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Aviation Continuation Pay (ACP - The Bonus)

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So, I'm a recently passed over Capt and expect to be passed over again next year and was told that a continuation was probable, my question is would I get The Bonus when my committment is up?

I'm looking at all options right now and have been looking at Palace Chase to at least get established in life after AD. Here's the kicker, I was told by a buddy in the squadron, also a recently passed over Capt, that he asked the CC about the possibility of Palace Chase and was told that he would be denied because he is too valuable and we are hurting for people. WTF!? I guess not valuable enough to fight for a DP...

If you take the bonus, they've got you by the balls. There are a lot of 365s to shitholes that would be perfect for a passed over Captain who can't 3 day opt. Also, they may offer continuation for now... and then pull it at your 15 year point. There are no guarantees. Just something to think about.

And for the millionth time... your SQ/CC and WG/CC can only offer their opinions on your Palace Chase application. They cannot approve it or deny it themselves. That's ultimately up to SAF/PC. I've personally seen a twice-passed over Captain with over 2 years left on his ADSC get approved. See the Palace Chase thread in the guard/reserve forum.

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Here's what gets me about the bonus. 125K before taxes for an extra 5 years does not seem all that enticing, especially when you consider that if you are taking the bonus you are probably committing to retirement. So, how long will it take to get roughly 90K (125K after 25% taxes) on an O-5s retirement pension? Definitely less than 5 years.

That being said, having the ability to leave, especially the ability to 3 day opt when the 365 good deal fairy pays a visit, is nice, but your options would also be limited if you three day opted as it's a little hard to have something lined up on the outside on the off chance you punch out.

Oh, decisions. But I know one thing -- I enjoy AD less with every passing day.

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I am curious as to what they are going to do about it as well. If you go through those Retention Reports for each FY on that stats site, they basically keep saying that due to a slow economy and airline hiring not exploding yet that retention should be an issue....yeah wishful thinking.

My concern about heavy pilot retention in particular:

- As noted above, 11Ms are filling billets that often should be filled by 11Fs, 11Ss, etc. (Because 11Ms are the only "overmanned" pilot community out there

- Problem is the overmanning within the 11M career field is almost exclusively in year groups that haven't had the chance to take the bonus yet

- What happens when, starting in FY13-14ish, a large percentage of these large year groups of 11Ms (and likely 11Rs) start getting out due to ramped-up airline hiring?

-- Staffs start to really fall apart; not only no 11Fs available due to previous low production (every one needed in the cockpit), but suddenly no 11Ms or 11Rs to backfill, because they're walking out the door and into massive worldwide airline hiring

-- Situation gets further exacerbated by the fact that take rates for RPA pilots are even worse than for fighters . . . leading to more nonvols, which further sinks morale, which further hits retention

-- AFPC's primary retention tool is increased/targeted bonuses . . . but in an era of major belt-tightening across DoD, it hard to see how they'll get away with 30/35/40k per yr bonus offers to keep pilots in

Alternate future is that heavy pilots take over the Air Force, simply by virtue of numbers:

- More mobility pilots have taken the bonus this FY than RPA, Fighter, Bomber, SOF & Helo pilots combined

-- 11Ms fill all the "good deal", career-enhancing jobs, while those in undermanned communities stay in the cockpit where they're needed. Rinse & repeat for several years, and magically those with the best resumes are the many "bright and shiny" 11Ms that were released to joint billets, crossflow, other career broadening opportunities . . . you get the point

-- Add the fact that a significant number of bright and shinies chose not to go fighters to overall strength in numbers, and soon the heavy community is the stronger tribe

-- Will it happen? Dunno; depends on how badly 11M retention tanks over the next few years, compared to whether/not pilots from other communities choose to get out in droves, as well

Sorry for writing a book, but I think it's a worthwhile discussion.

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The next question is: what does AFPC think about it, and what are they going to do about it?

Anybody know what % they need to meet their projections?

The answer is they think retention is fine. I saw an AFPC road show recently where they said retention is on par or higher than expected. I think they based this idea on a higher than expected ACP take rate, but I don't really remember.

