OAN’s Geraldyn Berry
2:48 PM – Monday, July 10, 2023
Re-enlistment incentives and personnel migrations are being postponed by the U.S. Air Force after Alabama lawmakers withheld financing for the organization due to a political dispute over the placement of Space Command’s new headquarters.
One Monday, in a statement, the Air Force said that it is taking steps “to avoid exhausting funds” and delaying orders for personnel change of station assignments and bonuses for re-enlisting troops.
“The Air Force continues to work through additional options to avoid the funding shortfall and will provide more information when available,” the military branch said.
The choice to locate the new Space Command headquarters in Alabama resulted from a unique turn of events. Frustrated with the lack of transparency regarding the site selection process, Alabama lawmakers attempted to reduce funds for the Air Force. Their aim was to push the secretary of the military into making a public declaration about the headquarters’ location.
In response to the pressure, the Air Force decided to alter its plans and ultimately chose Alabama as the site for the new headquarters. It’s worth noting that this decision was made after careful consideration of six potential locations during President Donald Trump’s administration. Originally, the installation was intended for Colorado.
While the Air Force acknowledged facing “higher than projected personnel costs,” they did not provide a detailed explanation for these increased expenses. Curiously, they also failed to mention the recent legislative efforts aimed at reducing the budget. Despite this, the proposed adjustment to locate the Space Command headquarters in Alabama is often attributed to President Trump’s influence during his time in office.
Recently, reports have suggested a potential reversal of the planned move to Alabama for the Space Command headquarters under the Biden administration. Concerns have been raised privately to Defense Department leaders and lawmakers about Alabama’s strict anti-abortion laws, prompting officials to reconsider the decision.
Meanwhile, lawmakers from Colorado, where the command’s temporary headquarters currently resides, have been actively advocating for the Space Command to be established in their state. This has added to the ongoing debate surrounding the headquarters location.
To address the situation, the Air Force announced on Monday that personnel who already have orders to relocate this month will proceed with their new assignments as planned. However, all change-of-station orders after July will be subject to individual review, and certain departures may be postponed. The Air Force emphasized the need for a case-by-case assessment.
In response to funding constraints, the Air Force stated that re-enlistment bonuses for airmen will be suspended for the current fiscal year, ending in the fall. However, airmen will have the option to extend their current enlistment into the next fiscal year of 2024, enabling them to secure a bonus at a later point.
Additionally, due to the funding shortfall, the Air Force will temporarily halt a new bonus program for aviators. The service plans to restructure the program and intends to reopen it within the next two weeks, ensuring aviators are still provided with potential incentives in the future.
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