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Questions and Answers regarding recent Air Force announcements

Air Force Questions and Answers

Q1: How many people will lose their jobs? Is that number based on requirements before or after accounting for VERA/VSIP-driven separations?
A1: At this time, about positions have been or will be eliminated from Robins, but that doesn't directly translate into people. There are several reasons for that - Some of the positions designated to be cut are currently empty or will be reallocated, the impacts of the VERA/VSIP process have not been determined, and civilian hiring controls are continuing.

The Air Force is continuing to pursue all available voluntary force management measures with the goal of avoiding involuntary measures. If involuntary measures are required, the Air Force will follow the regulatory requirements contained in Title 5, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 351. The Office of Personnel Management's Reduction in Force Resources Portal (http://www.opm.gov/reduction_in_force) contains a comprehensive list of resources.

Q2: When will the decision be made to conduct a RIF?
A2: The Air Force is pursuing all available voluntary force management measures with the goal of avoiding non-voluntary measures. Once the Air Force finalizes the first round of VERA/VSIP in early November, defines where we will take our remaining reduction of 4500 civilian positions, and concludes another round of VERA VSIP, we will have a better idea whether or not a RIF will be needed at any installation.

Q3: How and when will the civilian workforce be notified whether or not a RIF will be necessary?
A3: If the Air Force decides to conduct a RIF, affected civilian employees will be notified as soon as the decision is made.

Q4: What happens next with the Civilian Workforce Restructure?
A4: The Air Force will finalize the first round of voluntary measures in early November. Then, we must identify an additional 4500 civilian positions to get us to the FY12 President's Budget target. Finally, we will share the reductions with our civilian workforce and initiate another round of VERA/VSIP. Every voluntary reduction opportunity will be exhausted before we initiate any involuntary actions.

Q5: How are you going to determine where to take the 4500 civilian reductions?
A5: We are focusing on Air Force priorities to assess options and are taking an enterprise-wide approach to identify reductions. We will continue our comprehensive review of the entire civilian workforce to ensure we find efficiencies in a strategic fashion. Everything remains on the table for consideration.

Q6: What programs does the AF offer to take care of civilians who transition from the AF?
A6: VERA and VSIP are both voluntary separation programs; employees who take VERA (and most who take VSIP) retire from federal service. Interested employees may also be able to volunteer for RIF separation to become eligible for entitlements such as severance pay or continued health benefits coverage.

The Air Force Personnel Services website at https://gum-crm.csd.disa.mil has extensive information on voluntary separation initiatives (keyword search 18351), and the Civilian Retirements Homepage (keyword search 15708) has frequently asked questions and instructions on how to apply for retirement. The Office of Personnel Management also has a Retirement Information and Service webpage (http://www.opm.gov/retire/index.aspx). In addition, civilians are afforded opportunities to attend retirement seminars at several points in their careers.

For involuntary separations, the Department of Defense (DoD) Priority Placement Program (PPP) is used to assist in placing employees in other DoD positions. The Interagency Career Transition Assistance Program (ICTAP) provides selection priority to displaced federal employees in other Federal agencies. In addition, installations work closely with local and state employment agencies to assist employees who transition from the Air Force.

Eligible employees who are involuntarily separated through no fault of their own are given severance and are placed on the Reemployment Priority List (RPL). The RPL provides priority placement consideration for vacancies in the local commuting area.

Department of Labor offers employment and training assistance through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). In addition, installations partner with other local and state agencies to assist employees who transition from the Air Force.

Q7: Which job series will be affected by a RIF? How did the AF determine which job series to cut?
A7: Following guidance from the Secretary of Defense to keep civilian Full Time Equivalent levels at fiscal year 2010 levels, the Air Force focused on reductions in overhead and support areas while minimizing the impact to functions tied to operations and maintenance, acquisition excellence, and the nuclear enterprise. During its senior-level strategic review, the Air Force identified some civilian positions which need to be realigned to achieve its goals, but there is more work to do.

Q8: Are these the only civilian cuts the Air Force will make over the next five years?
A8: No. We still have work to do to get to our target. We still must define where we can reduce an additional 4,500 civilian positions. The Air Force plans to have those identified in early 2012. Additionally, future congressional actions may result in more civilian position reductions.