According to the brief I saw, there was an 11F shortage of about 9 pilots in 2012. It's projected to be over 300 short in '13 and continue on that trend for the foreseeable future. Their answer was to create more 11Fs (even though our squadrons and jets are going away). Another part of their plan is to have a blanket "no" to anyone seeking a release from 11F for any programs like Olmstead, White House fellowship, staff, exchange, etc.

I am betting that the pilot shortage will make the Air Force and AFPC react in such a way that in about 2-5 years,

Pilsung

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I deployed with the Chief of the Fighter Porch and bent his ear over a beer in Germany....he said even if all the UPT bases could max out their T-38 production and the FTU's could max out their B-courses, no one washed out, and AFPC only filled fighter cockpits, AETC cockpits and fighter staff billets (so no UAV, no MC-12's, no ALO, etc) and it all happened over night right now, we are 690'ish fighter pilots short...obviously it doesn't happen over night, so projections will be 690+.

I've also been flying with someone who works in AETC/A3...he said there was actually a proposal to stop sending 11F's to T-38's (they are already min-manning 11F's to T-6's) and that the ACP take rateright now was 2nd lowest ever.

Seems that the general consensus is that it will get worse before its get better.

Good luck everyone!

Cheers,

Cap-10

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I thought this was an interesting nugget from the AFPC stats site:

2012 ACP Agreements Finalized by Base

BASE CREECH

Pilot

- Takers: 20% (3)

- Nontakers: 80% (12)

DATA AS OF: 30AUG12

The rest of the "By Base" data is pretty interesting as well. Less than 40% are taking the bonus at Luke, Seymour, and Tyndall, while the Pentagon and Maxwell are both above 90%.

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AFPC updated the take rates as of 13 Sep, so I figure they'll be pretty close to the final for the FY; a few observations/questions:

- RPAs: Only 45% take rate for initial Pilots (none of the uncommitted Navs, uncommitted Pilots, or even the initial RPA pilot took the bonus)

-- If retention is impervious to financial incentives for this group, how is the USAF going to grow/maintain this community going forward?

- Fighters: Only 53% take rate for initial Pilots (none of the uncommitted Pilots took the bonus)

-- Better than RPAs, but not much--Again, how is this community going to get back to full manning if half get out at the earliest opportunity?

- Mobility/SO/C2ISR-EW/Bomber/CSAR: Healthy . . . for this FY; but the airlines haven't starting hiring in significant numbers yet

-- Given that there are more heavy pilots in AMC & ACC than all the other pilot communities combined, what's gonna happen in FY13 & beyond when

airlines start hiring in earnest--and bonuses get ever-harder to justify in the middle of budget cuts/sequestration?

-- Even 70+% retention in the SO community isn't all that great, when they're as low-manned as they currently are; even with a 100% take rate, it'll take

'em forever to get to full manning

Makes sense for heavy guys to take the bonus this FY, I guess; live well for another 5 years, while 1) waiting for airline hiring to pick up, knowing that 2) the hiring boom will go on for several years into the future, owing to the size of the retiring Baby Boomer generation of pilots reaching retirement. I figure the USAF will cut back bonuses (voluntarily--or involutarily, due to budget constraints) right at the time when it'll be needed most to keep pilots in. When (not if) heavy drivers start getting out in droves, it won't just be AMC that gets screwed; given that heavy dudes are the ones filling many billets on staffs/in AETC that fighter/SO/RPA pilots should otherwise be filling, then ACC, AETC, AFSOC, etc. will likely soon be screwed as well. Just one man's opinion. Feel free to tell me where I'm wrong, but the numbers (Boomer retirements, fiscal realities being the biggest of them) are hard to argue with.

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No idea when the actual End FY 2012 Retention Report will actually come out, but I thought I'd take my best guess how it will/should be written in the pilot section of the report. I'm not a personnelist & have never worked at AFPC, so I have no "inside baseball" on any of this. Nonetheless, I'm going to post my prediction, then when the final report comes out (probably months from now), we'll see how close I came to final product. Here goes:

Line officer retention in the active duty Air Force started being an issue in FY12. Pilot inventory losses due to separation or retirement increased when compared to FY11. The increase in separations was to be expected as the number of pilots eligible to separate in FY12 was larger due to 10 year UPT ADSCs expiring. Significant numbers of retirements from the relatively large ’92 year group further exacerbated the problem. While the overall take rate was reasonably healthy at 64%1, this is lowest it has been since FY02, and likely indicates the start of a downward trend.

