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NEWS | Dec. 7, 2012

New retention program expands eligibility

By Air Force Reserve Command Public Affairs Office Air Force Reserve Command

A new proposed Aviator Retention Pay program for Air Force Reserve aircrew is expected to begin in 2013.

The ARP plan focuses on retaining aircrew officers to meet basic mission requirements for the reserve.

The offer will target only locations where significant shortfalls in rated officer manning exist and will offer a $30,000 bonus over a three-year span.

Pilots and combat systems officers who have completed their initial training commitment, including those eligible for retirement but excluding those with 16 to 20 years of service, will be offered a bonus. Additionally, any pilot or CSO willing to join a critically manned unit between completion of initial training commitment and 25 years of aviation service will be offered a bonus.

"The Air Force Reserve Command aircrew force is shrinking, particularly in pilots and combat systems operators. This is due to a number of factors, including the shrinking size of the regular Air Force. In this environment, every crewmember we can retain in the total force is absolutely vital," said Lt. Gen. James Jackson, Air Force Reserve Command commander.

Lt. Col. John Welch, Air Force Reserve Personnel Directorate Rated/Operations Force Policy chief, said the new program is open to more people. The old Aviator Continuation Pay program was only offered to eligible aviators in full-time Active Guard Reserve status. The old program also sets limits on years of aviation service and total federal active military service. It was not tailored to meet the needs of a specific type of weapons system or unit.

If approved by January, the program will begin in early 2013.