On Jan. 30, 2020, the World Health Organization declared a public health emergency of international concern for the 2019 novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. On Jan. 31, 2020, the secretary of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency in the United States and announced new measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The current epidemic, which originated in mainland China, has demonstrated the capacity of COVID-19 to spread globally. While supporting other government agencies’ response to the COVID-19 threat, the Department of the Air Force is responding appropriately to protect the health of the force and maintain operational readiness.
A: Deployments are not cancelled, but the Secretary of Defense has ordered a stop movement for all OCONUS deployments with exceptions. Airmen will start deployment orders in accordance with their AF 938. Airmen are still required to complete pre-deployment training and should confirm with the training POC that classes are still scheduled, prior to departure from home station. Airmen will return to home station at completion of training. Airmen will not proceed to deployed location until directed.
A: Mobilized Airman are still expected to return home at their TDY expiration date, unless there is a SECDEF approved extension. Airmen that have volunteered to deploy (12301d) have the option to extend in theater with Combatant Commander’s approval. Airmen that do not elect to extend will return at their TDY expiration date. All redeployers should expect travel delays upon return to CONUS.
A: Currently, there is no official directive to quarantine members before deploying. After members start their AF 938, they are required to clear medical screening prior to departure to the deployed location. Medical screening will determine if you need to be quarantined. Your quarantine location will be at the discretion of your unit commander.
A: Pre and Post-deployment medical screening will determine if an Airman needs to be quarantined. Your quarantine location will be at the discretion of your unit commander.
A: No, the intent of quarantine is to prevent the spread of the disease.
A: ROM is required for all Airmen that have traveled through a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Travel Health Notice (THN) Level 2 or 3 country via military or commercial means. Members will be placed in ROM at an appropriate location at the discretion of their commander for 14 days (beginning the day of departure from the Level 2 or 3 country).
A: Upon completion of ROM, Airmen will complete normal post deployment actions to include downtime and leave. Airmen must complete all processing action to include SHPE and TAP, but may elect to forfeit a part or all of their downtime after required in-processing action are complete. Additionally, Airmen have the option to forego (e.g., carryover, sell) earned leave.
A: Airmen who test COVID-19 positive, will transition from a deployment order to a pre-MEDCON order. Members will continue to receive pay and benefits.
A: Any hardship requests initiated at the unit level, will require endorsement by the first GO in the chain of command and coordinated by the FGC for an “Exception to Policy” (ETP). ETPs are not guaranteed and must be approved by the Joint Staff DJ-3.
A: Orders should not end in theater due to Stop Movement. The Force Generation Center is currently monitoring all TDY expiration dates and coordinating with unit IPRs to extend orders in accordance with applicable laws and policy.
A: Family members are encouraged to stay in contact with Airmen, and are welcome to contact the unit’s commander or 1st Sgt to for up-to-date deployment and redeployment information.
A: Your Installation Deployment Readiness Center (IDRC) is your first resource for deployment/redeployment questions. If they can’t answer your questions, contact the Force Generation Center (FGC) at DSN 497-0003 (Commercial 478-327-003). You can also email questions to the applicable FGC workflow.
Q: Does the Stop Movement apply to Reservists not in duty status? Or their families?
A: All reservists, to include civil service employees, currently in duty status (TR, IMA, and ART, MPA, RPA, IDT or civilian travel orders) are subject to Stop Movement for government funded Domestic Travel for DoD Components issued March 13, 2020. A Reservist who is not in status but is either in or coming from an area under the CDC’s Travel Health Notice Level 2 or 3, is required to be quarantined for 14 days. The Secretary of Defense stop movement guidance applies to all forms of official travel such as permanent change of station, temporary duty, and government-funded leave for uniformed and civilian personnel and includes personal leave and other non-official travel for uniformed personnel. Level 3 locations currently include most of Europe, South Korea, China, and Iran.
Q: What should I do if I live in an OCONUS in a level-3 affected area?
