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NEWS | Dec. 27, 2013

Enlisted Retention Boards Q&A

By Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Read below the frequently asked questions about the Enlisted Retention Boards.

Q. How long will members have to prepare to meet a retention board?

A. Enlisted members will be given 6 months advanced notice of when retention boards will meet. Specific board details with milestones for each board will be released by AFPC.

Q. Will members be able to submit a letter or memo to the retention board?

A. Specific board details will be announced in advance of each retention board.

Q. Will commanders be able to make a recommendation?

A. Yes, similar to officer retention boards, commanders will be required to make a retention recommendation.

Q. Will there be an appeal process for members selected for retirement/separation?

A. Airmen always have the right to appeal any records related issues, and routinely do so via the Air Force Board of Military Records Correction. Guidance on the process is available on myPers at

Q. Will this be an ongoing process, like promotion boards?

A. Yes, under the new personnel management strategy, enlisted retention boards are an enduring performance-based management tool designed to retain a high performing leaner force.

Q. When is the Retention Board scheduled to convene?

A. The board is scheduled to convene 16 Jun 14 through 25 Jul 14 for SrA thru TSgt and 16 Jun thru 4 Jul 14 for SNCOs.

Q. Will Airmen have any alternative to meeting the Retention Board?

A. If an Airman is eligible to retire (20 or more years Total Active Federal Military Service (TAFMS) as of 30 Nov 14, the Airman may apply for retirement in lieu of meeting the board; however, the Airman must request a retirement date of no later than 1 Feb 15. Airmen with 15, but less than 18 years of TAFMS as of 31 Jul 14, may apply for retirement under the Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA) in lieu of meeting the board, but must request a retirement date of 1 Aug 14. Airmen with 6 or more years of service TAFMS as of 29 Sep 14 will be eligible for Voluntary Separation Pay (VSP) and separation NLT 29 Sep 14 in lieu of meeting the Retention Board. Those who attain 6 years TAFMS after 29 Sep 14 but not later than 31 Jan 15 will be eligible for VSP and separation on the date they reach 6 years TAFMS. Airmen with less than 6 years of TAFMS may also request to separate in lieu of meeting the Retention Board; however, they don't qualify for separation pay due to time in service.

Q. Why is the Air Force conducting Retention Boards for enlisted members?

A. The Air Force had to make a difficult but necessary decision to reduce the force. The Air Force has felt the effects of high retention rates over the past 18 years which can be contributed to our current economic standing. Many additional factors such as job security and improved compensation have made the Air Force a very attractive career choice. However, due to widespread force structure cuts the Air Force must take measures to reduce and shape our force while making deliberate decisions to posture our force for the future.

Q. Are there any Air Force Specialties exempt from this Retention Board?

A. The board will target Airmen in overage specialties using a performance based strategy to optimize the quality we retain in our Air Force.

Q. How will I know if my AFSC is being considered for retention?

A. AFPC will publish a matrix on the Force Management page of the myPers website at the link below. This matrix will identify the overage AFSCs and grades being considered for retention under this program.

Q. If my AFSC meets its intended numbers of losses, will my AFSC meet the Retention Board?

A. No. Be sure to continuously monitor AFPCs website to see what AFSCs will meet the Enlisted Retention Board. At any time, an AFSC can be removed from consideration.

Q. What volunteer programs are available that will help my AFSC meet its intended number of losses?

A. Voluntary programs include retirement under the Temporary Early Retirement Authority (TERA), Voluntary Separation Pay (VSP), and voluntary retirement or separation in lieu of meeting the retention boards. All volunteer programs implemented to reduce our end strength can be found on the Force Management page of the myPers website, found at the link below:

Q. How many Airmen are the Air Force trying to separate by this board?

A. Historical retention rates and force structure cuts has resulted in a vast majority of enlisted specialties being over manned which has forced the Air Force to take measures to reduce the enlisted force by approximately 25K Airmen.

Q. How will Airmen know if they are being considered by the board?

A. Commanders will receive a list of their eligible Airman and eligible Airman will receive notification by AFPC via a personal e-mail through the virtual MPF.

Q. Will Commanders have the authority to retain an Airman who meets the eligibility criteria instead of meeting the retention board?

A. No; however, commanders will have an opportunity to complete a Retention Recommendation Form to convey the quality of each Airman.

Q. What will the board consider?

A. The board will focus on duty performance, depth and breadth of experience utilizing evaluations, decorations, an Enlisted Retention Brief, and an enlisted Retention Recommendation Form to make their decisions. Additionally, the member is authorized to write a one-page letter to the board to address any matter of record an Airman believes warrants consideration.

Q. When will the results of the board be released and how will Airmen be notified if they have not been selected for retention?

A. Results of the board will be released in July-August 2014 and Airmen will be notified by their Commanders of the board's decision. Airmen will also be required to sign a notification letter.

Q. How will the Air Force help prepare Airmen and their families for this transition?

A. Board-eligible Airmen are eligible for full Transition Assistance Program (TAP) benefits and other related services to include employment resources, financial planning/management, spouse employment assistance, relocation assistance and general information and referral. In addition Airmen will receive 180 days extended medical care for themselves and their family, and an ID card for 2 years of Commissary and Base Exchange privileges.

Q. Will Airmen receive any type of separation pay?

A. Airmen not selected for retention are entitled to full separation pay, if otherwise qualified. To qualify, Airmen not selected for retention must have 6 or more years of active service and less than 20 years of active service as of the separation date.

Q. Are there other incentives for Airmen who decide to separate before the board convenes?

A. Eligible Airman with less than 6 years of service will have an opportunity to apply for early separation in the best interest of the Air Force in exchange for their service in the Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) until Military Service Obligation (MSO) has been served. Airmen with greater than 6 years of service will be offered separation pay or TERA, if otherwise eligible.

Q. Who will serve as board members on these Retention Boards?

A. Community functional experts will serve on these boards and will consist of two Chief Master Sergeants and a Colonel.

Q. How frequently will this board be conducted?

A. Boards of this magnitude aren't intended to be enduring; however, in the future years the Air
Force may conduct boards to identify Airmen for retraining and possible retention.

Q. Will Airmen not selected for retention have an opportunity to join the Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard?

A. Airmen not retained and interested in transition opportunities for continued service with the Total Force should contact their In-service recruiter to discuss their options.