By Sandra Jontz, Stars and Stripes
European edition, Saturday, October 16, 2004
ARLINGTON, Va. — There’s good news for the Air Force’s retention rates — a little too good.
Better than anticipated retention rates is prompting personnel officials to kick in phase two of the service’s force restructuring plan and “widen the aperture” of careers targeted to help in the downsizing of the service, said Col. Mike Hayden, chief of the military policy division.
Now, about 24,000 airmen are being encouraged to take advantage of early out and other career opportunities, an increase in the force-reshaping goal of 17,600 set earlier this year, Hayden said.
As it stands, the Air Force is authorized an end-strength of 359,700for fiscal 2005. Right now, the service stands at 376,616.
Air Force planners expanded eligible career fields, lowering the threshold from those at 100 percent capacity to 95 percent capacity. But even airmen in some undermanned fields are eligible to apply to leave the service, although their chances of getting approval might not be as good, said Maj. John Silverman, chief of retirement and separation policy.
One way personnel planners are hoping to achieve the goal is to eliminate barriers airmen face to getting out, such as time-in-service commitments that required them to take advantage of signing bonuses or educational benefits, for example.
Airmen currently deployed can begin the process of taking advantage of the program if they want to leave the Air Force. It won’t get them out of their current deployment cycle, but the process can be started from the field and completed once they return home, Hayden said.
The war on terror and increased operational tempo had the opposite impact on retention, particularly in career fields most stressed such as pilots, logistical personnel, and maintenance and support crews, Hayden said. Officials anticipated an exodus of stressed airmen, particularly after the Air Force had to enact stop-loss policies to retain troops beyond pre-planned separation or retirement dates.
The extensive listing of overmanned jobs can be found on at: www.afpc.randolph.af.mil/retsep/shape.htm.
Of 24,000 reduction goal, about 3,000 of those jobs are vacant recruiting slots for which personnel officials have told recruiters to not bother filling, Hayden said.
And just today, insane fuck / NYT Bush-Hater Extraordinaire Paul Krugman "feels" there is a Draft coming if Bush reelected.