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View Full Version : 3-year Family Breaks



crwchf16
05-16-2014, 04:37 AM
http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20140515/CAREERS/305150044/Air-Force-offer-3-years-off-airmen-start-families (http://www.airforcetimes.com/article/20140515/CAREERS/305150044/Air-Force-offer-3-years-off-airmen-start-families)

Mixed feelings about this one: On one hand it's good to give people this option. On the other, how rusty would your skills get if you were completely away from your AFSC for 3 years and then had to go back into it?
Your thoughts?
and let the ranting begin...

BadBender
05-16-2014, 05:00 AM
In a time when the Air Force wants/needs to get rid of 25K people I think this idea is hogwash. We have been told for years now that the military is having unusually high retention rates, presumably due to the economy. That in turn, along with sequestration, is what is driving the need to cut manpower. I'm not on the chopping block thus far but if I was I might try to see if I could use this career "time out" and try to ride out (if possible) these next few rounds of cuts and still make it to the magic 20 year mark.

Chief_KO
05-16-2014, 12:06 PM
Sounds like a good idea, if the environment was different. Sequestration, pay & allowances being cut (or not being raised IAW existing laws). Really seems like a terrible time to even think of something like this.
I am deeply suspicious of the current DoD leadership. They seem hell bent on lowering our overall military strength, readiness, & capabilities. There is a continued push to decrease the Active Duty numbers and shift to a higher percentage of Guard/Reserve force structure. Sorry, but my own experiences thinks that is not a good force structure and actually creates a more stressful environment.

FLAPS, USAF (ret)
05-16-2014, 12:26 PM
On the officer side, with that kind of break in service they'll move you to a later "year group," but I'm not sure how you can effectively compete with your peers for promotion once you return. What if you return 4 months prior to your board? As a senior rater I can't see how you're going to get a "Definitely Promote," let alone a "Promote" rating when there's no recent job performance to go off of.

Another risk is, with so many last minute Force Shaping initiatives there's no guarantee that the rules won't change while you're enjoying your break in service. If I were to cut people, then those on break would be the first to go.

technomage1
05-16-2014, 03:06 PM
It would be nice to be able to take a break for other reasons too, say education or humanitarian reasons. If you could afford to go to school full time -and with the post 9-11 GI bill that's feasible - or stay at home with an ill family member without a paycheck then I think those are worthwhile things. I imagine though, that approval would be based on manning levels in the specialty and grade.

technomage1
05-16-2014, 03:14 PM
Sounds like a good idea, if the environment was different. Sequestration, pay & allowances being cut (or not being raised IAW existing laws). Really seems like a terrible time to even think of something like this.
I am deeply suspicious of the current DoD leadership. They seem hell bent on lowering our overall military strength, readiness, & capabilities. There is a continued push to decrease the Active Duty numbers and shift to a higher percentage of Guard/Reserve force structure. Sorry, but my own experiences thinks that is not a good force structure and actually creates a more stressful environment.

Who saved the day in the long term over the last 10 years? Active duty. Now, the guard/reserve provided vital surge capability and has relived some of the stress on AD, and I'm not downplaying that. But the bulk of the deployments - at least in the support side, some air assets may be different - has been AD. Your typical guard/reserve person in my field, once we went to steady state, either didn't deploy at all or "deployed" to Europe, Asia, or the US to backfill AD going to Afghanistan or Iraq. A few did go to the hot places and that's great, good on them, but the majority stayed safely far to the rear or at home.

Again, this goes for what I have seen in my little corner of the AF. I suspect for, say, refueling tanker crews that guard/reserve have much higher rates and those in combat zones to boot.

So I think its a terrible idea too.

Measure Man
05-16-2014, 09:56 PM
Hey if it works, great. I don't see a downside.

Airborne
05-16-2014, 11:54 PM
Seems like one of those initiatives that will benefit the officers while they go overseas to learn a language or earn their master's/phd. Meanwhile the crew chiefs slave away on the flight line in Phoenix.

LogDog
05-17-2014, 12:12 AM
This is interesting but I see a couple of problems that need to be addressed.

First, If they leave for three years what base will they return to? I'd find it hard to believe a unit will leave a billet unfilled for three years, especially one that could be in a high deployment unit. If their return requires a PCS move and the member moved to another state would the military pay to move them back to their original base or to another base or would them member have to pay to move?

Second, how much training would the individual need to get caught up to speed considering the changes that would normally happen during that three year program?

Third, on promotions, would the member test during the next test cycle (if eligible) or would they have to wait a year? Also, if the person is a SNCO how would that affect their board score? Remember, there would be no EPRs for the past three years or would the record have a memo stating the member had a three-year break and not to mark that against the member. I'd find it hard to believe the board members would serious consider the member for promotion immediately or for the next couple of cycles coming off a three-year break.

Like many programs, this sounds good but there are going to be a lot of questions and policies to address to make it work without hurting the mission, the units, or the individual.

DWWSWWD
05-17-2014, 12:37 AM
Do we need this as a retention tool? Really? Holy shit! Next thing you know, they'll be opening libraries and auto hobby shops.

DannyJ
05-17-2014, 05:55 PM
Do we need this as a retention tool? Really? Holy shit! Next thing you know, they'll be opening libraries and auto hobby shops.

I'm not sure that this is a "retention tool" per se. I'm thinking they're going to get folks to sign up for this to push some personnel off the books and consider their return when the time comes. I'd be willing to be 3 years from now we'll be seeing scathing articles on how the AF offered this, then declined to allow said personnel to return to duty.