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Army letting soldiers go early, Air Force cutting airmen

Phasing out old Stop Loss program means involuntarily separating soldiers not planning to extend

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(Army News Service & AFNS) — Soldiers who don't agree to extend their enlistments in units slated to deploy on or after Jan. 1 may be involuntarily separated up to three months early.  While on the Air Force side,  officials here announced Nov. 16 measures to meet the fiscal 2010 end strength of 331,700, requiring personnel management actions to reduce the force by approximately 3,700 officers and enlisted members through voluntary and involuntary early separation and retirement programs.

The Army’s new Enlisted Involuntary Separation Program will affect active-duty soldiers who don't re-enlist or extend their enlistments to serve at least four months on a contingency deployment and two more months at home station.

Soldiers who participate in the Deployment Extension Incentive Program will receive an extra $350 or $500 for every month extended. (Those who extend between nine month and six months before deploying will receive the full $500 per month.)  Those who don't extend will be out-processed three months prior to their contractual separation date, according to Maj. Jennifer Walkawicz, personnel policy integrator, G1.

The involuntary separation program applies only to regular Army enlisted soldiers who have a contractual ETS during the first six months of their unit's scheduled deployment, Walkawicz explained. She said it also only applies to soldiers with more than 36 months of service and less than 71 months of total service.

She estimated the policy will result in 1,350 to 1,450 soldiers being separated early with an annual cost savings of about $8.5 million.

A weakened economy has lead to an increased retention rate for the Air Force.

Plans for an enlisted date of separation rollback combined with a reduction in Air Force specialty quotas for Airmen who fail to complete initial technical training are expected to achieve the enlisted goal. Enlisted members affected for the date of separation rollback impacts those with fewer than 14 or more than 20 years of service as of April 30, 2010. The criteria for the DOS rollback will be based on certain re-enlistment eligibility codes and/or assignment availability codes. DOS dates can be no later than April 30, 2010, and retirement dates no later than May 1, 2010.

A number of personnel measures will be taken to reduce the number of officers needed; however, officials anticipate those actions to continue into fiscal 2011. A reduction in time-in-grade requirement for colonels and lieutenant colonels will be offered to eligible officers who retire on or before Sept. 1, 2010. The limited active duty service commitment for officers in overage Air Force specialties and year groups will be waived so that they may separate or retire on or before Sept. 1, 2010.

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