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Force management explained

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- A group of mostly captains sat in on a recent briefing at the Peterson Air Force Base Club to find out more about the 2011 Force Management Program.

In February, Air Force leaders announced another round of involuntary force management programs to reduce personnel, and this time it mostly affects officers.

For some officers at the Peterson briefing, it was not the first time they uncomfortably sat in such a briefing. Some of the captains have faced this proposal before.

And, even though the numbers are in their favor - 300 out of 9,000 officers will be let go, or five percent - it's still nerve racking.

"Even though it is the bottom five percent that is being cut, everyone is going to worry when their career is on the line and they are not in charge of it," said 1st Lt. Alyssa Tetrault, Military Personnel Section chief, who hosted a town hall meeting April 28 to ensure Airmen are up to speed on all the nuances of force management.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz said in February that the Air Force ended fiscal year 2010 with 2,300 officers over end strength - or the congressionally mandated ceiling - and had one of the highest retention levels in 16 years. Those two factors combined led to this round of the Force Management Program.

There are two programs in play - Force Shaping Board and Reduction in Force Board, which both aim to shape the size of the force but affect different groups.

For junior officers, the plan includes force-shaping boards beginning in May. The FSB will consider year groups with excess officers in the judge advocate general and affects officers in the 2006 to 2008 commissioned year groups.

Captains and majors will face the RIF. Captians line of the Air Force 2003 to 2005. Majors line of the Air Force 2000; line of the Air Force-J 2001 to 2003. Biomedical service corps 2000 to 2001.

Results are expected to be published in November and the mandatory date for separation for those not retained is Feb. 1, 2012.

Now is the time for officers to prepare letters to the board if they desire, Lieutenant Tetrault said. Those facing FSB must submit letters by May 8. Those facing RIF must submit letters by Sept. 18. Airmen can find out more about the letters in the Personnel Services Delivery Memorandum, No. 11-12, on the Air Force Personnel Center website.

"(The PSDM) tells them everything they need to know about letters to the board and where to send them, who to contact if they have questions," she said.

Since the February announcement of the 2011 Force Management Program there have been some changes to year groups and categories. Lieutenant Tetrault encourages Airmen to read the PSDM and "take an active role in your career."

She said it is important that RIF-eligible officers ensure their records are current, particularly with regard to duty history, appropriate professional military education and advanced academic degrees.

By August, officers should know where they stand, Lieutenant Tetrault said. Those traditional line officers eligible for force reduction will know if they have been rated as "definitely retain," "retain," or "do not retain."

RIF-eligible officers need to make plans just in case, said Sherri Kitchens, Transition Assistance Program manager. She said those officers should consider a pre-separation counseling brief offered at the Airman and Family Readiness Center.

"That is the first transition service that we offer, we welcome you at two years out of your date of separation - even if you are just thinking about separation, we would love to have you," Ms. Kitchens said. "It does not obligate you in any way and it does not affect personnel records."

· Get the details of the 2011 Force Management Program at the Air Force Personnel Center, www.afpc.af.mil/. Go to theFY11/12 Force Management Programs section. Type "15766" in the search by keyword box to go directly to FAQs.
· Call 1st Lt. Alyssa Tetrault, Military Personnel Section chief, at 556-0006 for more information.
· Attend a pre-separation counseling brief, 9-11 a.m. Tuesdays at the Airman and Family Readiness Center, Building 350. The congressionally mandated brief, which needs to be completed outside 90 days of separation, reviews benefits, entitlements and services. Call 556-6141 to register.

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