A: Remain in place. See Part I, para 3 of “Stop Movement and Concurrent Guidance Related to Travel Restrictions Due to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)”. Airmen currently at a location impacted by Stop Movement will remain in-place until further guidance or Stop Movement is terminated.
Q: I am a reservist returning home from official duty in a Level 2 or Level 3 Countries? What should I do?
A: Based on SecDef Stop Movement order, members in status and ordered to remain in place based on level 2 or 3 locations will be placed under a minimum 14-day restriction of movement (ROM). Orders will be extended using the same funding type (MPA/RPA) to allow time to determine whether a member is infected. Exceptions to SecDef’s Stop Movement policy for individuals who wish to return prior to this are required to have the Combatant Commander or SecAF’s approval unless delegated to a General Officer or Senior Executive Service member and those coming back to HOR.
Q: If I am TDY or participating in an exercise in travel restricted areas (i.e. Korea), will I be kept on orders for their quarantine once returned?
A: We are complying with all DoD travel restrictions and clearance processes. If an Air Force reserve member is currently on orders performing duty, they may finish their TDY, however this is up to the individual commander. They may curtail orders or extend orders accordingly depending on the specific situation to protect the health of their Airmen.
Q: My HOR is designated a Level 3 country. I am also assigned to a unit in a separate Level 3 country (ex - I live in Italy and serve in South Korea). How do I handle this situation?
A: The AF issued a stop movement of all personnel to, from or through Centers for Disease Control and Prevention designated Level 3 COVID-19 locations effective March 13 and for the next 60 days following Secretary of Defense announcement of new travel restrictions. If you live in a Level 3 country, you should not report for official duty until this stop movement order is terminated. Please reach out to your RIO detachment or unit of assignment if you have specific questions.
Q: If an AFR civilian member is on leave outside the local area and is unable to return to their duty location due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, will the member be forced to extend chargeable leave?
A: OPM has determined that agencies may authorize weather and safety leave for asymptomatic civilian members unable to return to their duty location due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Use ATAAPS code LN.
Q: If a military member in status is on ordinary leave outside of the local area is unable to return to the local area due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, can leave be ended outside the duty area?
A: For Airmen currently on leave at an impacted Stop Movement location, the unit commander may adjust the leave upon the member’s return to home station.
Q: Does the SECDEF travel restriction policy impact AFR members? If so, who or what defines my local area?
A: This leave restriction applies to all AFR members currently in status. Per AFI 36-3003, leave begins and ends in the local area. The local area is the place where the member lives and from which he or she commutes to the duty station. Each Installation Commander may or may not have additional local policies for distance.
As of 16 Mar 20, there are no travel restrictions within CONUS. However, given pockets of high transmission within the US, Public Health Emergency Officers should advise commanders of travel risk and ensure travelers are armed with knowledge of National Provider Identifier and self-observation for 14 days prior upon return.
Q: I am a Reservist TDY for an Air University professional development course. How is it affected by the SecAF’s stop movement memo?
A: Many Air Education and Training Command Air University activities have been suspended to include all Eeaker Center functional courses and future leadership (Wing/Group/Squadron commander) level courses i.e., NCO Academy, Chiefs, and First Sergeant courses, as well as the Leadership Development Course and Squadron Officers School. Members should contact their course directors or the Air University website for further guidance.
Q: If I am performing a permanent change of station to a CDC Alert Level 3 Location, and am ordered to travel to an alternate location until transportation is available, what allowances am I authorized?
A: You may be authorized per diem while awaiting transportation. You should contact your new duty station to determine whether you are considered to be awaiting transportation, or if they are going to provide you Temporary Duty Orders. Dependent travelers may only receive per diem if they are in an awaiting transportation status.
Q: If my organization directs or allows telework, can I telework from outside of my location commuting area?
