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Air Force focuses fourth round of VERA/VSIP on headquarters reductions

WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- In an effort to lead its force management actions with voluntary programs, the Air Force announced a fourth round of civilian workforce shaping measures beginning July 21.

This follows the recent Air Force announcement on headquarters organization and staffing reductions. Those changes are designed to eliminate redundant activities and improve efficiencies while also satisfying previous secretary of defense direction to reduce management headquarters costs and staff levels by 20 percent.

Voluntary early retirement authority and voluntary separation incentive pay will be used to realign and rebalance the civilian force during the round IV program. Round IV is largely focused on Headquarters Air Force-assigned civilian employees, primarily located in the national capital region. Civilians at some major command locations who could be impacted by these changes will also participate. The remaining MAJCOMs will participate in a subsequent round.

Civilian employees will receive VERA/VSIP interest surveys from their local civilian personnel sections on or about July 21 and responses are due by Aug. 1, unless an earlier date is established by local CPSs. Applicants approved for this round of VERA/VSIP must separate no later than Sep. 30.

“As the Air Force works to streamline the management framework regarding basic organization structures and associated business practices, some civilian positions at the Headquarters Air Force level will be eliminated,” said Heidi Liebel, the acting chief of the civilian force policy division. “The Air Force is committed to minimizing the adverse impacts of restructuring on our civilian employees, hence the use of VERA/VSIP to offer voluntary early separation or retirement incentives.”

There will be at least one more round of civilian workforce management as soon as all the MAJCOMs have the final details of all the changes associated with the 20 percent headquarters management review and reductions associated with realigning and consolidating functions under the Installation and Mission Support Center.

"The Air Force recognizes the invaluable contributions of our civilian workforce, but also must manage the fiscal constraints under which the Department of Defense is operating,” said Brig. Gen. Brian Kelly, the director of force management policy. “We are focused on fine tuning the force while taking care to minimize the effect on our current permanent civilian workforce and their families.''

The processes available to rebalance or reskill the work force include using reduction-in-force procedures to determine overage employee priority placement rights into vacant positions, as well as providing the flexibility to waive qualifications and provide retained grade and pay if placed in a lower graded position. In that regard, the HAF and other participating bases will begin their preparations for submitting their requests for approval to use reduction-in-force procedures in an effort to place employees in continuing permanent positions.

"We are committed to using voluntary separation programs as much as possible before pursuing involuntary options," Kelly said. "As we progress toward the end of the fiscal year, it is apparent the HAF will need to rebalance skills of the workforce into vacant positions."

For additional information about civilian employment, voluntary separation programs and other personnel actions, visit the Air Force Personnel Service website at https://gum-crm.csd.disa.mil.

(Courtesy of Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs)

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