Just as the transition from the 8 to 10 active duty service commitment limited the number of pilots eligible to separate for the past two FYs, the FAA’s decision in December of 2007 to increase the mandatory retirement age for airline pilots from age 60 to age 65 effectively created a five-year hiatus in airline hiring. That hiatus will end in December 2012. Given that retention is typically inversely proportional to airline hiring, retention challenges are likely inevitable. This will be all the more challenging, given that fiscal constraints will make it difficult to increase ACP bonus offerings enough to reach desired take rates.

While the overall statistics are cause for concern, the breakdown of take rates among various communities is of greater consequence. The Mobility, Bomber and C2ISR/EW communities had ACP high take rates (67%, 60% and 75% respectively), but those communities are already healthy, with respective manning of 112%, 101% and 91%. The Special Operations and Helicopter communities, however, are undermanned (70% & 76% respectively) to the degree that even reasonably high take rates of 73% & 75% can provide only minor relief to the overall manning picture for these communities. If take rates remain high, though, these communities have a chance to eventually return to “good health”. The situation is much bleaker for the Fighter and RPA communities, despite targeted retention efforts in the FY12 program. Both are already low-manned (87% and [80%?]2), and low take rates (53% and 47%) will only make this situation worse. Low manning, combined with low retention and limited capacity to train new pilots and build experience in these communities will make recapitalizing these communities extremely difficult. It will be all the more so when airline hiring ramps up and as a result drives ACP take rates even lower. In the near term, the only way to at least help alleviate shortages in particular pilot communities will be to recategorize pilots from mobility to special operations and/or further expand the trend of mobility pilots filling other communities staff requirements (e.g., 11Ms filling 11F billets).

  1. TnkrToad’s note: Since the most recent info posted on the AFPC website at http://access.afpc.af.mil is only current as of 21 Sep (more could have—and likely did—take the bonus before the end of the FY, but no way to know this without AFPC updating the website), I took my best guess at the final take rate numbers. Overall manning numbers are from an Apr 12 briefing, so some of the above numbers might have changed—but if anything, overall manning likely has gotten worse rather than better.
  2. Took a WAG at RPA pilot manning; this wasn’t in the brief I have

Feel free to throw spears if you think I'm wrong on any of this, but if you do, please back it up with facts/numbers.

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At ATA this year, HAF A1 gave a brief called "MAF-apocalypse" and their message is below (I do not necessarily believe everything here, so don't kill the messenger and I am paraphrasing):

- Pilot retention in the MAF is not an issue...it's the CAF is broken (we all seem to know this, but they backed it up with numbers)

-- The CAF issues are the cause of MAF dudes taking MC-12, RPA and traditionally filled CAF staff billets.

--- The source of the problem is that the CAF has enough pilots for cockpits but not in the staff roles. That is why pointy-nosed dudes are getting Ops tours back to back to back.

--- The above problem has caused he MAF to OVERPRODUCE pilots in the past few years...this could be a problem in the future.

- Pilot retention in general requires a 60-69% (or close to that) ACP take rate due to the number of Lt Col and Col billets available.

--This fiscal year the bonus was about in the sweet spot of where A1 wants to be. The segments that are lower were given 50% up front (RPA, etc)

- A1 is looking at the "Airline" issue but...

--their numbers stem from contractors looking at airlines like Southwest and Up with FedEx and UPS.

--Currently their predictions are that the AF as a whole is doing just fine becuse of the numbers published on the link above

-- A1 is powerless to do much unless people start punching (they have to be reactive and not proactive)

- the ACP will see no major changes until FY15 at the earliest and is currently being coord'd to be $35k per year. if $35k can't fix A1's issues they may offer the 20 or the 25 year bonus again but is not likely.

--This years ACP was hinted to be the same as last year with a message being published sometime after January.

