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Board targets colonels for early retirement

Jan. 23, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
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Colonels who are pilots, combat systems officers, special tactics officers, intelligence officers, among other career fields, could be retired under a broadened selective early retirement board the Air Force will convene between June 16 and July 4.

According to a Jan. 16 memo provided by the Pentagon, the enhanced SERB, or E-SERB, will also consider colonels in the Biomedical Sciences Corps and Medical Service Corps.

The E-SERB will only consider colonels in selected Air Force specialty codes who have at least two years time in grade as of June 16 and who have not met a SERB in the last five years. Colonels who have been recommended for promotion, who are approved for voluntary retirement or who are already slated to be involuntarily retired by the end of fiscal 2015 will be exempt from the board.

The regular SERB, which met last month, applies to colonels with at least four years time-in-grade.

Colonels who meet the E-SERB and are not retained must retire on Dec. 1. The total number of colonels recommended for retirement cannot be more than 30 percent of the eligible population within each grade and in each competitive category.

The E-SERB is one of 18 voluntary and involuntary force management programs the Air Force is rolling out this year to help it reduce the ranks and deal with across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester. The E-SERB is a new authority, granted in the fiscal 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, that will consider even more officers than under the regular SERB process.

A window for eligible colonels to request voluntary retirement opened Jan. 17 and will close Feb. 25. Colonels who are accepted for voluntary retirement must leave no later than Jan. 1.

However, voluntarily retiring could carry a risk for colonels who have less than three years time-in-grade by the time they retire. Those colonels will retire as lieutenant colonels unless they get a time-in-grade waiver allowing them to retire as colonels. But those waivers are limited to 2 percent of colonel end strength per fiscal year, meaning the Air Force could run out of waivers.

Colonels who meet the board and are not retained will be considered involuntarily retired, and will retire as colonels, no matter how little time-in-grade they have.

A colonel who chooses to voluntarily retire instead of meeting the E-SERB may forfeit and have to repay any Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits he has transferred to a family member, unless he has already fulfilled his service obligation for the GI Bill. Officers who are selected for retirement by the E-SERB will not have to repay those funds.

The full list of career fields that the E-SERB will consider:

■ All 11X (pilots)

■ All 12X (airlift navigators, combat systems operators, combat systems officers, remotely operated aircraft pilots)

■ 13B (air battle managers)

■ 13C (special tactics officers)

■ 13M (airfield operations)

■ 13N (nuclear missile operations)

■ 13S (space operations)

■ 14N (intelligence)

■ 15W (weather)

■ 17D (cyberspace operations)

■ 21M (munitions and missile maintenance)

■ 21R (logistics readiness)

■ 31P (security forces)

■ 32E (civil engineer)

■ 38P (personnel)

■ 71S (special investigations)

■ All Biomedical Sciences Corps AFSCs

■ All Medical Service Corps AFSCs

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