Security forces squadron trainers practice multiple stances during an April 8 firing exercise at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. The number of enlisted airmen that could be forced out by retention boards appears to be dwindling considerably, although 3P0X1 security forces airmen are slated to be hit hardest. (Airman 1st Class Kiana Brothers / Air Force)
The number of enlisted airmen that could be forced out by retention boards appears to be dwindling considerably, according to the Air Force’s latest estimates.
The latest enlisted retention board matrix, which was updated April 17 and posted online April 30, lists 6,027 enlisted airmen who are in overmanned fields and must be separated by the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30. That is a 40 percent decrease from the 10,018 enlisted airmen identified as overmanned in the previous March 28 matrix, and one-third as many as the 18,336 that were estimated to be overmanned in the first matrix, which was dated Jan. 23.
The need to hold a chief master sergeant retention board has almost entirely vanished over the last month. Only two chief positions — one 2R000 maintenance manager and one 9S1X0 scientific applications specialist — are now overmanned, down from 12 in the March 28 matrix.
In an April 3 release, the Air Force Personnel Center said that recalculations of the service’s force needs and the approval of thousands of voluntary separations and retirements mean that the Air Force will not have to cut as many airmen involuntarily.
Air Force spokesman Maj. Matt Hasson said Wednesday continued voluntary separation and retirement approvals resulted in the latest reduction.
So far, about 4,661 enlisted airmen have been selected for voluntary retirement or separation, or were separated through date-of-separation rollbacks.
In the latest projections, the number of staff sergeants slated to be cut by enlisted boards has also been cut nearly in half — from 3,424 as of March 28 to 1,784 in the latest matrix. And the number of technical sergeants on the block is reduced from 3,573 to 2,296.
As before, 3P0X1 security forces airmen are slated to be hit hardest, but their cuts have also reduced considerably. That career field was overmanned by 1,947 senior airmen through master sergeants as of March 28, but is now overmanned by 1,345.