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Air Force brings DFAS airmen back on base

By Staff Sgt. C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (Feb. 20, 2004) -- To improve its total-force personnel posture, the Air Force will move nearly 400 airmen assigned to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service back to base-level comptroller squadrons.

Airmen working in Department of Defense billets like DFAS support the overall military mission, but do not directly support the Air Force's day-to-day business. The Air Force is looking to get some of those airmen back, said Michael Montelongo, assistant secretary of the Air Force for financial management and comptroller.

"The Air Force, which only comprises 26 percent of DOD's total military force, discovered it was filling a disproportionate percentage of DOD's military billets with airmen," Mr. Montelongo said. "We’ve requested that some of these airmen return to the Air Force from the various joint and DOD agencies; DFAS is only one of them."

Mr. Montelongo said the Air Force will eventually regain nearly 400 airmen currently working at DFAS. The Air Force stopped assigning airmen to DFAS in 2003. Airmen currently at the agency should have about two years on average left of their assignments before they are moved back to the Air Force.

When those airmen do return to an Air Force job, they can expect to be working in finance-related jobs, Mr. Montelongo said.

"The plan is to have all of these airmen return to fill shortages, particularly in the mid-career grades, in Air Force unit-level comptroller squadrons and to support deployment taskings," he said. "Although we are not retraining out of the financial management specialty in general, affected airmen may voluntarily request retraining. For now, this action doesn’t require anyone to retrain."

The moves within the finance community are expected to be complete by the end of fiscal 2005, Mr. Montelongo said.