Again, don't kill the messenger but sitting through this brief the numbers they showed seemed logical.

If anyone else was there...feel free to fill in the blanks.

-Notch

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I feel like I'm missing something, the numbers don't look bad. 67% take rate is lower than last couple years, but not by much, and seems pretty in line with historical norms. From all the po'ed folks I hear from/about, this isn't the mass exodus I'd be expecting.

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There never seems to be a mass exodus....everyone talks big, but reality seems to set it when push comes to shove and only the most determined dudes end up punching as promised, while the rest of the dudes fade back into the background and sit back down at their desks. I can count 1 out of every 10 dudes that promises to leave that actually follows through.

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At ATA this year, HAF A1 gave a brief called "MAF-apocalypse" and their message is below (I do not necessarily believe everything here, so don't kill the messenger and I am paraphrasing):

- Pilot retention in the MAF is not an issue...it's the CAF is broken (we all seem to know this, but they backed it up with numbers)

-- The CAF issues are the cause of MAF dudes taking MC-12, RPA and traditionally filled CAF staff billets.

--- The source of the problem is that the CAF has enough pilots for cockpits but not in the staff roles. That is why pointy-nosed dudes are getting Ops tours back to back to back.

--- The above problem has caused he MAF to OVERPRODUCE pilots in the past few years...this could be a problem in the future.

- Pilot retention in general requires a 60-69% (or close to that) ACP take rate due to the number of Lt Col and Col billets available.

--This fiscal year the bonus was about in the sweet spot of where A1 wants to be. The segments that are lower were given 50% up front (RPA, etc)

- A1 is looking at the "Airline" issue but...

--their numbers stem from contractors looking at airlines like Southwest and Up with FedEx and UPS.

--Currently their predictions are that the AF as a whole is doing just fine becuse of the numbers published on the link above

-- A1 is powerless to do much unless people start punching (they have to be reactive and not proactive)

- the ACP will see no major changes until FY15 at the earliest and is currently being coord'd to be $35k per year. if $35k can't fix A1's issues they may offer the 20 or the 25 year bonus again but is not likely.

--This years ACP was hinted to be the same as last year with a message being published sometime after January.

Again, don't kill the messenger but sitting through this brief the numbers they showed seemed logical.

If anyone else was there...feel free to fill in the blanks.

-Notch

While I get what they're saying, there are other numbers that point to pending problems in the MAF community . . . and by extension the CAF community, since as discussed above it's the MAF that's backfilling lots of CAF billets. Some numbers to consider:

- Per the retention report, 88 MAF pilots got promoted to O-6 in FY12

- If, in FY13 the number of MAF pilots promoted to O-6 is even anywhere close to FY12, things are gonna get interesting:

-- The numbers of 11Ms in the 19, 18 & 17 Commissioned Yrs of service--Who will reach retirement eligibility & O-6 board soon thereafter) are

extremely small:

--- 19 CYOS: 81 O-5 11Ms

--- 18 CYOS: 101 O-5 11Ms

--- 17 CYOS: 67 O-5 11Ms

My assessment: If the 88/yr trend continues for MAF O-6 promotions continues, you could select 100% for promotion to O-6 . . . and still need more. What I forsee over the next few years:

- What's left of the large early-90s year groups (20+ CYOS) of MAF pilots is going to retire/be further promoted, leaving little to no excess in the senior ranks

- The present-day O-5 (15-19 CYOS) year groups are too small already (remember the pilot training bathtub of the mid-90s?) will for the most part get out at 20 yrs--due to a combination of airline hiring/being sick of getting beaten down over their whole careers

- The committed O-4 (12-14 CYOS) types that took the bonus will get beaten down over rest of their careers--No graybeards around to pick up the slack--which encourages them to retire at 20 yrs as well

-- Those who haven't yet gotten to take the bonus yet (11 CYOS & below) spend the first 10 years of their careers: 1) Operating under crappy leadership (hard to be selective when there are such slim pickin's), 2) Getting screwed with RPAs/MC-12s/staffs/other backfill "opportunities" since 11Fs & 11Bs can't be spared, yet 3) Not flying enough, because Big Blue produced too many pilots for their airframes

-- By the way, the Guard & Reserves are facing significant numbers of retirements in the near future, as well, making it all the easier for non-bonus takers to get out and move right into Guard/Reserve jobs--don't forget how much of our mobility iron is in the Reserve Component

In the environment described above:

- What 11M in his right mind is going to stay in past the end of his SUPT commitment, much less wanna stay 'til 20 yrs or beyond?

