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Pilots, combat systems officers may be eligible for retention incentives

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Eligible active-duty pilots and combat systems officers have until Sept. 30 to apply for the fiscal year 2014 Aviator Retention Pay Program, Air Force officials said June 25.

“As we resize our force with the right balance of skills to meet Air Force mission requirements and continue to focus on retaining high-performing Airmen, ARP is a necessary hedge against external factors that could adversely impact the Air Force’s rated inventory,” said Brig. Gen. Brian Kelly, the director of force management policy.

This year, ARP provides specific eligible pilots and combat systems officers with monetary incentives in exchange for active-duty service commitments of five years, he said. Similar to the fiscal 2013 ARP program, fighter pilots are eligible for longer contracts of up to nine years.

Additionally, the program permits Airmen who will complete their undergraduate flying training active-duty service commitment anytime in fiscal 2015 to lock in a contract for next year. Aviators in this category were not included in past ARP programs, Kelley said.

“The Air Force’s early sign-up option will contract aviators to a future service period before their current undergraduate flying training ADSC expires,” Kelly said. “Kind of a bird-in-the-hand approach to ARP – since budget pressures and force dynamics have created such a fluid environment. Payments will not begin until after completion of the undergraduate flying training ADSC, but they will be guaranteed.”

This year’s ARP program applies to lieutenant colonels and below who will not reach 16 years of total active federal military service by the end of the fiscal year that their undergraduate flying training ADSC expires. Applicants must not be eligible for any voluntary or involuntary force management programs as of the implementation of the fiscal 2014 ARP program. Also, these officers must be qualified for operational flying duty and entitled to and receiving monthly flight pay.

Depending on the aviator category and length of the ARP contract, incentives will vary from $15,000 to $25,000 per year with some categories eligible to receive 50 percent of the ARP total payable up front.

"Aviator retention pay remains a viable and cost-effective method to help retain our experienced Air Force aviators and plays a huge role in sustaining a predictable inventory of well-trained rated officers to execute the Air Force’s war-fighting mission," Kelly said.

For complete eligibility requirements and application instructions, visit the myPers website, select the compensation link in the left hand column and select the Aviator Continuation Pay Program link.

(Courtesy of Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs)

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