Q9: Will there be cuts to military positions?
A9: Some military positions will be realigned as well; however the FY12 PB does not reflect reductions in military end strength.

Q10: Why do some bases grow in positions while others shrink?
A10: The Air Force began a strategic review of the entire AF civilian workforce to evaluate the high priority mission areas and determine where positions needed to be realigned. As part of that review, the AF had to make tough decisions on which areas to resource in order to provide the nation the capabilities it requires. There are specific missions that must grow: ISR; nuclear enterprise; getting better buying power through improved acquisition and weapon system sustainment. The effect on individual installations depends to a large degree on which missions are at a particular location.

Q11: How will all of the changes affect the average civilian?
A11: Civilian employees will receive information on local impacts from their local leaders. There are many options for employees whose positions are eliminated. At this time, there has been no decision to conduct a RIF.

Q12: Will reductions be taken across all grade levels?
A12: Yes. These cuts are projected to take place at all grade levels of our civilian workforce.

Q13: As the Air Force continues to make cuts, what missions will the Air Force stop doing?
A13: The Air Force will continue to provide the following unique contributions to national security: domain control, precision attack, lift and ISR, all enabled by our command and control capabilities. The FY12 Budget Request protects readiness while reducing overhead costs, and applies savings to force structure and modernization. Despite the challenging fiscal environment, the Air Force will be prepared for whatever our nation requires of us, but at a lesser scale.

Q14: When will the second round of VERA/VSIP be conducted? Who will be eligible?
A14: After the Air Force identifies the remaining 4500 positions for reduction, a second round of VERA/VSIP will be conducted in early 2012.


HELPFUL RESOURCES:

VERA/VSIP/Retirement website
https://gum-crm.csd.disa.mil/app/answers/detail/a_id/18351
https://gum-crm.csd.disa.mil/app/categories/p/1%2C2/c/348

OPM Websites
http://www.opm.gov/reduction_in_force
http://www.opm.gov/retire/index.aspx


Air Force Material Command Questions and Answers

MISSION IMPROVEMENTS

Q1. How does all this cutting overhead actually improve your processes?
A1. By cutting layers of overhead, we create a clearer, more focused span of control and more efficient lines of communication for our center commanders. A single commander in each core mission area - R&D, T&E, life cycle management, sustainment and nuclear support - will now have greater focus on his/her function within the greater AFMC mission of providing support to the warfighter. Also, the new center commanders will have greater opportunity to ensure standardized processes across the AFMC enterprise.

Q2. How does this restructure improve AFMC's way of accomplishing its mission?
A2. AFMC is currently organized in a traditional, management-staff model, with a center and HQ staff on each AFMC base. By creating a "lead" center for each of our five mission areas (life cycle management , sustainment, test and evaluation, research and development and nuclear support) we streamline the way we accomplish the work of the command without impacting our ability to perform the mission. In addition, the restructure better integrates the workforce. The restructure will drive us to more standardized processes, foster a life cycle management focus, and improve our goal of presenting a single face to our customers.


MONEY AND MANPOWER

Q1. Is this really an effort to gain efficiencies or is AFMC just looking for ways to cut jobs?
A1. This is an opportunity to gain significant efficiencies and at the same time improve the way AFMC delivers support to the warfighter. By consolidating similar functions and cutting redundant overhead and some support functions, we can greatly improve the way we do business and use taxpayer dollars.

Q2. What about contractor jobs--will there be a loss of contractor positions across AFMC?
A2. Contractor numbers may decrease at some locations.

Q3. Why isn't AFMC eliminating any military positions, other than some general officer positions?
A3. Some military positions will be realigned as well; however, the FY12 PB does not reflect reductions in military end strength.

Q4. Will AFMC continue to "in-source" some workload?
A4. The majority of AFMC's current in-sourcing actions will continue as planned. Most are in the implementation stage and will be completed soon. In-sourcing remains a tool in our workforce management toolkit; however, at this time, we anticipate very few new actions.

Q5. Will all those new acquisition people AFMC hired under the Acquisition Improvement Plan be retained or let go?
A5. It is impossible at this point to say exactly which positions will be identified for elimination as the restructure progresses. However, the Office of Personnel Management and the Air Force have very rigid guidelines for reductions in the civilian workforce to include factoring in seniority, skill sets, etc.

