April, 16

Retired officers, enlisted members can rejoin active duty to offset personnel shortfalls

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The Secretary of the Air Force has reimplemented the Voluntary Retired Return to Active Duty Program in an effort to leverage the talents of our highly trained and experienced officer and enlisted military retirees to help minimize the service’s critical manning shortages. Application window opens Feb. 8, 2024.

Applications must be submitted by Jan. 31, 2026, and the program allows up to 1,000 retired officer or enlisted personnel to active duty at any given time. Additionally, under this VRRAD program, the period of active duty service is limited to no more than 48 months. Personnel will only fill vacant active duty authorizations. Retired applicants selected for Extended Active Duty can expect to return to active duty anywhere from 4 to 6 months from their date of application.

“The VRRAD program is a strategic enabler to embrace experienced talent, tapping into a valuable resource of retired members to fill critical roles to close the gap against our peer competitors,” said Lt. Gen. Caroline Miller, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services.

Retired officer applicants are limited to Line of the Air Force commissioned officers retired in the grade of captain through lieutenant colonel. Officers who volunteer to return to active duty under the VRRAD program will primarily fill vacant rated staff, active flying staff, Officer Training School, Squadron Officer School, and Jeanne M. Holm Center academic staff. While all members that meet eligibility may apply, we are targeting the following Air Force special duty codes:

11X – Pilot

12X – Combat Systems

13B – Air Battle Manager

13H – Aerospace Physiologist

13M – Airfield Operations

13N – Nuclear and Missile Operations

14X – Information Operations/Intelligence

15X – Operations Analysis and Weather

16X – Operations Support

17X – Cyber Operations

18X – Remotely Piloted Aircraft

19Z – Special Warfare

21X – Logistics

31P – Security Forces

32E – Civil Engineering

35P – Public Affairs

38F – Force Support Officer

61X – Scientific/Research

62X –Developmental Engineering

63X – Acquisition

64P – Contracting

65X – Finance

71S – Special Investigation

Retired enlisted applicants are limited to members retired in the grade of staff sergeant through senior master sergeant. While all members that meet eligibility may apply, the following AFSCs are being targeted:

1C171 – Air Traffic Control

2G071 – Logistics Plans

2T377 – Fleet Management & Analysis

3F071 – Personnel

3P071 – Security Forces

4A271 – Biomedical Equipment

4E071 – Public Health

4N071 – Aerospace Medical Service

4R071 – Diagnostic Imaging

7S071 – Special Investigations

8R000/8R200 – Recruiter(s)

Information about the Voluntary Retired Return to Active Duty Program, to include detailed official program guidance, eligibility criteria and application requirements, can be found here.

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