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News > Air Force officials release HYT details
Air Force officials release HYT details

Posted 12/21/2011   Updated 12/21/2011 Email story   Print story


by Eric M. Grill
Air Force Personnel, Services and Manpower Public Affairs

12/21/2011 - RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas  -- Air Force officials announced Dec. 19, high year of tenure limit changes for the grades of senior airman, staff sergeant and technical sergeant that go into effect in 2013.

The changes are a part of additional force management programs that are ongoing to continue to size and shape the force to current and future requirements.

Most Airmen affected by the HYT changes will have two opportunities to test for the next higher grade before the change becomes effective.

High year of tenure limits for senior airman will be reduced from 10 years to eight years; staff sergeant 20 years to 15 years; and technical sergeant 22 years to 20 years.

The new HYT policy will impact slightly more than one-half of one percent of the enlisted force, or approximately 1,700 Airmen.

"These HYT changes are necessary to help us meet our end-strength," Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Roy said. "We are a highly competitive force, and this will make us an even more competitive one."

This timeline provides Airmen time to prepare for promotion testing.

"Airmen control their careers. We are announcing it now so Airmen affected by the new HYT have ample time to study before their promotion tests," Roy said.

The Air Force last changed HYT in 2010 when the service went back to the pre-2003 HYT levels due to end-strength stabilization

"It is the supervisor's role to ensure Airmen are informed and a career path is laid-out - but it is incumbent on every Airman to strive to be the best and reach these milestones in a timely fashion," said Air Force Personnel Center Command Chief Ruben Gonzalez Jr.

Senior airmen and staff sergeants who separate because of HYT will receive involuntary separation pay. Technical sergeants may apply for full retirement if leaving active duty because of reaching their HYT just as they would under existing policy.

"We are committed to helping these Airmen and their families during their transition. Each will receive separation pay and many other benefits," Roy said.

Airmen separating will also receive 180 days of extended medical care for themselves and their family, a second opportunity to enroll in the Post-9/11 GI Bill, NAF hiring preference, permissive TDY for employment and relocation activities, two years of commissary and Exchange privileges among other benefits.

An Airman's total active federal military service date, or TAFMSD, will determine whether he or she is grandfathered under previous HYT limits or impacted by the new HYT limits.

As examples:

-- Senior airmen whose TAFMSD is Sept. 30, 2005, or earlier would separate under on their original HYT date, but no later than Sept. 29, 2013. If the senior airman's TAFMSD is after Sept. 30, 2013, then the Airman's HYT date would be adjusted to the new eight-year limit.

-- Staff Sergeants with a TAFMSD of Sept. 30, 1997 or earlier will retire no later than the 1st day of the month following their original HYT. Staff Sergeants with a TAFMSD of Oct. 1, 1997 through Sept. 30, 1998 must separate on Sept. 29, 2013. Staff Sergeants with a TAFMSD of Oct. 1, 1998 or later will have their HYT adjusted to the new 15-year HYT level.

-- Technical Sergeants who exceed the new HYT will be allowed to remain on active duty to their original HYT or Sept. 1, 2013, whichever is earlier. For example, technical sergeants with a TAFMSD of Aug. 31, 1993 or earlier will retire no later than the 1st day of the month following their original HYT, but no later than Sept. 1, 2013. Technical Sergeants with a TAFMSD of Sept. 1, 1993 or later will have their HYT established at the new 20-year HYT level.

Airmen can find their TAFMSD through the Air Force Personnel Services website at and receive additional counseling through their local Force Support Squadron or Military Personnel Section's Career Development section.

Airmen assigned overseas who do not have enough time to move to the continental United States will have their date eligible to return from overseas, or DEROS, involuntarily extended to match their new HYT and date of separation. Those whose DEROS exceeds the new HYT and DOS will have their DEROS curtailed to match the new HYT.

Airmen are also encouraged to verify their active duty service commitment for the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill transfer of benefits to family members' eligibility. Airmen who will have their HYT reduced and the reduction will not allow the Airman to complete the ADSC associated with the Post 9/11 GI Bill transfer of educational benefits option should contact their local education office. They may also visit the Air Force's Post-9/11 GI Bill web page at: for additional information.

Extensions of HYT due to unusual or extraordinary circumstances are still applicable under existing guidelines. These include reasons such as extreme personal hardship or when an extension is clearly in the best interest of the Air Force.

"Air Force leadership is committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure the resiliency of our Airmen and families," Gonzalez said. "Our bases and local communities have resources available to alleviate financial and emotional stress."

Airmen can find more information about those programs through their unit first sergeant or at their local airman and family readiness centers, he said.

This change to policy will not affect Air Force Reserve or Air National Guard members.