A: Yes, if the telework or telecommute arrangements have been established and approved. For AFR military personnel, telecommute duty locations are determined by the commander. For civil service employee telework agreements may be utilized. Civilian employees should consult with local HR offices to determine appropriate collective bargaining obligations where bargaining unit employees are impacted.
Q: What should I do if I return to civilian employment (including ARTs) following a UTA and become symptomatic with knowledge of a fellow Airmen testing positive in my wing?
A: ARC members who become symptomatic following UTA should follow guidance issued by the CDC and SecDef. Members should take precautionary measures to self-quarantine and limit exposure to others. They should also contact their commander immediately for further guidance.
Q: What should I do if I am on MPA/RPA in an area requiring quarantine?
A: Airmen should inform the unit leadership and follow country, state, CDC, DOD, and local guidance to comply with all directives. Should RPA/MPA tour end prior to quarantine period, extend Airmen’s orders through the quarantine period.
Q: Are UTAs being cancelled?
A: In light of current travel restrictions, Commanders will decide if drills will be conducted or if alternative training methods will be used to accomplish training requirements balancing the mission need against the health risks to airman, local conditions as well as relationships with local partners. Commanders have the discretion to excuse or reschedule wing UTAs, reschedule individual UTAs, create super UTAs in combination with upcoming UTA drills. Commanders may also consider using telework if within the boundaries of governing regulation to accomplish online training and, where possible, mission-essential related operations as outlined in the AFRC/CC’s 2019 Novel Coronavirus Commander’s Intent memo. Refer to AFRC/CC memo “2019 Novel Coronavirus Surveillance and Tracking Guidance;” additional guidance will be provided as this crisis evolves.
Q: If a Reservist contracts COVID-19 because they were on orders in affected areas, will they be allowed to process a Line of Duty (LOD)?
A: The LOD determination/process is always allowable for any condition incurred in the line of duty.
Q. What happens if a Reservist is in danger of having a “bad year” due to COVID-19 travel restrictions?
A. Liberal excusal or reschedule policies to include future ‘super’ four-day UTAs are a course of action commanders can consider to facilitate members achieving a good year. Virtual options to continue required training and events are also encouraged, when feasible. Individual members may work with their unit leadership for reschedules or equivalent training opportunities. Members should work with their chains of command for options available to meet satisfactory retirement and fiscal year requirements.
Q: Will Reserve units cancel the Seasoning Training Program?
A: The discretion to cancel STP resides with commanders. Unit commanders will determine if members on STP are mission essential for operations.
Q. I was living off-post and receiving BAS without deduction for meals. Now, because of COVID-19, I’ve been ordered to move on-post, stay in government quarters and eat my meals at the government dining facility. Will I lose my BAS? Are they going to start deducting for meals from my allowance?
A. Because of the unique and unusual circumstance surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, effective March 27, 2020, Service Secretaries were authorized to allow Service members (both officers and enlisted) housed in Government quarters and subsisted through Government-provided meals, who are not entitled to the meals portion of a per diem, to receive their meals at no charge, and to continue to receive their BAS (without deduction). This authority was granted because the DoD, your Service, and your commanders recognize that in response to the spread of COVID-19, personnel are being restricted in their movements to self-monitor, protect theirs and their families’ health, or assure mission function capability. Service Secretaries may delegate this authority, but no lower than to commanders of installations, bases, stations, or ships. Contact your chain of command to find out more about how your Service is implementing this new authority.
Q. What kind of tasking can be performed at an alternate place of duty?
A. Tasking will be at the Commander’s discretion. Examples of appropriate tasking include preparing for unit training or accomplishing unit administrative tasks. Most tasks requiring access to military hardware will not be appropriate.
Q. Where can I find telework guidance?
A. Refer to your specific Service and command guidance for further information.
Q. How do I access Common Access Card (CAC)-enabled websites from an alternate place of duty?
A. Consult your Service and command for available remote access equipment and remote connection options.
Q. Will IDT at an alternate place of duty, including telework, be authorized after COVID-19?
A. Commanders exercise broad discretion and flexibility to schedule or reschedule IDTs. Such flexibility includes authorizing absences, authorizing equivalent training, or adjusting/rescheduling IDT.
