MINOT AIR FORCE BASE The Department of Defense is proposing to downsize the total force of all military branches including the Air Force.
However, prior to any plans to involuntary separate airmen, the Air Force is first offering opportunities for airmen to retire or separate early.
"Members are eligible in multiple categories in overage career fields as the Air Force resets its force structure in accordance with a new strategic posture and revised fiscal constraints," said Lt. Col. Jamison Braun, in a news release. Braun is commander of the 5th Force Support Squadron at the Minot base.
Airmen at Minot Air Force Base listen to Marine Corps Sgt. Bryan Battaglia Jan. 15, shown in this photo by Senior Airman Brittany Y. Auld. Battaglia is the senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He visited the Minot base to learn more about the airmen’s day-to-day contributions to the nuclear deterrence mission. The Department of Defense is proposing to downsize the total force of all military branches but first the Air Force will offer airmen who are in some categories the chance to retire or separate early.
Braun said benefits for separating or retiring early include monetary incentives, forgiveness of service commitments and debts, and control of a member's career along his or her timelines.
Voluntary separation pay applies to airmen on the active-duty list with more than six years, but no more than 15 years of total active federal military service, and will be offered to enlisted retention board eligible airmen as a voluntary incentive prior to the retention boards.
The Air Force is looking at each career field by skill level and grade to ensure the most optimal future posture, said Braun.
Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia, senior enlisted adviser to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who visited Minot AFB in January, said, "It's irrelevant to any of us, especially your leaders, whether you serve four years or four decades. You served your country, and nobody can ever take that away from you."
"On an average basis, even without downsizing we have anywhere from 200,000 to 250,000 servicemembers across the force who transition every year. That's just normal attrition," Battaglia said.
Battaglia met with airmen from the 5th Bomb Wing and 91st Missile Wing during his visit to the base.
More than 70 career fields show excess in personnel compared to future requirements. The retention board process will review each individual to ensure the best remain.
"Those airmen who continue to demonstrate the Air Force's core values and who perform in exemplary ways should feel confident in the Air Force's commitment to them and their families for continued service," Braun said.
Although nearly every career field within the Air Force along with every location will be impacted by the force management process, Minot AFB will continue to ensure safety, security and effective execution toward the nuclear enterprise, Braun said.
Whether they voluntarily separate or are asked to separate, Air Force officials said that military branch is committed to doing everything it can to help airmen and their family in transitioning.