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Officials eliminate exception to short-tour credit

RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz approved rescinding a temporary policy established in 2003 that allowed Airmen to receive short-tour credit for overseas TDYs of at least 181 consecutive days. The effective date of the new policy will be announced at a later date.

Although the policy change primarily affects Airmen who deploy to a hostile fire or imminent danger pay area, it also affects a small number of Airmen serving TDY in certain remote areas.

Officials announced in September a change in the air and space expeditionary force rotational baseline from 120 to 179 days for most active component Airmen in various career fields. Longer AEF tours have become the norm, and that is part of the reason for the policy change.

Former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John Jumper in June 2003 approved a temporary exception to policy that awarded short-tour credit to Airmen who deployed to hostile environments for at least 181 consecutive days after Sept. 11, 2001. A similar exception was made for Airmen deploying in support of Desert Storm in the early 1990s.

Officials decided to eliminate the temporary exception to short-tour credit policy in fairness to those deploying for longer periods of time. Additionally, transportation delays and mandatory overlap time with successors often cause Airmen deployed for 179 days to remain in the area of responsibility long enough to trigger the 181-day threshold.

"With Airmen deploying for longer periods of time, particularly for 365 days, it is no longer equitable to grant short-tour credit based on a 181-day minimum," said Col. David Slade, director of assignments at the Air Force Personnel Center. "Additionally, service in hostile environments and longer periods of family separation are inevitable since the standard deployment is now 179 days."

Under the new policy, the following guidelines apply and will be effective the date the guidance memorandum is signed at Headquarters Air Force Manpower, Personnel and Services.

- Airmen previously awarded short-tour credit under the temporary 181-day policy will keep their short-tour credit

- Airmen who arrive in the area of responsibility TDY prior to guidance implementation and serve at least 181 days consecutively in a hostile fire or imminent danger pay area will receive short-tour credit under the previous criteria

- Airmen who arrive in the AOR TDY on or after the date of guidance implementation will only receive short-tour credit based on TDY service stipulated in AFI 36-2110, Assignments:
-- 300-plus days overseas in a consecutive 18 month period
-- 548-plus days overseas in a consecutive 3 year period

Since the exception to policy went into effect in 2003, 16,795 Airmen have deployed more than once on 179-day taskings. More than 52,000 Airmen have deployed for 181 to 200 days since Sept. 11, 2001. The number of 179-day taskings also has grown significantly since January 2006, from about 6,500 taskings to about 16,600 taskings.

For more information, go to the Air Force personnel services website at, or call the Total Force Service Center at 800-525-0102 or DSN 665-5000.