For more information about high year of tenure limits or any other personnel related issue, visit the Air Force Personnel Services website at

3/31/2015 4:36:45 AM ET
While I agree you'd think 8 years is ample time to make rank with these new ever-more-competitive standards of comparing people to their peers I honestly believe there is a limit to how much BS volunteering work can be performed to earn that top 5 percentor whatever. There's only so many hours in the day to earn degree after degree while giving every waking hour to your job or the freaking booster club. When getting promoted takes over your life there's something terribly wrong. I feel as if the air force is becoming more focused on nerdy airmen who study 247 and less on training them to TRULY be experts at their jobs. Experience is the BEST education.
Justin, Osan AB
9/6/2012 2:01:48 AM ET
Consider how much you've invested in an Airman before waiving him or her. Why spend on a new Airman Basic when you can keep the technically trained
8/28/2012 9:44:40 AM ET
I agree some with the HYT but my concern is our young Airmen are not getting the mentoring they need to succeed. They have to take ownership but what I am seeing is less engagement of senior enlisted to help prepare our Airmen for the private sector. With downsizing the services need more worker bees to get the mission accomplished. If managed properly and you have a balance of worker bees to include E-6 and above the mission can get accomplished. As the saying goes too many Chiefs and not enough Indians. Do we really need to have a NCOIC Flight Chief or Superintendent at every turn if it takes away from the worker bees I don't think so.
KGS, Florida
8/17/2012 10:10:35 AM ET
While I think the new HYT policy is a step in the right direction it still falls short. Lets face it nearly every airman will be E-4 at 36 months TIS some earlier with BTZ or 20-28 months TIG as A1C. TIG requirements for SSgt are only six months as a Senior Airman therefore there should really be no excuses why every enlisted person in the AF isnt a SSgt at six years TIS. The HYT for Senior Airman should be six years instead of eight 12 years for SSgt and 17 for TSgt. In my opinion there should be no enlisted persons retiring from the AF lower than the grade of MSgt. Having 17 years to build and develop yourself as far as education PME and everything else is more than enough time to make the cut for MSgt. I have worked in multiple joint environments for many years and unfortunately complacency is far more predominant in the AF enlisted ranks than it is in any other service. I hope these new HYT numbers either motivate our airman to better themselves and make the ranks they
1/10/2012 10:25:32 AM ET
Why should the AF invest more time in people affected by this when clearly these people do not invest the time in themselves In today's inflated promotion system if you cannot make rank past TSgt you are doing or have done something terribly wrong. Get past blaming the system and be accountable for your own.
ddub, TX
1/9/2012 4:17:38 AM ET
2 sides to this coin. If you can't get to MSgt in 20 years at these promotion rates then you probably aren't the sharpest knife in the drawer and should be let go. The I can't test well excuse is the same excuse for the people who can't pass their PT tests. But that's mostly due to lack of effort and not a problem with the test although the waist measurement is asinine but I digress...The other issue is that in the civilian world people stay blue collar for 30 years doing the same job. If a SSgt is performing well why not keep him for 20-25 years Some people just don't want to get promoted. I had a friend who didn't want the hassles of higher rank but did his job very well and retired as a SSgt at 20. I do not want to make SMSgt and therefore am not trying but I still do my job better than most. However bottom line is that funding is what drives all of these decisions more than anything. But if the DoD really wants to save money I've got a thousand better ways to do
Padrino, Aviano
12/28/2011 10:25:43 AM ET
Rich- I don't buy the can't test well excuse. Ask most low scorers if they took a study skills class or sought other tuturing and the answer is NO. Learn to study properly then make rank. No excuses especially when you only need 60s on your test.
Maj, here
12/28/2011 5:18:40 AM ET
Airmen control their careers. We are announcing it now so Airmen affected by the new HYT have ample time to study before their promotion tests Roy said. If that is true then take the EPR out of testing for rank.
David, Fairchild AFB
12/28/2011 4:03:11 AM ET
Rich I disagree. All the other Armed Services have similar rules regarding HYT. Regarding testing your whole career from the beginning you are testing i.e. ASVAB Tech School CDCs etc. and must succeed to advance. Also if you look at what scores are required from the PFESKT they are not overwhelmingly high to advance in rank. If you say personnel are very knowledgeable in their jobs they should be able to test very well in their SKT which may make up their score from the PFE portion of their testing.
Jonathon, Spangdahlem AB
12/23/2011 3:47:45 AM ET
This is a huge slap in the face to all of us who have served and have done well. This affects the people who have difficulty testing but are very knowledgable in the job. You give rank to someone who can take tests but cant do the job. Theory is great and all but practice is where its at. By far the worst decision the Air Force has made and I hope that it destroys them. those that can't teach
Rich, Al Udeid
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