Approvals are on hold for voluntary separation pay and early retirement programs aimed at thinning the Air Force's ranks by more than 20,000 airmen this year. (Staff Sgt. Richard Ebensberger/Air Force)
The Air Force Personnel Center has halted processing of early retirement and voluntary separation applications for both officers and enlisted.
In a message sent to major commands Tuesday that was obtained by Air Force Times, AFPC said it has delayed processing applications for Temporary Early Retirement Authority and voluntary separation pay “while sustainment requirements for projected force reductions are further reviewed by the Air Force.”
The message said AFPC expects to resume processing the applications “in the near future,” but has not yet set a firm date. AFPC said it will update commands once the review is finished and processing resumes.
AFPC would not comment when reached by Air Force Times, saying “any information on this topic would have to come in an official release.”
The TERA and VSP programs are among 18 force management programs the Air Force is currently using to try to trim the ranks to help it deal with across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester.
Airmen have until March 26 to apply for TERA, and until May 1 to apply for voluntary separation pay. The AFPC message said airmen will still be able to apply for these programs during the pause in processing.