High Year of Tenure (HYT) represents the maximum number of years Airmen may serve on active duty. The Air Force designed HYT policy to manage the size of the career force and to induce a reasonable promotion flow to all grades. HYT also establishes a balance between the need for experience and youth in the enlisted force, and provides the Air Force with a method of stabilizing the career structure of the enlisted force. HYT is set at the following service points:
Senior Airman and below – 8 years of Total Active Federal Military Service (TAFMS)
Staff Sergeant – 15 years of TAFMS
Technical Sergeant – 20 years of TAFMS
Master Sergeant – 24 years of TAFMS
Senior Master Sergeant- 26 years of TAFMS
Chief Master Sergeant – 30 years of TAFMS
The Air Force rarely extends HYT dates but Airmen may request an extension to their HYT for mission critical needs shown to be in the best interest of the Air Force, or when the Airmen are experiencing an extreme personal hardship, i.e., circumstances or a situation uncommon to other Airmen.
Requests submitted based on the best interest of the Air Force must clearly show how the extension serves Air Force interests. Normally, Airmen make these requests when they are uniquely qualified, are filling a critical position essential to the success of a vital mission, and the Air Force has not projected a suitable replacement. Requests must be fully documented and endorsed by the unit and wing commanders, and submitted no earlier than 12 months and no later than six months prior to the Airman’s current HYT. The maximum period of extension is one year. Multiple extension approvals or requests for a period of more than one year are not normally considered.
Requests submitted based on hardship must clearly show the hardship circumstances, how the HYT extension is the only way to eliminate or ease the hardship, and the efforts the Airman took to remedy the situation. A hardship cannot be common to other military members in the course of a military career. Requests must be fully documented and endorsed by the unit and wing commanders and submitted no earlier than 12 months prior to Airman’s current HYT. The maximum period of extension is one year. Multiple extension approvals or requests for a period of more than one year are not normally considered.
Requests for HYT extensions on Senior Master Sergeants and below will be completed using the High Year Tenure Extension Request Form once submitted the request is forwarded to the AFPC Retirements Branch (AFPC/DPSOR) for consideration. Requests for HYT extensions on Chief Master Sergeants will be forwarded to the AF Chief Master Sergeant Management Office (AF/DPE) for review.
At the time an Airman is selected for promotion, HYT is adjusted to the years of service for the projected grade. In the event a projected promotion is cancelled, the HYT will revert back to the years of service for the current (lower) grade unless the Airman's TAFMS exceeds the HYT for the lower grade (see below).
DEMOTIONS OR AIRMEN WHOSE PROMOTION SEQUENCE NUMBER IS CANCELLED
Demoted Airmen, or those whose promotion sequence number is cancelled, will have their HYT adjusted to the service point described above unless the Airman’s TAFMS exceeds the HYT for the lower grade. In cases where the Airman’s TAFMS exceeds the adjusted HYT, the HYT will be established as follows:
Sequence Number is Cancelled
TAFMS at Time of Demotion or Cancellation of Promotion Sequence Number
Senior Airman and below
Over 8 but less than 16 years
120 days following the demotion date or date the sequence number is cancelled (See Note 1)
Over 15 but less than 16 years
120 days following demotion date or date the sequence number is cancelled (See Note 1)
Staff Sergeant and below
16 or more, but less than 20 years
20 years of TAFMS
Senior Master Sergeant and below
Over 20 years
Last day of the sixth month following demotion effective date (See Note 2)
Note 1: If the adjusted HYT exceeds 16 years of TAFMS, the Airman will be considered lengthy service qualified and the HYT will be re-adjusted to 20 years of TAFMS.
Note 2: Individuals assigned overseas who are demoted and exceed the years of service for the revised HYT will have their HYT adjusted to equal their Date Eligibility for Return Overseas (DEROS).
In accordance with AFI 36-2606, Reenlistments in the United States Air Force, reenlistment eligible First Term Airmen (FTA) authorized a Selective Reenlistment Bonus (SRB) in Zone A will have their HYT adjusted to 10 years of service provided the reenlistment/extension occurs before they complete six years TAFMS. Additionally, Master Sergeants and above who are authorized a Critical Skills Retention Bonus (CSRB) will have their HYT updated upon receipt of the reenlistment contract authorizing the CSRB. HYT for Master Sergeants who accept the CSRB after 19 years of service will be extended to 25 years. HYT for Senior Master Sergeants who accept the CSRB at 25 years of service will be extended to 28 years.
Airmen separated under HYT who are otherwise fully qualified for retention are eligible for full separation pay. Airmen who are not otherwise fully qualified for retention will receive half separation pay.
NOTE: Airmen must have a minimum of six years of TAFMS and not be serving in their initial enlistment to be eligible for separation pay. The initial term of enlistment is the service obligation the Airman incurred upon initial enlistment into the Air Force.