In an effort to beef up its expertise with foreign nations, the Air Force is now allowing some National Guard and Air Force Reserve international affairs officers to temporarily move to active duty under the Voluntary Limited Period of Active Duty program.

Regional affairs strategists, who have the 16F Air Force specialty code, and 16P political-military affairs strategists in the Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard now have the opportunity to fill vacant active-duty jobs for three years and one day, if approved for release from their Guard or Reserve components, the Air Force Personnel Center said Friday.

AFPC said those officers provide language skills and knowledge of foreign areas that are necessary to sustain coalitions, keep regions stable, and participate in operations involving multiple nations.

This follows a broader expansion in April, when 51 new officer AFSCs were added to six officer career fields already in the VLPAD program. With the latest additions, there are now 59 officer AFSCs in the program, as well as more than 60 enlisted AFSCs.

AFPC said that participating airmen receive active-duty benefits, but will remain on the Reserve Active Status List. When they come up for promotion, they meet the same promotion boards as other reservists.

Last March, former Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said the Air Force would use an "all of the above" strategy — including VLPAD — to rebuild its ranks after years of manning cuts.

AFPC said that interested airmen should go to the myPers website for more information. They should click the "assignment" link on the left side from any Reserve or Guard officer or enlisted page, and then select "Officer/Enlisted Voluntary Limited Period of Active Duty Program" for the full list, eligibility criteria, and application procedures.

Stephen Losey covers Air Force leadership and personnel issues as the senior reporter for Air Force Times.

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