Q: Is the AFR mandating 14-day self-quarantine for Reservists not in status here in CONUS?
A: AFR members not in status should follow current CDC guidance issued for enhanced precautions for Level 2 countries; self-monitor and practice social distancing in addition to avoiding contact with sick people and employ frequent hand washing.
Q: What is the recommendation for reservists that serve as healthcare personnel or first responders as their civilian job?
A: Initial guidance for reserve members not in a full-time status is to follow CDC guidance including self-quarantine, monitoring and reporting to their unit.
Q: What are the rules for rescheduling Reserve PT tests? For how long do they hold? What if my local base has suspended PT testing?
A: As of 16 Mar 20, all fitness assessments have been suspended for all Department of the Air Force personnel until Jun 2020. More information will be forthcoming as this situation evolves.
Q: Is the March Yellow Ribbon Event cancelled?
A: Yes, all Yellow Ribbon Events have been cancelled through May 11, 2020.
Q: What AFR missions and/or positions are considered mission essential?
A: The SecAF has designated all Global Force Management missions as mission essential; all other mission essential requirements are determined by unit commanders who will balance the mission against the health and safety of their unit, mission readiness and local conditions.
Q1: What is the Selected Reserve?
A1: A member of the Selected Reserve is an actively serving Airmen who is currently assigned to an Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, or active duty unit. These Airmen are fully qualified and trained in their fields and able to deploy as tasked/required. Selected Reserve members regularly participate in unit training assemblies and have annual tour requirements.
Q2: Are Reserve medical personnel being mobilized?
A2: On March 27, the President signed an Executive Order to mobilize the Air Reserve Component (Guard and Reserve), as needed, in support of COVID-19 response. We expect medical personnel to be targeted for mobilization first. Currently, the Air Force Reserve plans to explore Selected Reserve and Participating Individual Ready Reserve (PIRR) members already serving to fill mission taskings. However, this Executive Order does give authority to expand to the IRR to mobilize under 10 USC Section 12302 as mission dictates. ARC members must be prepared for mobilization at any time.
Q3: Where is the location of tasking?
A3: At this time, there are no official taskings for COVID-19 support. Opportunities and locations that require support are contingent on operational need. In the event ARC members are tasked, the location may vary, depending on the situation.
Q4: When would potential taskings occur?
A4: At present, we do not have an official tasking for COVID-19 response. However, established procedures are in place to identify/validate all assigned taskings to the tasked installation/unit. ARC members--SelRes, PIRR and IRR--will be notified as mission dictates.
Q5: Does this mobilization apply to medical personnel who perform medical functions in their civilian jobs but DO NOT currently hold a Medical AFSC in the AF Reserve?
A5: This applies to medical personnel who are fully trained (AFSC/skill level/grade) and able to meet operational requirements associated with COVID-19 response.
Q6: Will this be RPA or MPA funded?
A6: Funds for pay and allowances for ARC members placed on voluntary orders (12301d) are provided from the Military Personnel Appropriation (MPA) account. For ARC members activated under 12302, pay and allowances come from the active component.
Q7: As a medic who would like to volunteer, do I need to be current on medical readiness training?
A7: Yes. However, we understand the current situation with the travel ban and the risk of possible transmission of COVID-19 creates a challenge in assuring medical readiness currency. Therefore, we are working closely with the Defense Health Agency to provide clear direction and guidance regarding life support skills and any appropriate training needed to meet a potential tasking requirement.
Q8: Will DAV codes or annual readiness requirements be waived to volunteer for this opportunity?
A8: There is no easy answer to this question. Waiver approval to allow ARC members with DAV codes to support a prospective tasking will depend on the specific code and other information. Waivers and/or exceptions will be addressed on an individual basis. HAF/A1 is currently exploring potential waivers to annual readiness requirements, as well. More information will be provided as it becomes available.
