Building upon actions taken in September, the Air Force is expanding its set of voluntary separation measures for officers in Fiscal 2012 as part of its ongoing force-management initiatives. Among the newly announced measures, the limited active duty service commitment waiver program allows lieutenant colonels and below in selected specialties to request retirement or separation prior to completing specified active duty service commitments or service obligations. The time-in-grade waiver program allows lieutenant colonels in certain competitive categories or specialties to request retirement in their current grade if they have two years time in grade and 20 years total active duty service as of the requested retirement date. The Palace Chase program will allow lieutenant colonels and below in select specialties to transfer from the active duty ranks to the Air National Guard or Air Force Reserve. Last month, the service released the list of measures for enlisted personnel seeking voluntary separation and retirement in Fiscal 2012. The Air Force is undertaking all of these actions in order to draw down to its Congressionally authorized end-strength level of 332,800 active duty airmen by the end of the fiscal year. (Randolph report by Eric M. Grill)
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.