The active duty Air Force intends to continue its force-shaping program (reduction in size) in Fiscal Year 2008. The Air Force intends to reach an active duty end-strength of 328,600 by September 30, 2008, which means a reduction in size of about 5,400 officer and enlisted members.
The FY 2008 program will focus primarily on commissioned officers.
"For the enlisted force, we will be able to use the tools we have in place to adjust and keep the force balanced," Colonel Chuck Armentrout, the chief of the military force management policy division, told the Air Force News Service. "As we go through the year we assess (the process), and if it doesn't look like the goal is going to materialize, we'll look at waiving service commitments for enlisted."
Air Force officials believe that most of the reductions in force can be obtained through normal attrition, however about 645 officers will be separated or retired through force-shaping measures. This is significantly fewer than the FY 2007 program.
To achieve the required end strength, Air Force officials will offer limited programs for voluntary separations and retirements, as well as a force-shaping board to achieve a limited number of involuntary separations.
As with the 2007 program, the 2008 force-shaping program will target officers by skill and year group. The Air Force will begin by offering voluntary separation to about 200 officers with between 12 and 15 years of service, who are serving in over manned career fields. The voluntary separation pay consists of three times the standard involuntary separation pay rate. Officers must agree to separation before June 30, 2008. Eligible officers will be able to submit applications for VSP from Sept. 5 of this year until the force-shaping goals are reached, or March 31, 2008; whichever occurs first.
Additionally, under the 2008 program, officers with a minimum of 20 years active service and at least 8 years of commissioned service may apply for retirement. Eligible colonels and lieutenant colonels may also apply for a waiver to retire with two years time in grade instead of three. Retirement dates must be no later than Sept. 1, 2008.
The Air Force also plans to hold a force-shaping board in March 2008. The board will select approximately 130 commissioned officers in the 2005 year group who are serving in over-manned career fields, for involuntary separation.
The expanded Palace Chase Program (allowing officers and enlisted to apply for transfer to the Reserves or National Guard, earlier than normal) is terminated, except for officers in the 2005 commissioned year group. Other officers and enlisted may apply for Palace Chase transfers to the Guard or Reserve, using the normal procedures outlined in Air Force Instruction 36-3205.
Other force-shaping programs such as "Blue to Green," for officers and enlisted, and the enlisted retraining program remain open.