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Air Force Aims to Keep Aviators with Demo FY23 Retention Program

Pilots Remain in High Demand, but is $50,000 Enough for Another Contract?

The US Air Force has published its 2023 Rated Officer Retention Demonstration Program, which could provide up to $50,000 a year for “select aviators” with service commitments expiring in fiscal year 24/25 when they re-up.

The National Defense Reauthorization Act directed the USAF to put a demo program into place in a modest effort to retain some of the military’s most expensive, trained talent before cutting them loose to considerable profit in the civilian world. The result, is a tiered monetary incentive available to those under Undergraduate Flying Training Active Duty Service Commitments expiring in fiscal year 2024 or 2025 the opportunity to sign a contract for “up to $50,000 a year, depending on length of the contract.” The offer as it stands expires on the last day of 2028, but USAF brass has said that it could “potentially continue with higher funding allocation requests in future years” to meet additional fields, or longer periods.

As with any military retention deal, there’s some fine print to beware of. The gist of things is that the “the highest monetary incentive amounts will be offered only to aviators who sign a contract 3 fiscal years prior to the fiscal year their UFT ADSC expires.” The monetary amounts will be tiered thereafter. Essentially, for those looking to maximize their income in FY23, airpersons “should sign up early to receive the highest valued contracts,” according to USAF public affairs. The program will be used alongside the existing Legacy Aviation Bonus Program, however, maintaining that pathway for those interested in sticking it out with ol’ blue. 

“Retaining our experienced aviators is key to succeeding in a warfighting environment,” said Brig. Gen. Kirsten Aguilar, Air Force Force Management Policy director. “The demo program helps posture the Air Force to reliably retain aviators to meet current and future operational requirements.”



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