192 Officers Initially Selected For Separation
Most Americans don't
know that even as the US military is involved on a war of global
scope, it continues pre-programmed downsizing. The Air Force has
been, like the other services, considering officers for retention,
intending to keep only the best; its vehicle is a board of officers
with a name that George Orwell would appreciate, the Air Force 2006
See, in the 21st Century Air Force, you don't get sacked, RIFfed
or booted -- you get "shaped." The board recently identified 844
lieutenants and notified them that they were not selected for
retention -- in plain English, "prepare to hit the bricks." But the
Board is having second thoughts about some of the officers -- 192
are eligible to be reconsidered by a special, additional board that
will meet June 26th. The other 652 of them can continue making
These personnel boards are a characteristic of the military
personnel management system, and to understand how these 192
officers come to be reconsidered, you need to understand just a
little about how these boards -- whether for "shaping," promotion,
schooling or command -- work. The officers themselves under
consideration don't appear before the panel -- their personnel
records do. A panel of officers look at each officer's record. With
very little time to spend on each, the board's officers have to
make snap decisions. Any deficiency in the records makes the snap
decision a hair easier.
And only after the board had identified 844 men and women of
their unlucky result, did the Air Force learn that a number of
lieutenants' records were missing a particular document due to a
records-management error. Maj. Gen. Glenn Spears, USAF, whose title
is Force Management Policy Director, said "Some of the records were
missing a required training report from initial skills training,"
apparently through no fault of the officers themselves.
As a result, 192 officers get a second chance at retention, if
they want it. Those in that group are being personally informed; if
they want to be reconsidered, they have to say so by June 19.
They'll know a month after that if they'll be staying on in blue
uniform or not.
Along with the 844 officers initially downselected, of course,
the original board examined thousands of other lieutenants. They
don't need to worry, though. While the new board will reconsider
some of the ones that didn't make the cut last time, they're not
going to look at the group that they already passed.