Q6. Will AFMC conduct Reduction in Force actions to lay people off?
A6. There is no command-wide RIF planned, but specific locations may use reduction in force steps to reduce their civilian workforces.

Q7. How does a RIF work? Do the most junior people leave first?
A7. RIF does not begin with the issuance of notices, but rather after months of planning by top management officials, who have carefully considered the long-term mission requirements of the AF. Once positions are identified, the impacted employees are identified for placement based on their retention standing. The order of retention standing is based on Civil Service status (career/career-conditional), Veteran's preference, performance appraisals, and length of Federal Service (service computation date).

Q8. Will you offer incentives or severance pay to impacted employees?
A8. Yes. The Voluntary Early Retirement Program (VERA) and Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP) have been approved for some 6,000 civilians Air Force wide. Those approved would separate 31 Dec 2011. When VSIP is offered to employees, the amount of the payment is either $25,000 or the amount determined under severance pay rules, whichever is less.

Q9. When will all eliminated authorizations go off AFMC rolls?
A9. The DOD efficiencies are targeted for FY12, which began on 1 Oct 2011.

Q10. Have AFMC employees unions been notified and do they concur with the restructure?
A10. Yes, our unions have been notified. It would be inappropriate for us to comment as to whether a particular union endorses the restructure, but we value our unions as key partners in our efforts to better use taxpayers' money.

Q11. Will people move during this reorganization?
A11. Unnecessary overhead positions will be eliminated, but in most cases people will continue to do the work where they are physically located today.


COMMAND STRUCTURE

Q1: AFMC's center structure has been in place since the command was activated in 1992, why break it up now?
A1: The world and the role of our armed services are much different today than in 1992. As we said, our efficiency initiatives are a key component of the Air Force's long-term strategy to preclude reductions in needed military capability by reinvesting dollars and people from overhead, support, and lower priority areas into warfighter programs and readiness enhancements. Eliminating the overhead associated with multiple center offices provides necessary efficiency and streamlines efforts. It's a good business model that makes sense as we are faced with fewer budget dollars.

Q2: What happens to the seven centers that don't retain a "lead" status? Who will lead them?
A.2: Mission work will continue, but without large overhead command staffs. They will report to the five new centers.

Q3. Why were these five centers picked over the others as lead organizations? Were the others performing at a less efficient level?
A3. After extensive evaluation by command officials, the Air Force determined that these centers offer the best opportunities for us to appropriately manage our core mission areas. AFMC's selection of new centers was vetted through the Air Force strategic basing process before final decisions were made.

Q4. Will AFMC's Air Base Wings take on a greater or different role? If so, what?
A4. Under the present structure, base commanders report to their respective center commanders at each base. Now, the installation commander will be more closely aligned with the primary mission of each AFMC base. Test wing commanders at Eglin and Edwards will become the installation commanders for their respective bases and report to the commander of the AFTC. Air base wing or group commanders at the remaining bases will remain as the installation commanders reporting to either AFLCMC, AFSC or the AFNWC.

Q5. Will this create a gap for military chain of command?
A5. No. Military members will receive the proper oversight, leadership, and mentorship.

Q6. What about the Program Executive Officers at the bases losing center staffs, will they remain at the base? Who will they report to?
A6. Yes. The PEOs will continue to receive necessary support from the installations where they reside. Their reporting chain will not change; they continue to report directly to SAF/AQ .

Q7. Will the PEO structure change?
A7. There will be some changes to PEO roles and staffs. PEOs will also gain responsibility for all programs that had already transitioned to an Air Logistics Complex and become part of an Aerospace Sustainment Directorate.

Q8. What about HQ AFMC? What is the headquarters doing under the 5-center restructure to become more efficient?
Q8. The AFMC headquarters is not exempt from efficiencies. We are conducting a deep-dive analysis of the work and organizational structure of the headquarters. Where workload or manpower redundancies exist they will be eliminated. In other cases, authorizations may be shifted to a center as it takes on a more holistic management of its mission area. The budget requires us to make some tough choices, but in the end we will trim waste, eliminate redundancies, and find more creative ways to get the mission done--at headquarters and at our field organizations.

