that the imminent threat of physical harm to U.S. military personnel has been significantly reduced in many countries. As a result, IDP will be discontinued in those areas. The availability of accompanied tours is growing, and several locations allow Airmen the option of dependent-accompanied tours. The need for R&R in these countries has diminished based on these changes, and there are other options for available to ensure Airmen remain rested and ready.

2. How do I know whether I'm eligible for R&R or leave?

If you deployed or PCSed to your current location before June 1, 2014, and if you will be assigned to that location for a minimum of 12 months, you are eligible for R&R. If you deploy or PCS to Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan or Uzbekistan for a minimum of 12 months on or after June 1, 2014, you are not eligible for R&R but are eligible for ordinary leave. If you serve in Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen, Egypt, Iran, and Lebanon for a minimum of 12 months, you remain eligible for R&R.

3. I deployed or PCSed before June 1. Can I take both leave and R&R?

No. If you deployed or PCSed before June 1, you are authorized either R&R or leave, but not both.

4. If I'm eligible for leave and have more than 30 days accumulated or a large number of use-or-lose days, how many days may I take?

Like all duty absences, leave must be coordinated with your supervisor and commander in light of mission requirements, but generally leave should be limited to no more than 30 days in a 12-month period.

5. Under this policy, can I get time off if I'm deployed for less than 365 days?

Yes, at your commander's discretion. Commanders of expeditionary units may authorize, at any time, a four-day pass for Airmen, regardless of deployment length. Home station commanders may provide up to 10 days of compensatory time and an additional four-day pass to Airmen deployed for 179 days or longer upon their return.

6. What is a special pass?

Special passes apply to all Airmen regardless of location or tour length. They are authorized for special occasions or circumstances, such as recognition for exceptional performance or compensatory time off. Pass opportunities are subject to operational and mission constraints and cannot be used in conjunction with non-duty days that would allow time off to exceed the four-day special pass limitation. Passes do not need to be taken at the deployed duty location, but travel must not incur any cost to the government.

7. Where can I go during my pass?

Passes generally must be taken within the CENTCOM AOR. Exceptions may be approved by the group commander or equivalent in an Airman's chain of command.

8. If I'm deployed to one country and take leave or a pass in another country where we have a base, am I authorized to use base lodging, dining facilities or other facilities?

No. Regulations prohibit funded base facilities from being used to provide support to personnel who are not serving or transiting the base in an official capacity. Personnel taking leave or passes in the CENTCOM AOR will need to use commercial lodging, dining and recreation options.

9. Can I take leave or R&R in conjunction with other travel, like TDYs?

Ordinary leave may be taken in conjunction with TDYs. Approval level is the group commander or equivalent in an Airman's chain of command.
R&R leave may be combined with a TDY if deemed to be in the best interest of the Department of Defense and if approved by the first general officer or flag officer in an Airman's chain of command.
The combination of administrative absences such as permissive TDYs with mission-related TDYs will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Approval level is the group commander or equivalent in an Airman's chain of command.

10. When I'm taking leave or a pass, am I eligible to travel Space-A to my final destination? Where do I stand on the priority list?

The availability of Space-A travel will vary by location. Airmen who plan to travel using Space-A while on leave or a pass need to be prepared to purchase commercial travel if Space-A is not available to return them to their duty location within the time limitations specified by their commander. All personnel must travel in accordance with the Foreign Clearance Guide that pertains to the countries they will transit.

11. What if unexpected travel delays extend my absence beyond the approved leave or pass period?

Airmen should take personal responsibility by requesting sufficient leave and planning their travel to account for probable delays. For the same reason, Airmen should avoid complex, long-distance travel during a pass period. Specific questions about your unit's policy regarding coordination and approval of extended absences related to unavoidable travel delays should be directed to your supervisor or local personnel office.

To review the entire policy, please click here.

(Courtesy U.S. Air Forces Central Command Public Affairs)

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