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Air Force to permit job switching for airmen

A group of people wearing camouflaged uniforms load equipment into a truck
Department of Defense File
A group of airmen at Langley Eustis deploy to Japan in 2013.

Read the original article on WHRO.

This week, the U.S. Air Force will allow troops to switch assignments — if they meet certain conditions.

The Enlisted Swap Assignment Program lets airmen trade new job postings. The idea is to give airmen more control over where they end up. It's part of a series of personnel rule changes the Air Force is making to improve retention.

"We aren't waiting for the perfect system to be built, and I’m glad to see this program come to fruition,” Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force JoAnne S. Bass said in a statement.

The Air Force tried this once before, but the program wasn’t popular and it ended in 2017. Airmen had to pay their own moving expenses, which cut out most lower enlisted who couldn’t afford to move on their own.

The new program pays moving expenses. The airmen must have the same rank and job classification to swap assignments — and the same availability to move. The program is open to senior master sergeants and below. The swapping has to start at least 90 days before service members are set to move.

The Air Force also wants airmen to keep their trade talks in-house using the Air Force personnel site, MyVector. In the past, airmen who wanted to swap assignments often used social media and even took out newspaper ads looking for partners.