Q9. Didn't AFMC recently activate the new AF Global Logistics Support Center at Scott AFB? Is it not functioning as planned?
A9. At the time it was activated on 28 March 2008, it was the right step to take toward more efficient and effective supply chain management. Since then, tighter budgets have increased the need to become even more efficient and seek opportunities to do our job more effectively. We can always improve and this restructure offers us the opportunity to provide even better logistics support to the warfighter. The GLSC's mission will now be managed by the AFSC and some of its subordinate units.

Q10. How are AFRL's 10 directorates restructuring; how many are being combined?
A10. The Air Vehicles and Propulsion technical directorates have combined. Pieces of other directorates have been combined, such as the core technical competency integration program of the Information and Sensors directorates. Also, strategic planning and corporate communication functions of the Directed Energy and Munitions directorates have combined.

Q11. How will the missions at non-center bases continue to be supported if they don't have typical support staffs?
A11. Each of the five center HQs will oversee people at each non-center. Some functions will be provided by the local installation commander's wing staff (Public Affairs is a good example).



Robins AFB Questions and Answers

Q1. How long has this been going on?
A1. The AF and AFMC have both been conducting comprehensive, enterprise-wide reviews of their resources ... to strategically align people against their most critical priorities ... since the Spring of this year. It's part of the overall DoD effort to increase efficiencies, reduce overhead and eliminate redundant functions.

Q2. Why are we just now being told?
A2. The AF and AFMC reviews - and vetting of proposed solutions - were just recently completed.

Q3. What does this mean to me?
A3. Staff/overhead manpower across the Air Force is being reduced. Some services are being adjusted, consolidated or eliminated to meet changing demands, leverage community resources, and reduce unnecessary spending. Accordingly, a number of associated positions are being eliminated.
However, the reduction of these positions doesn't necessarily translate into a direct loss of people. In many instances, those in the positions will be transferred to positions which are currently empty or will be reallocated elsewhere on the base.

Q4. Is the Base going to close?
A4. No. However, Robins and its workforce will look and operate differently in certain respects.

Q5. Will people have to move geographically?
A5. No.

Q6. Will there be a Reduction In Force (RIF)?
A6. Once the Air Force finalizes the first round of VERA/VSIP in early November, it will define where it needs to further reduce civilian positions and conduct another round of VERA/VSIP. Once that is done, the Air Force will have a better idea whether or not a RIF will be needed.

The Air Force is pursuing all available voluntary force management measures with the goal of avoiding non-voluntary measures. The Air Force has implemented hiring controls, to include a hiring freeze, and VERA/VSIP to lessen the impact on the current workforce. If the Air Force decides to conduct a RIF, affected civilian employees will be notified as soon as the decision is made.

Q7. Will there be another round of VSIP/VERA?
A7. Yes. Once the Air Force finalizes the first round of VERA/VSIP in early November, and defines where it needs to further reduce civilian positions, there will be a second round of VERA/VSIP. The second round of VERA/VSIP is expected in early 2012. Employees interested in a VERA/VSIP are encouraged to accept an offer when given and not wait until a subsequent round. An employee extended an offer in Round 1 will not necessarily be extended an offer in a subsequent round because the offers may vary by occupation and grade.

Q8. Will any workloads shift due to this?
Q8. Workloads will not shift.

Q9. Will there be any changes in my chain of command?
A9. In some instances, yes.

Q10. Was any of this caused by the OSHA issues? Complaint rate ? Did we bring this on ourselves?
A10. No. The drivers behind the restructurings are DoD's and the AF's need to increase efficiencies, reduce overhead and eliminate redundant functions.

Q11. Why was OC-ALC chosen over Robins?
A11. AFMC conducted a comprehensive review of the entire enterprise, and it was determined that Tinker was the best location to centrally-locate and/or combine many activities to help reduce overhead costs.

Q12. What happens now to all our LEAN efforts?
A12. The LEAN efforts will not go away. In fact, they'll gain increased importance, as now more than ever we have to continue to look at ways to improve our processes. Our resiliency, coupled with better processes, will better position Robins for the future.

