AFSOC: Not exempt from hiring freeze

HURLBURT FIELD, Fla. -- A federal civilian hiring freeze was implemented Jan. 23 across all federal agencies, including Air Force Special Operations Command, according to a deputy secretary of defense memorandum.

AFSOC employees who began work on or before Jan. 23 will not be affected and those with existing "firm" offers with effective dates on or before Feb. 22 may proceed.

The Air Force Personnel Center will provide individual notices to those directly affected by this freeze. This will include those individuals who received job offers prior to Jan. 22 with a confirmed start date after Feb. 22, or in some cases, no start date.

The freeze will be in effect until implementation of a long-term plan to reduce the size of the federal government's workforce. This plan is required to be submitted within 90 days by the Office of Management and Budget in coordination with the Office of Personnel Management.

AFSOC is currently working with Headquarters Air Force and the Air Force Personnel Center to provide clear guidance on the federal civilian hiring freeze, including the process to request exemptions, said Vicki Helton, civilian personnel management chief for AFSOC Manpower, Personnel and Services.

“Once guidance is received, AFSOC will provide everyone detailed guidance on the exemption process,” Helton said. “Our goal is to ensure the process is swift and effective while meeting AFSOC's critical mission requirements.”

The civilian workforce makes up 26 percent of the total Air Force. Currently, 96 percent of 179,000 positions are filled. Given the historical attrition of 1,300 personnel per month, the civilian work force could shrink by 3 percent over the next four months, leaving more than 13,000 vacant positions.

“The impact of this freeze will likely be felt over time as personnel retire and separate from the Air Force,” said Lt. Gen. Gina Grosso, deputy chief of staff for Air Force Manpower, Personnel and Services. “Because of the vital role civilians perform, we will work to provide as much information as possible, as quickly as possible with regard to the freeze.”