More pilots, maintainers, nurses, combat systems officers, battlefield airmen and other officers from the Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve are now able to temporarily move to active duty, the Air Force said Tuesday.
The Air Force is adding 51 new officer Air Force specialty codes to the list of eligible jobs in a major expansion of the Voluntary Limited Period of Active Duty program. The program is designed to help the Air Force fill vacancies in critical jobs. There were previously six officer AFSCs eligible for the program, and there are now 57.
Under this program — which was launched at the beginning of fiscal 2016 — reservists and Guard officers and enlisted airmen move to active duty for three years and one day. During their tour, selected airmen receive active duty benefits but remain on the Reserve Active Status List, and when they come up for promotion, they meet the same promotion boards as other reservists.
The program previously only allowed officers in the 11F fighter pilot, 13D combat rescue officer, 14N intelligence, 17D network operations, 18A attack remotely piloted aircraft pilots, and 52R chaplain career fields to move to active duty.
But the newly-added officer AFSCs include 11B bomber, 11E experimental test, 11H rescue, 11K trainer, 11M mobility, 11R reconnaissance surveillance and electronic warfare, 11S special operations and 11U RPA pilots, as well as 11G generalist pilots. The list also includes bomber, fighter, rescue, electronic warfare and special ops combat systems officers, as well as other 18X RPA pilots.
Non-rated officer jobs now eligible for the program include 15W weather, 21A aircraft maintenance, 35P public affairs, and Biomedical Science Corps and Nurse Corps officers.
The Air Force has also added two battlefield airmen officer AFSCs — 13C special tactics and 13L air liaison officers — to the eligibility list.
Enlisted airmen in 60 career fields — including maintenance, aircrew operations, command control systems operations, personnel, aerospace medical services and medical lab technicians — can also move from the Guard or Reserve to active duty under this program. Those 60 enlisted jobs were previously announced, and no enlisted career fields were added this time.
The Air Force is trying to use an "all of the above" strategy, as former Secretary Deborah Lee James put it in a news conference last March, to rebuild its ranks after years of manning cuts that brought active duty end strength to its lowest level in nearly seven decades. After that conference, the Air Force said the VLPAD program would be one of the tools the service would use in that effort.
In September 2016, the Air Force said Guard and Reserve officers taking part in the program would be able to fill vacancies for the Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps, ROTC detachment commanders, Officer Training School and Air Command and Staff College instructors, Mission Support Group deputy commanders, Air University faculty, 17D cyber officers, combat rescue officers, MQ-1 Predator and MQ-9 Reaper pilots, and some 11X pilot slots.
The Air Force said that interested guard and reserve airmen should go to myPers, and click "Officer/Enlisted Voluntary Limited Period of Active Duty Program" from any Air Reserve component landing page to find the complete list of AFSCs, eligibility criteria and application procedures.
Stephen Losey covers Air Force leadership and personnel issues as the senior reporter for Air Force Times.