- When ACP take rates drop to the 30-40% range due to airline hiring (check out the take rates from '97-'02)--and budgetary constraints make $35k+ per year bonuses untenable, how can the 11M community possibly stay healthy?

- What's going to happen to the CAF community when the MAF, due to pilot losses, can't backfill CAF requirements?

The thing that bothers me is that all Big Blue can/will do is be reactive; what happens if the reaction doesn't happen until we're already well established in a pilot manning death spiral?

//rant off//

Edited by TnkrToad

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I also attended the MAF-pocolypse brief. A lot of good info, but I had to laugh at their assumptions in the airline hiring. They started out by saying that they couldn't compare this "boom" to the last hiring boom because circumstances are different (global nature of the hiring boom/10 year ADSCs/economy/more) I can see where they're coming from, but they seemed to dismiss those previous events as ANY indicator of what may happen. They then went on to present the projections of global hiring...and summarily dismissed them as irrelevant. I'll use round numbers for ease of the example, these ARE NOT the actual numbers presented.

1) 100,000 hires over the next 5 years.

2) BUT, 30,000 of them are overseas and no Air Force pilots would take those, so we don't count them....

3) and 20,000 of them are at the regionals and those are restructuring and going away, so we don't count them either.

3) Plus we assume a less than 1:1 replacement, so you can eliminate about 10,000 more.

Conclusion: We're back down to 40,000, which is really kinda normal...so it's no big deal!

That whole assuming away the overseas airlines and regionals made me laugh.

The other thing I took out of it was the difficult nature of A1s job. The only solution to the problem is to restructure the CAF training pipeline, increasing cockpits in the line squadrons to increase absorption, reduce staff and other requirements, and more major changes that A1 can not make. Short of those major changes there is no solution. In addition, even if those changes are made today, there will still be a huge bathtub over the last 4-5 years which will be with us for the next 20.

Finally, don't expect a MAF-CAF transition due to the real limfac being the FTUs.

Someone should request the slides and post them here. (I'm too lazy)

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That whole assuming away the overseas airlines and regionals made me laugh.

This is where I don't get why HAF/A1 doesn't get it:

- If regionals aren't hiring/don't exist due to the train wreck which is the 1500 hour rule, then the pipeline for civilians to build enough hours to go on to the Majors is cut off . . . if the US civilian sector can't produce adequate numbers of ATPs, then military becomes the primary (but a very limited) source of qualified US pilots

- Even if no US military pilots don't wanna fly for overseas carriers (dubious assumption, especially given the amount of expected growth in the coming years), overseas demand will keep foreign pilots overseas . . . add very limited supply of foreign pilots able/willing to get US ATPs

It's a simple supply & demand problem--US mil pilots will comprise the bulk of a very limited supply of competent pilots who have the hours to get US ATPs. Demand will be huge (5k pilots required/yr in North America alone for next 20 yrs). I wasn't an econ major, but low supply/high demand tends to drive prices up. Airlines will be competing for every mil pilot that retires/separates, at the same time the Reserve Component needs bodies as well. What happens when large percentages of large year groups of MAF pilots get out at the end of their commitments--not only to experience in MAF squadrons, but on CAF staffs, in RPAs, MC-12s, etc.?

