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Sizing down: More than 100 officers at Robins eligible for RIF Board in June

ROBINS AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Some Air Force officers may have to end their military careers as the Air Force continues to shape the force to meet future needs.

About 120 officers at Robins with more than six to exactly 12 years of commissioned service are eligible to face a reduction in force board this summer. The group covers about 14 different Air Force Specialty Codes here and a variety of others throughout the Air Force.

Maj. Devin Statham, commander of the 78th Mission Support Squadron, said the RIF Board became necessary as the number of officers separating from the service branch failed to meet the service's reduction goals.

"The latest force shaping initiatives that have been released is an extension of the Voluntary Separation Pay program through March 2007 and the introduction of a RIF board scheduled for this summer affecting about 120 Robins personnel," he said.

Major Statham said the Air Force is trying to balance the force evenly by year groups and AFSCs, giving people a voluntary opportunity to separate before the RIF board meets in June.

"Meeting end strength and having a balanced and properly shaped force is a constant challenge because of the dynamics of a mobile force. Moving people in and out of the United States Air Force is something we always struggle with," he said.

The major said while force shaping still includes lieutenant ranks and enlisted programs, the VSP and RIF boards are for officers only.

The Air Force began offering voluntary separation pay to officers with more than six to exactly 12 years of commissioned service in July 2006. To date, the service has approved about 1,800 VSP applications, or about 57 percent of their Fiscal 2007 goal.
The major said the board will typically affect captains and majors in the year groups of 1995-98, 2000 and 2001. It excludes the 1999 officer year group, as this group will be meeting a promotion board in the coming year and are excluded from the RIF board by federal law.

In order to be eligible for the RIF board or VSP, officers need to be an overage in their AFSC. Officers can find out if they're an overage in their respective AFSCs by visiting AFPC Web site and clicking on the "Officer Matrix" link.

Major Statham said the site will show every AFSC and year group and show exactly where someone stands on overage status in his or her year and AFSC. Officers who are vulnerable for the RIF board can expect to receive a notice to that fact by late February, the major said.

Capt. Kay Beigh, chief of Military Equal Opportunity at Robins who is eligible for the upcoming RIF board, said she is prepared for meeting the board.

"I see it as something that's necessary," she said. "If Air Staff has determined this is what needs to be done, then this is what needs to be done. This is one of those 'comes with the job' things."

Captain Beigh said she tries to do the best she can in her job every day and hope her efforts are good enough. "I'm just going to let my record speak for itself," she said.
Saundra Gray, senior separations counselor at the MPF, said with the RIF Board approaching in a few months, her office has been covered up with VSP applications.

"Robins has had an influx of people applying to the Voluntary Separation Pay programs right now because they're looking at possibly being involved in the RIF," she said.
With the VSP paying a separation pay twice the rate of that under the RIF, Mrs. Gray said her office is quite busy.

The Air Force has extended its VSP application deadline from Jan. 31 to March 31.