Air Force officials announced the Total Force Commissioning Process July 10. This new process allows the Air Force to provide multiple career avenues for officers being commissioned through Air Force ROTC by offering cadets the chance to pursue opportunities in the Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard.
The program also synchronizes the overall number of officers being commissioned with recent reductions in the size of the active duty force. In addition to pursuing opportunities in the Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard, there are also opportunities to be released from active-duty service commitments.
The program is modeled after the Army’s process, creating additional opportunities during a cadet’s senior year to serve in either the active or reserve component following graduation.
“The (Air Force) ROTC program is very competitive and we enjoy the luxury of having an abundance of quality cadets who have chosen to serve their country,” said Lt. Gen. Sam Cox, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services. “Unfortunately, given budget reductions, the Air Force must reduce its active duty force, limiting the number of cadets we can accept into the active component. The new total force commissioning process allows us to provide opportunities for high quality cadets to continue serving, albeit in our Reserve components.”
Cadets graduating from July 10, 2014, through calendar year 2015 will be able to pursue opportunities in the Guard or Reserve or seek release from their active-duty service commitment July 14 through September 15.
Cadets who applied for voluntary release will be notified whether their request has been approved by late October. Cadets seeking opportunities in the Air Reserve Component, or ARC, will be notified by the Guard or Reserve unit to which they applied and the unit will respond as promptly as possible on their acceptance status.
After the volunteer phase for the release and ARC volunteer programs, a merit process will be implemented to determine if a cadet is awarded an active duty position following graduation. The merit system will be based on detachment commander rank, field training rank, Air Force Officer Qualification Test score, academic aptitude and cumulative GPA.
Those who are not retained for active duty can choose to stay in the Individual Ready Reserve and pursue opportunities in the Air Force Reserve and ANG. Recruiters will assist those who select to pursue opportunities to affiliate with a Guard or Reserve unit. Those who leave the Air Force, remain in the IRR or receive an ARC allocation will not have to repay scholarships or stipends.
“The biggest challenge with the new process is the short time frame we have for implementation,” said Brig. Gen. Brian Kelly, the director of force management policy for the Air Force. “Budget reductions create short-term limits, and we will run out of opportunities to serve long before we run out of quality cadets. We hope all of these exceptional young men and women continue to seek opportunities to serve our country, whether in the Air Force or in another capacity.”
At this time, the program is not open to U.S. Air Force Academy cadets and officer training school will not be affected by this change.