The Air Force must cut at least 1,800 airmen in 2014. (Air Force)
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The Air Force on Thursday said it will offer several voluntary force management programs in fiscal 2014 to further cut its ranks.
The Air Force’s fiscal 2014 budget request calls for an active-duty end strength of 327,600, which would be 1,860 fewer than the fiscal 2013 active duty authorized end strength. The Air Force said it expects to finish this year at or slightly over its authorized end strength.
“The Air Force will be smaller in the future,” Col. Dawn Keasley, military force policy division chief, said in a release. “Depending on end strength requirements for fiscal year 2014 and beyond, we may be required to implement additional force management measures throughout the year to meet congressionally-mandated end strength.”
Many of the programs to voluntarily cut the ranks next year are currently in place and will be continued. But officers will have one new option to voluntarily leave the Air Force: an active duty service commitment waiver of up to 12 months for senior and intermediate developmental education.
Officers in certain year groups and overmanned career fields will continue to be offered time-in-grade and active duty service commitment waivers. The Palace Chase transfer program — which allows airmen to serve out their remaining service commitment in the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve — will also continue to be offered, as will the 10 to 8 Commissioned Years of Service Waiver program.
Voluntary programs for enlisted airmen in 2013 will continue through next year, including waivers for active-duty service commitments, time-in-grade waivers, enlistment contract waivers, and expanded Palace Chase transfers.
Involuntary force management programs are likely to be announced later. The Air Force will use those programs if the voluntary programs don’t cut enough airmen.
“Airmen are our most important resource, and we must do our best to live with the resources we’ve been given,” Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said in a release. “That requires having the right balance of skills to meet the needs of the current and future fight which these force management actions will provide.”