Q13. How do we continue to do more with less?
A13. The Air Force simply can't afford to do business the way it's been doing it; it is unsustainable in the current budget environment. Some services will be adjusted, consolidated or eliminated to meet changing demands, leverage community resources, and reduce unnecessary spending. The FY12 Budget Request protects readiness while reducing overhead costs, and applies savings to force structure and modernization. Despite the challenging fiscal environment, the Air Force will be prepared for whatever our Nation requires of us, but at a lesser scale.

Q14. Is the decision final?
A14. Yes.

Q15. Will there be additional manpower cuts?
A15. Yes. The Air Force still has work to do to get to its target for the current fiscal year; it plans to have those positions identified in early 2012. Additionally, future congressional actions may result in more civilian position reductions.

Q16. For those whose jobs are going away, what is the plan for job placement at Robins? When will I move? Will there be a transition period?
A16. Placements related to RMD 703 cuts are planned to take place no later than 31 Dec 2011. However, implementation plans are still being worked for the AFMC Reorganization. A timeline for those placements is still being finalized. Employees assigned to a position which will be cut will either be incentivized or placed in a position for which they are qualified.

Q17. What about future promotions and career opportunities?
A17. There will still be a core of Sustainment and Acquisition missions at Robins to be performed in support of the Air Force and DOD. While some supporting career fields may see opportunity degradation due to RMD 703 and the AFMC Reorganization, there will be continue to be enrichment and advancement opportunities at Robins, and within the AF, DOD and the Federal government.

Q18. GR - Will SPMs be moving? What about future mission assignments? What is my rating chain?
A18. ASD divisions will be aligned to LCMC and will report directly to the appropriate PEOs. SPMs will not change regardless of geographical location. For instance, the C5 SPM will remain at Robins, but will report to the Mobility PEO at ASC.

Q19. Community and local Defense Industry- Impact?
A19. The impact, if any, to the local community and industry should be minimal.
Q20. What happens to HVM/MRSP ?
A20. HVM, MSRP and other processes will continue to be important tenets of the base mission ... Robins will continue to provide World-Class Support to the warfighter.

Q21. How will this impact Robins?
A21. The base will look and operate differently in certain respects. However, its overall mission of providing World-Class Support to the warfighter will not change.

Q22. When will Program Offices begin reporting to PEO chain vice ASD?
A22. IOC is set for 1 Oct 12. Obviously, we have to work the details of the transition plan to ensure successful hand-offs are made, while ensuring transparency to our customers.

Q23. Who will perform the functions currently managed by the ALC Staff and ASD staff?
Will we still have Functional Managers for Engineers, Program Managers, Logisticians, Eq Specialists?
A23. Implementation plans are being developed by AFMC transition teams, which include representatives from Robins. Those plans will determine what functions are performed at a Lead Center vs. an OL at the Air Depot vs. the ABW at an Air Depot Location.

For ASD, some of the functions performed on the GR staff will map to LCMC, ABW, or to a functional OL. This may require the divisions to pick up some responsibilities in their day-to-day operations. We won't know the full extent until we map every function.

Q24. What will happen to Temporary, Term, and Over-hire positions? What about current open positions yet to be filled?
A24. Reductions in Temporary and Term positions was part of the initial Air Force hiring controls and completed by 30 Sept. Over-hire positions at Robins are also being reduced to accommodate reduced funding levels in FY12.

The Air Force will evaluate hiring controls after the first round of VERA/VSIP is examined, along with possible future cuts.

Q25. How much money will I receive through the incentive program?
A25. The VSIP program authorizes a financial incentive to eligible employees. Incentives will be the lesser of two figures: a) $25,000 or b) the amount equal to what the employee is entitled to under the severance pay formula.

Incentive amounts are determined by using the severance pay calculations as found in 5 U.S.C. sec 5595. Service and age are used in computing severance pay. For each year of civilian service through the first 10 years, one week of pay at the basic rate immediately prior to separation is allowed. From the 11th year on, each year of civilian service is worth two weeks basic compensation at the same rate. These amounts equal the total basic severance allowance. For each year over age 40, 10% of the above total is added. The total basic severance allowance plus any age factor increase becomes the severance pay fund. Only civilian service is creditable for severance pay.