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Air Force Offers Second Round Of Buyouts, Early Outs

By Stephen Losey The Air Force announced Tuesday it is offering a second round of voluntary buyout and early retirement opportunities for civilian employees to help deal with a tight budget. The application period for buyouts and early outs will begin Jan. 9, and applications will be due Feb. 3, the Air Force said.

Civilians whose applications are approved must leave their jobs by April 30. The Air Force did not say how many employees it hopes will leave, or who will be eligible for the buyouts and early outs. The Air Force did not respond to a request for details on the buyouts and early outs.

Maj. Gen. Sharon Dunbar, director of force management policy, said in a statement that the Air Force hopes the voluntary buyouts and early outs will help it avoid layoffs. Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates capped civilian staffing at fiscal 2010 levels as part of his so-called efficiency initiative, and the Air Force said the latest buyouts and early outs will help it meet that requirement.

"The Air Force recognizes the invaluable contributions of our civilian workforce, but also recognizes the fiscal constraints under which the Department of Defense and the government as a whole are operating," Dunbar said. "We are pursuing all available force management measures, to include civilian hiring controls, where required, with the goal of avoiding involuntary measures for our current permanent workforce."

The Air Force offered buyouts and early outs to as many as 4,000 employees during the first round, which ended Dec. 31. In December, the Air Force lifted its fourmonth- old hiring freeze, which it said helped cut nearly 9,000 civilian positions.
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