Force Shaping - What's new with Phase II
by Master Sgt. Tammy Davis
In January 2004 we were introduced to the Force Shaping program, designed to reduce Air Force personnel by 16,600 and rebalance the force while improving manning in stressed career fields.
Phase I of the program closed in March with less than 3,000 approved applications. Due to record retention rates, the original drawdown of 16,600 has increased to a projected 24,000 by Sept. 30, 2005. Air Force Personnel Center began accepting applications for Phase II of the force shaping program June 2. Personnel applying may request a separation date as early as July 15.
With the increased number of members being asked to leave the force, changes to existing Force Shaping programs and polices were needed. Phase II offers leadership greater flexibility in managing the overall health of the force by year group, grade and skill level.
The Enlisted Date of Separation Rollback accelerates the separation date of personnel identified with specific reenlistment eligibility or assignment availability codes with less than 14 years or more than 20 years.
Career Job Reservation limits the number of first-term Airmen authorized to reenlist in constrained AFSCs. Airman without approved CJRs who have no desire to retrain can apply for Palace Chase, the Army, civil service or separation under the Limited Active Duty Service Commitment waiver, which allows members to retire or separate.
Phase II focuses on some additional program initiatives not offered in Phase I such as the Officer Continuation Program. Under this program, the consideration for captains twice deferred to major will be more restrictive. However greater consideration will be given to shortage AFSCs as appropriate.
Another program will allow some ROTC cadets the opportunity to be commissioned into the Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard or active duty Army.
Transferring to active duty Army is a new inter-service program allowing qualified Air Force officers and enlisted personnel to transfer into the Army. Enlisted members may qualify for monetary incentive for transferring to the Army: Eligibility for Army transfer is limited to grades O-1 through O-3 and E1 through E-5. All AFSCs are eligible to transfer into any Military Occupation Specialty. Refund of unearned portion of bonuses is required. Education costs will not be recouped provided member has an active duty service commitment or three years in the Army.
Another area of Phase II that members need to be aware of is officer and enlisted members who decline an assignment, or in-residence professional military education, will be separated no later than 120 days from the declined date unless Air Force needs dictate.
For those wishing to continue service, just not full-time, the Palace Chase/Front Program is Open to all Air Force Specialty Codes. Applicants must have 12 months minimum time in service and may possibly be released from the reimbursement of bonuses.
With the exception of personnel attending initial training or serving with a critical skills retention bonus, all retirement eligible and personnel wishing to separate who meet criteria may apply.
All approvals or disapprovals will be based on the needs of the Air Force. For more information contact the Military Personnel Flight, Career Assistance Advisor or log onto the AFPC website at www.afpc.randolph.af.mil/retsep/shape2.htm.