Yesterday, the Air Force ended a civilian hiring freeze that began in August.  

According to an Air Force Personnel Center (AFPC) press statement, the Air Force has cut almost 9,000 positions this year.  This reduction was achieved by using a combination of tools:  hiring controls, the hiring freeze, voluntary early retirement authority (VERA) ,and voluntary separation incentive pay (VSIP).  This enabled the Air Force to avoid resorting to involuntary actions.

Nevertheless, the Air Force still has to cut an additional 4.500 positions to reach its manning level goals.  “Even with the hiring freeze being lifted Dec. 15, budget and funding issues are still fluid, so major command and wing leaders must be alert to changing conditions as they’ll have the responsibility to control hiring to stay below targeted levels," said Michelle LoweSolis, AFPC civilian force integration director.

The Air Force expects to continue using voluntary separation incentives in the next round of personnel cuts.  However, AFPC will not determine who will be authorized to apply for VERA and VSIP until Air Force leaders complete an assessment of the manning situation.

LoweSolis acknowledged that the process has been difficult and challenging, but emphasized that the Air Force has been working hard to ensure that “Air Force employees get the best care possible.”