Nearly two weeks after the U.S. Air Force ran out of money for personnel bonuses and personnel change-of-station moves and hit pause on those programs, the cash is back.
The Air Force announced on Friday, July 21 that it had, through “additional support from Congress on several pending reprogramming requests,” found the money to restart “some” of the affected programs. The funds are expected to get the Air Force through the end of the fiscal year in September. It’s not clear exactly how much money the Air Force secured for these programs but the service branch says it is enough to get the bonuses and some permanent change-of-station moves funded through the end of the fiscal year. However some Date Estimated Return From Overseas or DEROS moves remain pushed back.
The reinstated programs include the Selective Retention Bonus, Foreign Language Proficiency Pay, and the Aviation Bonus, among others.
On July 10, the Air Force said that it was short on funds to pay for personnel programs and bonuses. In another move, the Air Force has also suspended its Legacy Aviation Bonus Program, which increased the maximum amount of money offered to retain eligible pilots from $35,000 to $50,000.
Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek told Task & Purpose that the issue stemmed from a mix of inflation and the added costs of recruitment and retention bonuses. The Air Force expected to have the bonuses situation resolved in two weeks, but the shortfall did have other issues for service members. A leaked memo also said that some PCS moves for airmen could be delayed into 2024.
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According to this weekend’s announcement, some of those moves won’t be pushed back. Service members who had PCS moves scheduled for before the end of September will move; the Air Force is aiming to get orders to airmen 30 days in advance. For airmen whose return home was set between October and December this year will still be delayed to the first three months of 2024.
“While most of the benefits have been reinstated, the Air Force will continue to communicate with Airmen whose PCS orders have not been completed, specifically those with PCS moves in FY24,” the Air Force’s announcement on Friday added.
The Air Force, as with other service branches, had been working to boost enlistment and retention in the ranks, using financial incentives such as bonuses to help. Meanwhile the Department of the Air Force has been dealing with congressional difficulty, with financial assistance held up over a political fight over where U.S. Space Command’s new headquarters should be. Lawmakers from Colorado and Alabama are sparring over the possibility that Space Command could relocate to Huntsville, AL. instead of its current home in Colorado Springs, CO.
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