Tech. Sgt. LaMarcus Molden recites the oath of enlistment with 125 other service members during an October 2011 re-enlistment ceremony at Al Asad Air Base, Iraq. The Air Force says airmen can re-enlist during the MilPDS upgrade in December, but may experience delays in processing if their date of separation expires during the upgrade. (Master Sgt. Cecilio Ricardo / Air Force)
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The Air Force Personnel Center is preparing to temporarily shut down the military personnel data system in December and if you aren't preparing, your pay could be affected.
Since September, AFPC has been cautioning airmen to make decisions on separation, retirement and re-enlistment before MilPDS goes down Dec. 3, a date subject to change, officials say. The system is the repository for personnel data and any number of actions that take place throughout an active-duty airman's career.
It could be 23 days before the new system, to be managed by the Defense Information Systems Agency, is in place. The processing of paperwork and changes to your pay may be delayed if that information is not turned in before the shutdown.
Here's what airmen should know about the MilPDS shutdown:
• Expect delays. Planning to buy something nice for Christmas with your promotion bonus? Be sure the money is in the bank. Airmen promoted during December and even in January will not receive their updated pay until after data migrates to the new system. Pay actions that occur during the migration will be retroactive to the actual effective date.
• You can still re-enlist. Yes, even if your separation date expires during the shutdown. But like airmen promoted during the shutdown, you'll have to wait until the data moves to the new system to receive your new pay.
• No volunteers. Airmen cannot volunteer for an assignment during the upgrade. Enlisted airmen hoping for an overseas assignment should make their preferences known by Nov. 1
• Deadlines. AFPC put out a short list of deadlines that airmen should be mindful of in the coming weeks.
Nov. 1: Complete base-of-preference application.
Nov. 2: Complete in-place base-of-preference application.
Nov. 15: Apply for voluntary retraining; schedule Defense Language Proficiency Test for foreign language proficiency bonus.
Nov. 16: Update Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance; re-enlist or extend current enlistment; or take advantage of a two-month extension to put in for retirement through Feb. 1, 2014.
• Defining "critical." What you and AFSC might think is critical during the shutdown could take different paths.
AFSC regards transactions affecting the start or stop of basic military pay and entitlements such as basic pay, Basic Allowance for Housing and quarters, mobilizations, activations, casualties and immediate separations as critical, and has a plan in place to process these. Other items — including promotions, special duty assignment pay, medical special pay and foreign language pay — will be deemed noncritical and handled before or after the system is taken down.
Airmen are encouraged to have a personal copy of their record review report on hand just in case a critical transaction needs to be processed.