As many as 596 officers could be involuntarily retired under a broadened selective early retirement board that will meet this summer.
According to statistics provided by the Air Force, 1,019 majors, 11 lieutenant colonels and 956 colonels — 1,986 in all — could face the enhanced SERB, or E-SERB, when it convenes from June 16 to July 4. By law, the Air Force can select no more than 30 percent of those eligible in each grade and each category for early retirement under the E-SERB.
The E-SERB is one of 18 voluntary and involuntary force management programs the Air Force is rolling out this year to help it reduce the ranks and deal with across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester. The E-SERB is a new authority, granted in the fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, that will consider even more officers than under the regular SERB process.
Some officers eligible for the E-SERB could choose to voluntarily retire, which would lower the number of officers meeting the board and the maximum number of retirement selections. The Air Force Personnel Center could not say how many people have so far applied for voluntary retirement or separation under the force management programs, because it is still sorting out invalid applications.
The window for eligible colonels to request voluntary retirement opened Jan. 17 and will close Feb. 25. Majors and lieutenant colonels can apply for voluntary retirement until May 16.
The E-SERB will consider colonels with between two and four years time-in-grade, as opposed to the regular SERB, which applies to colonels with at least four years time-in-grade. The E-SERB will also consider lieutenant colonels in the biomedical science corps category between year groups 1989 and 1994 who have been passed over for promotion once, instead of at least twice as is the case under the regular SERB.
A Jan. 3 release from AFPC said that lieutenant colonels in the medical services corps also could be eligible for the E-SERB, but that category has since been dropped from consideration by the board.
A Jan. 23 matrix provided by the Air Force spelled out 23 line of the Air Force career fields for which majors in year groups 2001 to 2003 could be vulnerable to the E-SERB. Biomedical science corps majors in year groups 2001 to 2003, medical service corps majors in year groups 2001 to 2004, and nurse corps majors in year groups 1997 to 2001 could also be eligible.
AFPC said the matrices are subject to change and updated periodically, though not weekly. The charts are for general information, AFPC said, and airmen should get specific details from their military personnel section or AFPC, and that each airman must confirm his actual eligibility by contacting his unit leadership and military personnel section.
The list of line of the Air Force career fields that could land majors in front of an E-SERB:
11M Mobility pilot
12M Mobility combat systems officer
12R Reconnaissance/surveillance/electronic warfare combat systems officer
13B Air battle manager
13M Airfield operation
13N Nuclear and missile operations
13S Space operations
17D Cyberspace operations
21A Aircraft maintenance
21M Munitions and missile maintenance
21R Logistics readiness
31P Security forces
32E Civil engineers
35P Public affairs
61B Behavioral science/human factor scientist
62E Developmental engineer
63A Acquisition manager
65X Financial management/cost analysis
71S Special investigator