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This is where I don't get why HAF/A1 doesn't get it:

- If regionals aren't hiring/don't exist due to the train wreck which is the 1500 hour rule, then the pipeline for civilians to build enough hours to go on to the Majors is cut off . . . if the US civilian sector can't produce adequate numbers of ATPs, then military becomes the primary (but a very limited) source of qualified US pilots

- Even if no US military pilots don't wanna fly for overseas carriers (dubious assumption, especially given the amount of expected growth in the coming years), overseas demand will keep foreign pilots overseas . . . add very limited supply of foreign pilots able/willing to get US ATPs

It's a simple supply & demand problem--US mil pilots will comprise the bulk of a very limited supply of competent pilots who have the hours to get US ATPs. Demand will be huge (5k pilots required/yr in North America alone for next 20 yrs). I wasn't an econ major, but low supply/high demand tends to drive prices up. Airlines will be competing for every mil pilot that retires/separates, at the same time the Reserve Component needs bodies as well. What happens when large percentages of large year groups of MAF pilots get out at the end of their commitments--not only to experience in MAF squadrons, but on CAF staffs, in RPAs, MC-12s, etc.?

Well here's a counter point to consider. I happen to agree with A1''s assessment to be frank. I know you folks feel strongly about this hiring wave but hear me out. Regional hiring is a non-player for military types IMO. You may think the sky will fall with the 1500 rule, I don't think it will. Getting an ATP isn't all that hard, it just takes the civilian track a year or two more. Did the ruling kill the 300hr wonder boy? Of course. That's what it was designed to do. But who cares! In 1992 commuter airline newhire competitive mins were de facto ATP mins and that didn't stop the hoardes of dreamers from applying to get paid in sunsets and flight time. So, neither will essentially going back to those hiring mins.

The only dudes I know flying for regionals post-military are the rare retiree doing it for currency while he waits for the damn window to the so called hiring wave to open already. Regionals aren't magically going to turn into a $50/hr 1st year FO job, just because of the 1500 rule. Frankly, folks are putting too much stock into that ruling. You guys are about to get humbled by the sheer inelasticity of demand the pilot dreamer displays. Once again, it's not going to entice military types to go work for regionals. And make no mistake, there is a huge shadow inventory of regional CAs and FOs waiting to flood the application windows at mainline. Mil applicants with barely one SUPT commitment under their belt will not be all that competitive against these candidates, absent a bona fide military internal rec, and those vary depending on the hiring culture of the specific airline. Military types like to dismiss the resume strength of the civilian-only regional CA but in all reality they are very desirable to mainline and their vast 121 experience is a worthy contender. They will dilute much of the hubris of the optimism biased separating military guy, and in that respect A1 is right in calling the barking dog's bluff.

I also agree with A1 in that amongst a labor pool of people bemoaning the large chunks of separation from family as a reason for separating, the prospect of expat work is not exactly a player that's going to decimate retention in the Air force. People bark a lot, but the majority don't find expat work all that palatable. I think A1 is not irrational in making that assumption.

1:1 replacement not materializing is another assumption I agree on, I think the capacity will continue to be tightened as airlines continue to finagle load factors http://aviationblog.dallasnews.com/2012/11/october-2011-traffic-capacity-load-factors.html/

See attached link. BL, unless another economic bubble inflates, travel will grow at lackluster pace, airlines will continue to reduce capacity, adjusted for population growth, and there's your less than 1:1. Again, A1 is reasonable in siding with that assumption.

I know we all want to see AFPC get punched in the mouth,but I think they are sitting on the upper hand as most people overshoot their estimation of the "big one for military folks" by about 4 years too early. That's a lot of waiting, and most rather wait inside blue than outside, whether they wish to admit that or not. Im not saying things aren't gonna pick up, but it ain't gonna happen in a game changing way until at least 2016. That about kills any leverage a mil guy has in utilizing the airline hiring as construct with which to give blue the finger. Say it is because the member wishes to quit cold turkey or because he intends on pursuing non-airline work, but until at least 2016 most mil dudes aspiring for mainline work are kinda stuck.

If I was hot in pursuit of the airline dream I'd line up my ducks for a 2016 time frame and make the decision of staying or going based off where that would put me relative to 20 years and what things I'm willing or not willing to do for Blue in order to get to mid 2015 early 2016. That is obviously something every person is going to have to figure out individually. Like I said, I don't find those assumptions egregious at all on the part of A1.

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Looks like the approval/extension to offer ACP was included in the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, now to wait and see what the Air Force decides. Anyone have any insider info?

SEC. 614. ONE-YEAR EXTENSION OF AUTHORITIES RELATING TO TITLE 37 CONSOLIDATED SPECIAL PAY, INCENTIVE PAY, AND BONUS AUTHORITIES.

