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Vandenberg to cut 52 civilian positions

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Vandenberg officials announced today the projected elimination of 52 civilian positions in response to direction from the secretary of defense for the Department of Defense to cap civilian growth above fiscal year 2010 levels.

These reductions build upon the 97 positions already projected for elimination in the first round of civilian workforce restructuring, which base officials announced November 2011.

The 52 civilian positions largely come from support functions, such as contractor quality assurance and administrative support. Of the 52 positions, 23 are vacant. In the remaining positions, base leadership is working each case individually to place, where skill sets match, employees in other vacant positions on base.

"We are working tirelessly and taking every step we can to assist those affected by these cuts," said Col. Richard Boltz, 30th Space Wing commander. "We'll offer employees opportunities in other available positions where skills and experience match up, and we'll exhaust all means available to minimize the impact on our civilian workforce."

Air Force-wide, 4,500 total positions were eliminated in the second round announcement, building upon the elimination of 9,000 positions announced in November 2011.

"We value our talented and experienced workforce and are trying to do everything possible to manage these reductions with as little impact to our people as possible," said Michael B. Donley, Secretary of the Air Force.

In an effort to encourage voluntary separations and retirements, the Air Force is currently offering its second round of voluntary separation incentive pay and voluntary early retirement authority programs. Civilian employees Air Force-wide received VERA/VSIP eligibility surveys from their personnel managers earlier this month and the applications are due no later than Feb. 3. Approved applications will result in separations or retirements that take effect by April 30.

Air Force officials are still evaluating the need for a reduction in force.

"At this time, we are surveying the workforce for a second round of VERA/VSIP and are in the midst of management reassignments resulting from the first round of the restructure," said Brig. Gen. Gina Grosso, director of Manpower, Organization, and Resources. "Once we exhaust all voluntary force management measures, a determination will be made whether or not a RIF is necessary. We hope to have more information in the spring."

This announcement marks the end of civilian reductions associated with the Air Force's FY12 civilian workforce restructure.

As part of the overall restructuring, 5,900 positions were added to top Air Force priorities in acquisition, the nuclear enterprise, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance; no new positions were added at Vandenberg.