Q9: For reservists who de-mobilize during this period, if they complete their orders and leave active duty, is there any plan for follow on care in the event they begin to exhibit symptoms after their orders terminate?
A9: A post-deployment medical screening will determine if an Airman needs to be quarantined. Your quarantine location will be at the discretion of your unit commander/assigned station. Restriction of Movement (ROM) is required for all Airmen who have traveled through a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Travel Health Notice (THN) Level 2 or 3 country via military or commercial means. Members will be placed in ROM at an appropriate local-area location at the discretion of their commander for 14 days (beginning the day of departure from the Level 2 or 3 country). Upon completion of ROM, Airmen will complete normal post deployment actions to include downtime (reconstitution) and leave. These are separate. If a member is on voluntary orders (12301d), the same rules apply, reference quarantine; however, their orders would be extended to cover the 14-day quarantine period. If they exhibit symptoms and test positive while still on that order, then they will be placed on pre-MEDCON orders. If they exhibit signs or symptoms after the order ends, normal Line of Duty Determination rules and procedures would apply.
Q10: How will the mandatory quarantine once back in the states affect the orders of Reserve and Guard members? Specifically referencing the two weeks of reconstitution normally given at home base to close out the deployment orders.
A10: In coordination with their prospective commanders, the unit deployment managers and unit ARTs will determine the appropriate plan for post-deployment reconstitution aligned with mandatory quarantine measures that would ensure the safety and health of the deployed member.
Q11: How do I volunteer to mobilize?
A11: Airmen willing to volunteer for mobilization should contact their Squadron Commander, unit deployment manager, Readiness Integration Office Detachment, Functional Area Manager and email: HQAFRC.SG.AFRCPHEOs@us.af.mil to self-identify their availability. In the body of the e-mail please provide your name, rank, AFSC, assigned/attached unit, civilian email, address, phone number and if you are currently involved in COVID-19 response in your civilian job.
Q: What is the IRR?
A: The IRR stands for the Individual Ready Reserve. IRR members have an unfulfilled portion of their initial 8-year Military Service Obligation or other service commitment (i.e. separation pay election). Members are assigned as a result of recent separation from active duty or a participating guard/reserve program.
Q: What is the role of the IRR and how will they be utilized?
A: While in the IRR, members are a mobilization asset and are subject to recall to active duty in case of a national emergency/war. As members of the IRR, they will be notified by the Air Reserve Personnel Center to meet annual screening requirements, such as updating personal information, contact information, and annotating medical status changes. Members may also be required to attend a mandatory in-person Muster screening. Additionally, IRR members are also able to participate in mobilization exercises. When mobilized, members will become Active Duty assets and will be utilized in a manner consistent with Active Duty requirements.
Q: How do separated or retired members find out what status they are assigned to and how long their IRR or PIRR service commitment is?
A: Members who have separated from the Air Force are able to find if they have fulfilled their MSO by checking section 6 on their most recent DD Form 214. A Reserve member’s separation order will provide this information. The NGB Form 22, Report of Separation and Record of Service, will indicate if Guard members have been transferred to the AF Reserve. Members can also contact the Total Force Service Center at 1-800-525-0102.
Q: Why is the Air Force mobilizing the IRR?
A: At this time, the President has approved Title 10 USC, Section 12302, Partial Mobilization, for COVID-19 operations. Mobilization of the IRR means that there could be shortfalls among Active and Reserve components that need immediate filling. Mobilization will be for up to 2 years unless formally released sooner due to end of national emergency.
Q: What specialties are most likely to be mobilized?
A: At this time we have no formal requirements from Air Staff; however, an IRR Mobilization would likely target certain medical specialties. Military leaders are likely to call upon military personnel already actively serving in the Selected Reserve first and look to the IRR to fill shortages in certain skill sets.
