Air Force to cut hundreds of officers

Tuesday - 11/1/2011, 7:53pm EDT

By Ruben Gomez
Reporter
Federal News Radio

The Air Force will remove hundreds of officers in an effort to align its uniformed workforce with congressional mandates.

The military service chose 436 captains and majors in a reduction in force initiative, Air Force spokesperson Mike Dickerson told Federal News Radio. Air Force officials on the Calendar Year 2011 Reduction-in-Force Board considered more than 8,800 officers.

"The objective of the board was to retain the best-qualified officers according to the 'whole-person' concept used in promotion boards," the Air Force stated in a release.

By law, the Air Force must limit officer and enlisted employment to 332,800 people, and officers not selected for retention must separate by March 1, 2012.

Plans to reduce the number of enlisted airmen

Leaders also announced a renewed effort to reduce the number of enlisted personnel by allowing selected airmen to leave the service earlier than planned.

The initiative, known as a date of separation (DOS) rollback, targets airmen in the grades of senior master sergeant and below, according to an Air Force news release. In order to be eligible, selected service members must have fewer than 14 years or more than 20 years of service. And they must leave by March 31 or retire by April 1, 2012.

Service members leaving the Air Force under either the DOS rollback or the reduction in force will receive transition assistance benefits, including 180 days of post-separation medical care. The officers, enlisted personnel and immediate family members will also receive two years of base commissary and exchange privileges, the Air Force said.

Both initiatives are the latest in a series of steps Air Force leaders have taken to slim the payroll. In September, the service announced buyouts for up to 6,005 civilian employees. In August, leaders announced a 90-day hiring freeze for civilian positions.

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