The Air Force Reserve Command is requiring some reservists to stay on six more months following their voluntary separation request under a program to help it stem manpower losses.
AFRC spokesman Lt. Col. Chad Gibson said in an email that the fiscal 2018 Loss Management procedure will apply to all reservists who are voluntarily reassigned to the Inactive Ready Reserve, who volunteer to separate or be discharged, or retire before the fiscal year ends Sept. 30.
The move is not a stop-loss, Gibson said, and AFRC has enacted a version of this Loss Management program every year since 2008.
“This is not a stop-loss, but merely an extension of service for six months while we transition to onboarding citizen airmen and, most importantly, [ensure] the success of the mission supporting the nation’s defense,” Gibson said. “In addition, the Air Force Reserve offers many career incentives for citizen airmen, including Deserving Airman Commissioning, special assignments, dedicated access to Career Assistance Advisors and more to encourage retention or assist in transition.”
The unofficial Air Force amn/nco/snco Facebook page first posted a memo on Saturday from AFRC Commander Lt. Gen. MaryAnne Miller authorizing the six-month extension. The memo said it applies to retirements approved between April 1 and Sept. 30.
“Past experience, current recruiting challenges, and a review of our progress in reaching end strength goals indicate we must retain as many personnel as possible through the end of the fiscal year,” Miller wrote in the memo, which Gibson confirmed was genuine. “Therefore, the 6-month requirement for voluntary assignment request ... will be enforced.”
Gibson said the improving job market means people have more opportunities to choose from besides joining or remaining in the Air Force Reserve. AFRC is offering recruitment, retention and relocation benefits to attract new reservists or hold on to existing reservists, Gibson said.
AFRC has met or exceeded its recruiting goals for 17 years in a row, he said.
“The Air Force Reserve is committed to retaining experienced citizen airmen with skills in critical demand, such as pilots, maintenance technicians, space operators, cyber specialists and more,” Gibson said.
Miller’s memo said Loss Management doesn’t apply to reassignments, discharges and retirements that were approved before April 1; separations, discharges or retirements based on reservists’ expiration term of service, high year of tenure date, mandatory separation date or when they turn 60; conditional release to transfer to the Air National Guard; initial active duty training discharge from basic military training or technical school; disability discharge or retirement; involuntary reassignment to the Inactive Ready Reserve; involuntary separations or discharges; Air Reserve Technician retirement in lieu of involuntary administrative discharge for cause or physical disqualification; or general officers or colonels.
It also doesn’t apply to transfers to any active duty component; any active, Guard or Reserve or extended active duty tour; within or between the unit or Individual Mobilization Augmentee program; or to the IRR based on elapsed Expiration Term of Service with a remaining Military Service Obligation.
Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.