Q: How many members make up the AF IRR program?
A: Approximately 23,000 personnel make up the Air Force IRR force.
Q: How long does an individual have to report once notified in the IRR?
A: Typically, a member has 30 days to report to their designated location once notified, but this timeline can be waived by the Secretary of Defense. Minimum time to report is 5 days. Report date will be listed on the member’s orders.
Q: How long are IRR required to serve once mobilized?
A: Up to 2 years unless formally released sooner due to end of national emergency.
Q: Once released from duty, will the member be subject to restart their IRR commitment again?
A: Once released, if a member has fulfilled their service commitment while mobilized, they will be discharged. If they still have time remaining on their commitment, they will go back into the IRR to finish that time out and will be discharged once completed.
Q: What is required of IRR members when they are activated?
A: Members are required to report to their designated gaining location on the date and time specified on their orders. Additional information pertaining to uniform, travel, etc. will be on the orders.
Q: How do we monitor the IRR and what is ARPC’s role?
A: ARPC will mobilize and manage IRR members until arrival and accession into Active Duty. ARPC’s role is to identify who will be mobilized based on direction from Air Staff. They will create and disseminate orders to mobilized Airmen. These members then become Active Duty assets once accessed and remain on Active Duty through the duration of the emergency or conflict until released, but not to exceed two years.
Q: What if an IRR is called up but is not current on dental and medical Reserve requirements or does not have a serviceable uniform?
A: Any call up of the IRR will include medical/dental screening along with uniform issue and other initial actions upon mobilization.
Q. I am a member of the IRR and still have a military service obligation. I’m interested in serving as part of the COVID-19 response. How long can I serve for?
A. Based on Executive Order 13912, dated 27 March 20, the President gave the Service Secretaries the authority to bring members of the IRR back on active duty for a period not to exceed 2 years. Contact ARPC/DPAM at ARPC.PIM.Management@us.af.mil to notify them of your availability to serve and/or for additional information.
Q. I am in the IRR, and I do not want to serve. How likely am I to be recalled?
A. The required skill sets that are needed for this crisis are still being determined at this time. Once that data is finalized, the Services will determine how these individuals will be mobilized. As our nation’s response to COVID-19 is continually evolving, it is not possible at this time to predict the likelihood of a recall for our IRR members.
(e.g., Dive, Demolition, Parachute, or Aviation Incentive Pays)
Q. I am eligible for one or more special or incentive pays based on the hazardous or other specific duties I perform in my assignment (e.g., diving, parachuting, or flying). Because of COVID-19, I’m not able to meet the minimum performance requirements for the pay(s). Will my pay(s) stop?
A. Your command, your Service, and DoD recognize that, as a result of the effects or extended effects of COVID-19, Service members (active and reserve) who are receiving special or incentive pays that require the performance of specific duties (e.g., Hazardous Duty Incentive Pay, Aviation Incentive Pay) may be unable to perform the required duties through no fault of their own. As long as you are otherwise eligible for your special and incentive pay(s), your Service Secretary has the authority to waive the performance requirements so you can continue to receive your pay(s). This waiver authority is available even for Service members who have just arrived at a unit and have not yet met the initial duty performance requirement(s) for one of these pays. Service Secretaries are authorized to delegate this waiver authority to the first general officer, flag officer, or civilian equivalent in the chain of command (in some cases, depending upon existing policy, delegation may go lower in the chain of command). Contact your chain of command to find out if you qualify for a waiver and whether you need to take action to obtain one.
Q. I am a “drilling” reservist or National Guard member and receive one or more special or incentive pays based on the hazardous or other specific duties I perform in my Reserve or National Guard unit (e.g., diving, parachuting, or flying). Right now, some of our drill periods are being cancelled, rescheduled, deferred, or excused, and some are being conducted virtually. If I’m not able to meet the performance requirement(s) for my pay(s), will I be able to qualify for a waiver too?
