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Time in grade, service commitment waivers announced

Jun. 2, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
Biomedical Sciences Corps lieutenant colonels are among those who can apply for time-in-grade waivers.
Biomedical Sciences Corps lieutenant colonels are among those who can apply for time-in-grade waivers. (Guido Melo/ / Air Force)
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Certain lieutenant colonels have until Feb. 1 to apply for time-in-grade waivers, allowing them to retire with at a higher grade.

Other airmen have until the same date to apply for active-duty service commitment waivers, allowing them to separate or retiree early.

Both waivers and two other incentives announced last month are intended to help the Air Force reduce its ranks as part of the force management program.

The Air Force normally requires officers with the rank of lieutenant colonel and above to serve satisfactorily in their current grade for three years to be able to retire at that grade. But a personnel services delivery memo — updated May 15 and obtained by Air Force Times — said that under the time-in-grade waiver program, some lieutenant colonels will be able to retire with at least two years time in grade and still be a lieutenant colonel.

Lieutenant colonels receiving a time-in-grade waiver must retire no later than May 1, 2015, and have at least 20 years total active federal military service as of their requested retirement date. The memo said applications will be considered case by case, and decisions will be made partly on career field manning and other Air Force requirements.

Lieutenant colonels in the Line of the Air Force, LAF-Judge Advocate, Biomedical Sciences Corps, Dental Corps, Medical Corps, Medical Service Corps and Nurses Corps, except for certain career fields, will be eligible for time-in-grade waivers. Ineligible are lieutenant colonels who are orthopedic physicians assistants, transfusion medicine pathologists, orthopedic surgeons specializing in hands, privileged advanced practice nurses specializing in adult psychiatry and mental health, and flight nurses.

Also ineligible are lieutenant colonels who are Catholic chaplains, LAF officers currently attending law school as part of the Funded Legal Education Program or Excess Leave Program, and LAF officers who are fighter pilots, helicopter pilots, remotely operated aircraft pilots, fighter combat systems officers, rescue combat systems officers, other remotely operated aircraft-related officers, special tactics officers, combat rescue officers, air liaison officers, nuclear and missile operations officers, and attack remotely piloted aircraft pilots.

The memo, as well as a second May 15 memo focusing on enlisted airmen, said officers and enlisted airmen in certain career fields will be able to request retirement or separation before finishing their active- duty service commitments, such as those incurred by receiving training or special pays. Those airmen receiving a limited active- duty service commitment waiver would either have to retire by May 1, 2015, or separate by April 30, 2015.

The ADSC waivers will be available to some officers who are lieutenant colonels or below. The same officer career fields that are ineligible for time-in-grade waivers will also be ineligible for ADSC waivers.

As for enlisted airmen, chief master sergeants and chief-selects will be approved for ADSC waivers case by case as determined by the health of their career fields and Air Force requirements. Senior master sergeants and below who are in a career field listed as eligible for voluntary force management programs will be able to apply for ADSC waivers. Senior master sergeants and below who are eligible for a selective reenlistment bonus will not be eligible for an ADSC waiver.

There are some drawbacks if your waiver is approved:

■ Enlisted airmen who leave the Air Force under an ADSC waiver without completing their Post-9/11 GI Bill active- duty service commitment will forfeit the transferred benefit, and any benefits used by dependents may be treated as an overpayment and recouped by the Veterans Affairs Department.

■ Airmen whose service commitments are waived will have to repay the unearned portions of retention bonuses, special pays, tuition assistance and other monetary incentives.

Palace Chase

Also until Feb. 1, some officers who are lieutenant colonels or below, and some enlisted airmen who are senior master sergeants or below will be able to apply for the Palace Chase program and serve out the rest of their time in the Air Force Reserve.

According to the memos, officers accepting Palace Chase must separate from active duty between 90 and 180 days after the day they submitted the Palace Chase application, as long as it is no later than April 30, 2015. They will have to serve at least one year, but no more than six years in the reserves. The same career fields that are ineligible for time-in-grade waivers are also ineligible for Palace Chase.

Other ineligible for Palace Chase include officers who have not completed initial skills training, have been twice passed over or otherwise deferred for promotion, or are facing an investigation, civil charges, pending disciplinary action, pending involuntary discharge, or pending action under the disability evaluation system.

10-8 commission waivers

Some officers who were formerly enlisted airmen will be able to retire early under the 10-8 commission waiver program. Under that program, officers with 20 years total service and eight years of active-duty commission time will be able to retire, instead of needing 10 years of commission time. As with the other programs, officers ranked lieutenant colonels and below will be able to apply through Feb. 1, and must retire no later than May 1, 2015. The same career fields as the other programs will be ineligible for 10-8 commission waivers.

Permissive TDY

In a June 2 release, the Air Force Personnel Center said airmen who separate under voluntary and involuntary force management programs may be eligible for permissive temporary duty to help them plan for their post-Air Force lives. Permissive TDY allows airmen to take time off from their normal duties, without using leave, while still receiving full pay and allowances. However, they do not receive the additional per diem that comes with regular TDYs.

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