The Air Force will hold selective early retirement boards for lieutenant colonels and colonels in December to break an logjam in the officer promotion system.
Last year, the Air Force had to cancel the line majors board, which also was scheduled for December, affecting about 2,500 captains who were commissioned in 2005.
With colonels staying in the service longer, there are fewer vacancies for lieutenant colonels to fill, and that has led to a blockage in the promotion system for majors and captains, Big Gen. Gina Grosso, director of force management policy and deputy chief of staff of Manpower Personnel and Services told Air Force Times in September.
Now the Air Force will select full bird and lieutenant colonels to leave the service by July 1, 2014, the Air Force Personnel Center announced today.
The board will look at lieutenant colonels from the Line of the Air Force, Nurse Corps, Biomedical Science Corps, Line of the Air Force-Judge Advocate General and Medical Service Corps career fields who have been passed over for promotion twice by Dec. 9, when the board convenes, according to an AFPC release.
The colonel board will look at colonels with four or more years of active-duty time in grade in the following career fields: Line of the Air Force, Line of the Air Force-Judge Advocate General, Medical Service Corps and Nurse Corps.
Colonels considered for early retirement by the 2010 or 2012 boards and lieutenant colonels considered by the 2010 or 2011 boards will not be part of this board, according to AFPC. Lieutenant colonels who are considered for this board will be exempt if they are recommended for promotion before Dec. 9.
Those officers who do not want to go before the board can apply for voluntary retirement until Nov. 15; otherwise, they will have to retire on July 1, 2014 if selected by the board, said Lt. Col. John Barlett, Air Force Personnel Center operations division chief.
“If you want to retire after July 1, 2014, you need to apply early and remove yourself from SERB consideration,” Barlett said in the release.
The SERB announcement comes one week after the Air Force announced new voluntary measures to trim the ranks. Air Force officials said July 18 that the service must cut at least 1,800 airmen to meet a projected end strength of 327,600. Personnel officials plan to get to that number by first offering time-in-grade, time-in-service and active-duty service commitment waivers. Some airmen who qualify will be allowed to serve out their commitments in the Air National Guard or Reserve.
The Air Force also is offering a new option to officers in fiscal 2014: a commitment waiver allowing those who have recently attended Air War College, Air Command and Staff College, or other senior and intermediate developmental programs to retire after only one year. Officers who attend such education programs normally commit to serving three more years.
Air Force officials have not said whether they plan to use the temporary early retirement authority — 15-year retirements authorized by Congress — to further reduce the force.
More voluntary programs are likely to be announced later this year, Lt. Col. John Bartlett, operations division chief at AFPC, told Air Force Times on July 18.