USAF Cutbacks Affect You and Increase Demand on Transition Services

Air Force Logo - Blue with white outline, no textOn Wednesday, December 11th, Air Force leaders  announced force management programs designed to reduce the force by thousands of Airmen over the next five years as a result of sequestration. They also announced that the Air Force will reduce the size of its civilian workforce by about 900 positions in addition to maintaining approximately 7,000 vacancies across the force to meet the demands of a constrained fiscal 2014 budget.

Fiscal 2014 force management initiatives for active duty members are in addition to the announcement made in July, stating the Air Force will implement several force management programs to meet budget reduction requirements.


PLAN AHEAD! Air Force leaders made the decision to announce the overall strategic plan now so that Airmen have the necessary time to consider all their career options.

The Transition Assistance Program has been redesigned into a comprehensive, mandatory program through the efforts of an interagency team from the Department of Defense, Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Labor, Department of Education, Department of Homeland Security, Office of Personnel Management and the Small Business Administration.

The redesigned TAP, known as Transition Goals Plans Success, or Transition GPS, changes the current program from a discontinuous set of activities into a cohesive modular, outcome based program that provides opportunities and aids a successful transition into a “career ready” civilian. Transition GPS bolsters and standardizes the transition services that service members receive prior to separating from the military to make them employment ready as well as being prepared to enter into higher education, attend career technical training, or start their own business.

Basically, with a few exceptions, the Transition Process has become mandatory for Active Duty members. These mandatory portions include the Pre-Separation Counseling Briefing, Transition GPS Workshop, and a Capstone Appointment to be completed before you final out-process the base.

If you are separating, you can start the process as early as 12 months before your planned separation. Retirees can start 24 months prior. If you are notified that you may be separated involuntarily (MEB, administrative, or judicial), you need to schedule a Pre-Separation Counseling Briefing ASAP.

The Pre-Separation Counseling Briefing, in which you complete a DD Form 2648, does NOT lock you into separating if you change your mind or the MEB/Admin/Judicial process does not go through. However, you will not be allowed to attend a Transition GPS Workshop until it has been completed. If you do not meet the mandatory parts or the Transition Process, you may not be able to utilize permissive TDY or terminal leave until your process has been completed.

Visit our Transition Assistance page for more information on the process. You can also look at our Transition Briefing/Workshop Calendar for future dates of transition activities.


We have been through this before and unless you have worked as a civilian for less than a year you know how frustrating the process and lack of information was.

PLAN AHEAD! Prepare your finances and employability

  • Start by taking a look at your budget and tight things up. Start saving for whatever may come (layoffs, furlough days, etc.) that will affect your income.
  • Update your resume. If you will try to fit into another federal position, start working on your resume in USAJobs. If you are looking to move to the private sector, dust off or begin writing the civilian resume now. Visit or employment assistance website ( for help with resume writing.