The Air Force is planning to launch a pilot program that will enable women to take time off from their military careers to start a family and then re-enter the service without missing a step, announced Lt. Gen. Samuel Cox Thursday at an AFA-sponsored, Air Force breakfast event in Arlington, Va. “Why don’t we have a program that allows them, in some cases, to separate from the Air Force for a short period of time, get the family started, then come back,” said Cox. The pilot program is based off a similar initiative in the Navy, dubbed the “career intermission pilot program,” which “provides a one-time, temporary transition from Active Duty to the Individual Ready Reserve for officer and enlisted airmen to meet personal or professional needs outside the service while providing a mechanism for seamless return to Active Duty,” USAF spokesman Maj. Matt Hasson told Air Force Magazine. Once the program opens up, both men and women will be able to submit applications through a board review process, added Hasson. The program is still in the “infancy stages,” and the details are “still being discussed and worked through,” he added. No timeline has been set for implementation because a review board has not been named.
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.