The shortfall is driven by higher than projected personnel costs, said Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek. The Air Force is taking the actions to avoid running out of funds, she said.
Anyone who doesn’t have authenticated PCS orders in hand by Aug. 1 may be affected, she said. Air Force Personnel Center is currently approving PCS orders for those moving in July, she said. But those with projected departure dates in August or later could be affected, if they don’t have official orders in hand.
In any given year, the Air Force may ask Congress for authority to reprogram funds for various reasons when there is a shortfall in one area But this year, according to one source, the request hasn’t been approved due to a political fight spat between the Colorado and Alabama congressional delegrations over the administration’s delay in deciding where U.S. Space Command headquarters will be located.
Two years ago, during the final days of the Trump administration, the Air Force announced Huntsville, Alabama — the site of the Army’s Redstone Arsenal and home to the Missile Defense Agency — would serve as the new location for Space Command headquarters, moving it from Colorado Springs. But that choice is under review, and a decision is long overdue.
As a result, some Air Force funding requests have been delayed.
The moves do not affect guardians, as the Space Force has its own appropriations pipeline. Information wasn’t immediately available about whether — or when — other branches of service would be affected by similar pressures.
PCS orders are being reviewed and approved on a priority basis, she said. Otherwise, moves will be pushed into next fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1. Generally, service members should get orders anywhere from 60 to 120 days ahead of their departure date, depending on the situation. There was discussion about orders being cut 36 hours in advance of departure dates on the Air Force amn/nco/snco Facebook page, but that couldn’t be immediately confirmed.
Airmen on overseas long tours with an expected date of return between October and Dec. 23 will have their time extended to between January and March 2024.
As of Tuesday, the Air Force is suspending the fiscal 2023 Selective Reenlistment Bonus program, but will allow airmen who would have been eligible after the deadline to extend their current enlistment into fiscal 2024.
“This allows most airmen to still access an SRB program with the fiscal 2023 rules until the fiscal 2024 program starts,” Stefanek said.
“Airmen who reach their maximum extensions by law on their enlistment can also be accommodated through constructive reenlistment,” she said. “Airmen should be on the lookout for Air Force Personnel Center messaging and work with their servicing Military Personnel Flight.”
Other programs affected:
♦ The Aviation Bonus program that opened on June 6 is being temporarily paused to restructure the program and continue to offer bonuses to aviators. Officials expect to reopen it within the next 14 days. Officers who hadn’t already elected to sign the Aviation Bonus contract will be able to do so as long as funds remain.
♦ The Assignment Incentive Pay program for airmen signing contracts or initiating new pay at non-contract locations is being paused until the beginning of fiscal 2024. Those already receiving Assignment Incentive Pay will continue to receive it.
“The Air Force continues to work through additional options to avoid the funding shortfall and will provide more information when available,” Stefanek said.
Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.