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Air Force may hold RIF board if goal not met

By Staff Sgt. C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (Jan. 05, 2007) -- The Air Force will convene an officer reduction in force board in June if it fails to meet its force-shaping goal, said the service's senior most officer for manpower and personnel.

"While the goal has been to reduce active-duty end strength through voluntary programs where possible, if at the end of the extended Voluntary Separation Pay application window the (fiscal year) 2007 goal has not been reached, the remaining losses will be achieved through an officer RIF board in June 2007," said Lt. Gen. Roger A. Brady, Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower and personnel.

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The window for officers to voluntarily separate from the Air Force with the VSP option has been extended to March 31. As of Dec. 28, the service had approved just over 1,800 applicants for the program. Officers seeking more information about VSP can call the Air Force Personnel Center contact center at 800-616-3775, or visit its web site.

General Brady said the RIF board would consider Air Force officers with six to 12 years of active commissioned service in overage career fields from six year groups: 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2001. The RIF board process is expected to achieve approximately 1,000 officer reductions. Officers not selected for retention will be separated by Jan. 29, 2008.

Force shaping is not simply about reducing numbers, however. The Air Force will also ensure that it has the right number of officers and enlisted, with the right rank, in the right career fields.

"The Air Force is in transition and we must focus on optimizing our force structure," General Brady said. "Through voluntary separations, attrition, adjustments to accessions, retraining, and a RIF board, we can ensure we have the number of officers we need, in the right career fields, and with the right level of expertise. I encourage all commanders to conduct frank discussions with their officers concerning their vulnerability for the RIF board."

In 2004, the Air Force had 372,000 active-duty Airmen. Today, the service has about 347,300. Through force shaping, the goal is to reduce that number by another 31,000 to about 316,000 by fiscal year 2009. In fiscal year 2007 alone, the Air Force has over 5,500 projected officer losses (about 70 percent of the goal) and 16,500 projected enlisted losses (almost 50 percent of the goal). These losses reflect the combination of targeted force shaping and normal attrition, which total over 30,000 each year.

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