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Fri, Nov 04, 2011

Layoffs Hit Air Force Commissioned Officers, Civilians

Layers Of 'Middle Management' Cut In Adjustments To Staffing Levels

Some 436 captains and majors in the United States Air Force are finding that joining the military was not necessarily a guarantee against losing their jobs. The Air Force plans to lay off that number of mid-grade officers as part of a staffing level adjustment due the services' highest retention rate in 16 years. The retention level is attributed at least in part to the sluggish economy and lack of civilian jobs.

Fox News reports that the Air Force must limit its workforce to 332,800 officers and enlisted airmen by the end of this fiscal year ... Sept. 30, 2012. The layoffs were made after the Reduction-in-Force Board reviewed the service records of 8,832 officers. Of those being separated, 367 are captains and 69 are majors. All will receive full separation pay and six months of medical benefits. They will be mustered out in March, 2012.

The move was one of several announced by the Air Force Wednesday. In response to direction from the Secretary of Defense for the Department of Defense to stop civilian growth above fiscal year 2010 levels, and the need to add 5900 positions against the Air Force's top priorities, the Air Force said it would be eliminating approximately 9000 civilian positions. The service said in a news release that the adjustments reflect several initiatives designed to align limited resources based on Air Forces priorities. This process is an ongoing effort to increase efficiencies, reduce overhead and eliminate redundancy.

"We can't be successful without our talented and experienced civilian workforce," said Secretary of the Air Force Michael B. Donley (pictured). "We are making difficult choices about how to deliberately restructure and posture the force and will continue to look for new ways of accomplishing the mission. We can't afford business as usual."
Upon receiving the Secretary of Defense's 2010 memo directing that civilian manpower costs stay within fiscal year 2010 levels, the Air Force began a comprehensive strategic review of the entire Air Force civilian workforce to determine whether or not civilian authorizations were in the right places to meet mission priorities.

The strategic review revealed several imbalances. Some high priority areas needed to grow, while some management and overhead functions needed streamlining. These imbalances led to a variety of initiatives focused on realigning scarce manpower resources with the most critical missions. In particular, the Air Force will grow by approximately 5900 positions in acquisition, the nuclear enterprise, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and other key areas while reducing approximately 9000 positions in management, staff, and support areas.

Materiel Command Map

One of the key restructures announced as a result of management overhead streamlining is to Air Force Materiel Command. "The restructure of Air Force Materiel Command - our largest employer of civilians - will focus on standardizing processes, streamlining decision-making and aligning missions to allow the command to operate more effectively and efficiently," Schwartz said.
According to Schwartz, the AFMC restructure will allow AFMC to eliminate approximately 1,000 overhead positions. The command will preserve workforce and mission capabilities by consolidating management functions around AFMC's core missions. After this restructure, AFMC will move away from its traditional, management-staff model consisting of a center and headquarters staff on each AFMC base and create a "lead" center for each of its five mission areas.

The Life Cycle Management Center will be headquartered at Wright Patterson AFB, OH, the Sustainment Center will be located at Tinker AFB, OK, and the Air Force Test Center will be based at Edwards AFB, CA. The Air Force Research Laboratory will remain at Wright Patterson AFB, OH and the Air Force Nuclear Weapons Center will remain at Kirtland AFB, NM.

The AFMC restructure will be implemented by Oct. 1, 2012.

AFMC will not be the only major command affected. Air Force-wide, local leaders will be sharing the results of the civilian manpower adjustments with their workforces over the next several days. "Civilian manpower adjustments will occur at all levels of the Air Force," said Brig. Gen. Gina Grosso, Manpower, Organization, and Resources director. "We are focused on shaping the force within our fiscal constraints and are committed to maintaining our long history of excellence as we build the Air Force of the future. At this time, we are not sure whether a reduction in force will be necessary," she said.



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