The following sections of title 37, United States Code, are amended by striking ‘‘December 31, 2012’’ and inserting ‘‘December 31, 2013’’:

(1) Section 331(h), relating to general bonus authority for enlisted members.

(2) Section 332(g), relating to general bonus authority for officers.

(3) Section 333(i), relating to special bonus and incentive pay authorities for nuclear officers.

(4) Section 334(i), relating to special aviation incentive pay and bonus authorities for officers.

(5) Section 335(k), relating to special bonus and incentive pay authorities for officers in health professions.

(6) Section 351(h), relating to hazardous duty pay.

(7) Section 352(g), relating to assignment pay or special duty pay.

(8) Section 353(i), relating to skill incentive pay or proficiency bonus.

(9) Section 355(h), relating to retention incentives for members qualified in critical military skills or assigned to high priority units.

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Okay, I thought I saw something about this, but after searching couldn't find it. I am up for the bonus next year. My wife wants to do some more school right now. If I transfer the GI Bill to her right now, and I incur that commitment, will I then be ineligible for the ACP? Or, is ACP strictly based on UPT ADSC? I don't want to screw myself out of it.

Also, for guys that are in a non-flying staff billet, do they still typically offer the bonus?

I know this is all based on it still being around...

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Slackline:

Info: this info is based on my experience when I took the bonus back in 2007:

The ACP is offered when your UPT ADSC is up...it has nothing to do with other ADSC's you may have incurred.

At the time I accepted my ACP, my UPT commitment was up but I had already accepted a PCS ADSC.

Also doesn't matter if you are in a flying or not flying billet at the time.

Having said all that, make sure you read this years message carefully...who knows what stipulations the rocket surgeons at HQ slipped in...

Cheers,

Cap-10

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So, is the Air Staff just sitting on this year's ACP and hoping all of the eligibles will forget about it? Most of the eligibles I know were on the fence about staying or leaving *with* the bonus. The decision seems pretty easy without it!

Let me do the math:

No bonus + no committment + sequestered flying hours + guard/reserve hiring + airline potential = What's the downside?

If you plan on punching, punch early! The rest will be stuck when Big Blue catches onto the mass exodus and uses Stop Loss or other drastic measures to curb it.

-9-

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So, is the Air Staff just sitting on this year's ACP and hoping all of the eligibles will forget about it?

My guess is they're trying to figure out how to sell ACP to Congress and the public--The only viable retention tool the AF has is to offer monetary incentives. Given the other factors you already identified, I don't see much else that's going to work. To incentivize adequate numbers of pilots--especially from certain target communities--to stay past their commitments, they're going to have to offer even more than they have previously. While the rational argument is pretty straightforward (we're going to offer $30/35/40k/yr bonuses to pilots this year, in order to meet our retention targets of XX%, which we need to have a viable pool of pilots going forward . . . which is cheaper/more efficient & effective than other methods), the political/emotional factor makes this a tough sell. How's it going to look when it comes out in multiple news outlets that, in the middle of all our budget constraints, the pilot-dominated Air Force is supporting and protecting pilots through "extravagant" bonus packages? The very worst case would be if the ACP stays the same or increases (causing PR headaches) and they still fail to meet retention targets (loss of experience/capability). Add it the fact that low retention for this year's large group of eligible is going to have a much greater impact than ok retention from small groups in recent years, and it becomes even more important that the AF gets it right. Even a very successful year for ACP could pose problems, as high retention dries up the well from which the Guard & Reserve get many of their folks. It's going to be interesting to see what they come up with--and how they sell it.

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Come on, the bonus is a perk, not an "incentive", and none of you guys are going to leave over the bonus not being increased. If you really hate your job as much as you guys talk about, then the difference between $25K and $35K should be negligible. If the money is really what you are after, quit being a puss and go get a job where you can be compensated for your performance and make some real money. Everybody talks a big game about leaving, but the reality is half of you are scared to leave because in your heart you know that you are compensated pretty damn well with relatively good stability and benefits to fly some cool jets despite all of the mother blue BS.

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