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Fewer opportunities for career airmen to re-up

Jun. 26, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
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Chances are fading fast for first-term airmen to re-enlist into one of the 18 Air Force Specialty Codes on Career Job Reservation list, as the drawdown squeeze continues for career airmen and noncommissioned officers in overmanned career fields.

By mid-June, 428 quotas remained open for airmen in jobs such as security forces, materiel management and vehicle operations. All first-term airmen need a Career Job Reservation to re-enlist, but facing high retention and the need to cut airmen from its ranks, the Air Force has limited CJRs in the 18 career fields.

The CJR list is a good indicator of jobs that will face a bottleneck or forced outs as airmen move up through the ranks. This year, for example, all but three — dental assistant, radio frequency transmission systems and finance — are on the retraining list for NCOs, meaning the specialties are overmanned, and NCOs can either volunteer to retrain or be forced to retrain. If they decline, they can be forced to leave the Air Force.

The Air Force uses the NCO retraining and CJR list to make sure airmen are in the most needed jobs. In these times of budget austerity, it pays to retrain into undermanned specialties, Air Force leaders have said. In April, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody advised airmen to volunteer to retrain rather than waiting for a slot in an overmanned specialty to open up, warning the Air Force “is not a jobs program.”

The Air Force set the fiscal 2013 CJR quotas earlier this year based on anticipated need, but in early June reduced the number of quotas in 16 of the 18 AFSCs. At the same time, six other AFSCs came off the list, and airmen on the waiting list for those AFSCs will receive their CJR. The AFSCs no longer on the list: signals intelligence analyst-communication, logistics plans, maintenance management analysis, knowledge operations management, client systems and physical medicine. Only two of those — knowledge operations management and physical medicine — remain on the NCO retrain list.

The Air Force also has instituted two rounds of date of separation rollbacks this year. The first round expedited the planned exits of at least 1,700 airmen by May 31. The second round, which began in mid-June, will force at least 600 more airmen to leave by Sept. 30. About 1,700 airmen with negative marks on their record — including those who refused to retrain or declined permanent change-of-station orders — are on the list and being considered for the early out.

The CJR, NCO retraining and separation rollbacks all come as the Air Force works toward meeting a congressional mandate to trim 3,340 airmen from the active-duty force by Sept. 30. More cuts are expected in 2014, Air Force officials have said.

“When it comes down to us looking at the force size, we have to make a determination of who will not be able to continue to serve,” Cody said in a June 13 interview. “There’s an end state result and much of it is driven by law and budgetary constraints.”

Quotas have been cut in 16 of 18 Air Force Specialty Codes on Career Job Reservation list. The quotas as of April, the reduced quotas and the number available through Sept. 30:

AFSC Original FY13 June reduction What’s left
2P0X1 Precision meas. equip. lab* 39 39 16
2S0X1 Materiel management* 135 118 36
2T1X1 Vehicle operations* 99 78 16
2T3X2C Special vehicle maint* . 15 14 4
2T3X7 Vehicle mgt. & analysis* 24 20 4
3D1X3 Radio frequency transmission systems 135 106 24
3D1X5 Ground radar systems* 30 22 4
3D1X6 Airfield systems* 30 22 4
3E0X1 Electrical systems* 39 30 4
AFSC Original FY13 June reduction What’s left
3E0X2 Electrical power production* 60 48 12
3E1X1 Heating vent., A/C & refrig.* 75 58 12
3M0X1 Services* 120 104 32
3P0X1 Security forces* 1,074 858 212
4A1X1 Medical materiel* 24 24 8
4D0X1 Diet therapy* 15 14 4
4R0X1 Diagnostic imaging* 30 22 4
4Y0X1 Dental assistant 60 56 20
6F0X1 Financial mgmt & comp. 60 48 12
Total 428

*On NCO retrain list

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