JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas, –
The definition of “joint matters” and the authorized length of joint tours, two major joint officer management laws affecting active and reserve component Air Force officers, have recently changed following publication of guidance from the Office of the Secretary of Defense.
Directive-type Memorandum 17-005, Implementation of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2017 Changes to the DoD Joint Officer Management Program, was published by the Office of the Secretary of Defense on March 24, formally implementing the changes to the United States Code due to the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act in December 2016.
Title 10, Section 668, USC, expands the types of joint activities considered “joint matters,” which are the basis for joint credit determinations. The updated definition adds command and control duties as well as other essential joint functions and career fields such as intelligence, fires, movement and maneuver, and protection or sustainment of operations under unified command.
“The addition of these duties will likely cause more positions across the Air Force to become eligible for designation as standard joint duty assignments,” said Jeff Gatcomb, Joint Officer Management policy program manager at the Air Force Personnel Center. “More eligible positions would mean more available joint assignments on the joint duty assignment list and more officer experiences being validated by the experience-based joint duty assignment panel.”
Standard joint duty assignments are those in multi-service, joint or multinational commands or activities involved in the integrated employment or support of the land, sea and air forces.
Section 664 of Title 10 modifies joint tour lengths to allow full joint credit after 24 months without a waiver, which provides the Services increased flexibility to move officers for mission needs like command and officer professional development.
“In the past, most officers that left a joint tour with less than 36 months required a Secretary of Defense joint tour length waiver,” Gatcomb said. “Services were forced to defer many officer move decisions based solely on time in a joint assignment versus officer professional development or critical mission needs.”
A majority of officers will still serve the full tour length of 36 months, but those that need to leave between 36 and 24 months can now do so without penalty or waiver, provided the joint organization agrees.
Gatcomb said officers leaving a joint duty assignment at less than 24 months for a command-boarded position or developmental education will still need a waiver to receive accrued credit.
Any Air Force training or Air Force temporary duty of more than 30 consecutive days away during a joint duty assignment, to include pre-command training or joint professional military education course attendance, will not count toward the 24-month minimum tour credit.
Full joint tour credit for Air Reserve component officers will be reduced from six years in a standard joint duty assignment to four years, with a 50-day per year minimum annual participation requirement.
Joint qualified officer requirements remain unchanged for both active and reserve component officers.
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