WASHINGTON, D.C. — Thirty-four officer and enlisted Airmen were selected to participate in the Air Force’s Career Intermission Program, which offers from one to three years of partially paid time out of uniform to focus on personal and professional pursuits. Two of those selected have since voluntarily withdrawn their applications and will remain on active duty.
The 32 program participants embody differing backgrounds, cultures, experiences and highly specialized competencies, representing a cross-section of America. These Airmen, from varying Air Force specialties including fliers, medics, maintainers, personnelists, cyber and legal specialists, will have an opportunity through CIP to attend to personal and professional needs without having to choose one over the other.
“The strength of the nation’s Air Force is rooted in our Airmen and their families,” said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. “Not only were applicants considered for their demonstrated leadership and commitment to the Air Force, but these top performers were also evaluated on their potential to continue to grow and thrive upon returning to active duty.”
The 2009 National Defense Authorization Act authorizes each military branch to select up to 20 officer and 20 enlisted members each calendar year to take a sabbatical and seamlessly return to their active-duty or Air Reserve component role.
A total force selection panel convened Nov. 12, at the Air Force Personnel Center on Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph, Texas, to select the first participants from active-duty Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve. Applications and the Airman’s military personnel record were reviewed to assess all factors that bear on their potential to serve the Air Force in the future, including leadership and duty performance, professional qualities and development, depth and breadth of experience, and achievements.
“Diversity has made our nation and Air Force stronger, and to remain the world’s premier Air Force, we must attract, recruit, develop, mentor and retain the best possible talent,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III. “Offering these highly competitive Airmen an opportunity to enjoy a healthier work-life balance will allow them the ability to temporarily focus on other personal priorities while managing career demands.”
The final selection included 15 officers and 19 enlisted Airmen, although two individuals have since chosen to withdraw from participation and remain on active duty. Thus, 32 Airmen — equally divided amongst male and female — will begin their transition to the Individual Ready Reserve in spring of 2015.
“This first group of Airmen is paving the way for the future of the program,” said Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James A. Cody.
“Retaining experienced and talented Airmen by providing them an opportunity to take care of their personal needs will advance our efforts to meet the ever-changing needs of our Air Force, Airmen and their families,” he said.
The Air Force currently plans to maintain the same selection timeline, with applications accepted from mid-August to mid-October, and selections in November.
Air Force leaders worked with the other services through the legislative process to create an enduring program extending beyond calendar year 2015. The Congressional authority for CIP was extended under the fiscal year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act to Dec. 31, 2019.