The Air Force is working to revive a program that would allow service members to swap base assignments with each other, five years after a similar initiative shut down.
Air Force Chief Master Sergeant JoAnne Bass, leader of the service, teased the policy shift at the Air and Space Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber conference at National Harbor , Maryland, this week.
“These changes are the result of Airmen in our Enlisted Assignments Task Force looking at this process holistically, identifying areas that needed updates and working with the Army Personnel Center air to get there,” Bass said in a press release. “I couldn’t be prouder of the work done to get these changes into the hands of our Airmen.”
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The assignment exchange program would allow volunteers “to replace members selected for assignment, or to exchange assignments after selection,” according to an Air Force press release Wednesday.
This would only apply to ranks E-8 and below with the same Air Force specialty code, skill level, rating or projected rating, and special experience identifier.
The Air Force Personnel Center told Military.com in a statement that additional details are not yet available and are still being worked out.
“We are in the early stages of implementing the assignment exchange program announced by CMSAF Bass at the ASFA conference,” said PSAC public affairs spokesperson Toni Whaley. in an emailed statement. “We are working with our partners to develop the process and identify business rules to make the program more inclusive with minimal restrictions.”
The service had a similar version of a posting exchange program in the past.
A 2007 Air Force press release first informed service members that they would need to seek out other qualified Airmen in the continental United States with whom they could trade. The change should ultimately be approved by the commanders.
But a decade later, in 2017, the program was shut down, according to a 2017 Facebook post from the Air Force Personnel Center. Officials said the program was underutilized and favored Airmen with larger paychecks.
“Less than five percent of Airmen were found to take advantage of this program, and it was ultimately deemed unfair,” reads the Air Force Personnel Center’s 2017 message announcing the change. . “With the burden of moving expenses falling on the Airman, some higher-ranking Airmen could afford the move, while some younger Airmen could not.”
Bass did not provide any details during the conference on how the program would differ from previous versions or when it would be rolled out.
“There is no set start date that we can share at this time, but we will post information as it becomes available,” Whaley said.
The possibility of assignment swaps returning wasn’t the only good news for enlisted Airmen at the Air and Space Force Association conference. During his commencement address on Monday, Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall announced the service would backtrack on a series of pay cuts that were to take effect next month for Airmen occupying some of the most difficult jobs.
Hundreds of Airmen, many of whom worked in some of the most demanding and physically challenging jobs, were to suffer reductions ranging from $900 to $5,400 a year to their Special Assignment Allowance, a monthly incentive bonus known as the name of SDAP, in fiscal year 2023 — which begins October 1.
— Thomas Novelly can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.
Related: Cancellation of Air Force pay cuts
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