Air Force Retention is at an all-time high. For the first time in twenty years, the Air Force has the highest number of airmen in active duty service. Some members who had planned to transition out of service in 2020 delayed their transition due to COVID-19 concerns. The Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services, Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly credits Congress with helping to keep manpower high stating in a press release that “Congress delivered immense help, increased our numbers and helped us make real readiness improvements after sequestration reductions.”
Different programs are being considered to bring numbers back to below the total end strength of 333,700. Voluntary opportunities are being reviewed by Headquarters Air Force to provide airmen the opportunity to waive active duty service commitments or to move to the Guard or Reserve from active duty through waivers. In addition, retention bonuses will no longer be utilized for all specialties to maintain the force needed to meet the requirements of the DOD and Air Force. “We have to bring in the right number of Airmen each year to sustain the force throughout the continuum of service, Lt. Gen Brian Kelly said further, “We have a plan to avoid future year-group gaps and we will announce volunteer options soon that we believe will balance end-strength appropriately.”
All movement from active to reserves or guard or out of service would be voluntary and no involuntary shape forcing programs would be utilized in Fiscal Year 2021. Airmen would be The FY 2021 Selective Retention Bonus Program for 37 eligible Air Force Specialties was released on December 10. The FY 2021 Selective Retention Bonus Program Listing is available on the retention page for the Air Force here and on myPers.