A. Yes. Service Secretaries have the same authority (under the same conditions) to waive the performance requirements for Reserve Component (RC) members as they have for active component members. Therefore, as long as RC members are otherwise eligible for their special and incentive pay(s), the Service Secretaries have the authority to waive the performance requirements so that RC members can continue to receive their pay(s). Contact your chain of command to find out if you qualify for a waiver and whether you need to take action to obtain one.
Q. If not all participation requirements are met by the end of the anniversary window, will the service member be paid a pro-rated amount?
A. When member completes rescheduled IDT period(s) then additional payments for that participation will be executed. NOTE: OSD (P&R) is working with all of the services (i.e., HQ USAF/REPP) to submit satisfactory R/R year legislative proposal and/or grant exceptions to policy related to participation and excusal impacts.
Q. I have full time SGLI coverage because I am scheduled to drill at least 12 times a year, but I am unable to drill because of the pandemic. Will I lose my SGLI coverage?
A. No. Under existing policy, Reserve component (RC) members will not lose their SGLI, Traumatic SGLI (TSGLI), or Family SGLI (FSGLI) coverage because they were unable to drill or perform Annual Training (AT) due to COVID-19 and, therefore, didn’t pay their premiums from their inactive or active duty pay. Similar to members whose drills are excused, rescheduled, or grouped together in some months throughout the year, your coverage will continue even in months where you did not earn pay. You should expect, however, that any missed premiums, will be deducted in a lump-sum once you return to a pay status (including being paid for drills you perform at an alternate duty site or via telework).
Q. Can I change my SGLI coverages without going to my drill site or support office?
A. Yes! Members with full time coverage can use the SGLI Online Enrollment System (SOES) located at https://milconnect-pki.dmdc.osd.mil/milconnect/protected/portlet/soes to manage their coverage and beneficiaries from any computer.
Q. What is TRICARE Reserve Select?
A. The TRICARE Reserve Select (TRS) health plan is available for purchase by qualified members of the Selected Reserve (SelRes).
Q. Are TRS premiums automatically deducted from a Reserve member's monthly service paycheck?
A. No. TRS premium is NOT taken out of a member's monthly drill pay. The member is required to set up a separate payment method from his or her own bank or credit card. Therefore, non-receipt of drill pay is not directly connected to non-payment of TRS premium. To check eligibility requirements, review health care and payment options or to find answers to other questions regarding Tricare, please visit the Tricare website at https://www.tricare.mil.
Q. Is there the ability for a Reserve member to seek waiver of monthly premiums?
A. Since members must pay monthly premiums that represent 28 percent of the cost of the coverage by law, TRS premiums cannot be waived. However, to address concerns that members of the SelRes may be unable to pay the monthly TRS premiums due to the COVID-19 emergency, if the TRICARE contractor is unsuccessful in collecting the premium at the beginning of the month from the member's bank account or credit card on file, the contractor will delay terminating coverage until 90 days after the date the COVID-19 emergency has ended, as determined by the Director, Defense Health Agency (DHA).
Q. What happens if a Reserve member cannot pay the monthly, or accumulated, premiums?
A. SelRes members are strongly encouraged to continue to pay their premiums each month if possible, as unpaid premiums accumulate each month and cannot be waived. If not fully paid within 90 days after the end date of the COVID-19 emergency period, as determined by the Director, DHA, the TRS coverage will be terminated retroactive to the last premium paid-through date. If any TRICARE payments were made for those uncovered dates of service, the TRICARE contractor will be required to recoup the payments. If a member is in need of assistance during this time of financial difficulty, they are encouraged to contact their chain of command and local Airmen and Family Readiness Centers, or contact Military One Source at https://www.militaryonesource.mil/ or 1-800-342-9647.
Q. If a member has an expired CAC card, does that affect a member’s Tricare enrollment?
A. No. Tricare enrollment is not tied to the CAC expiration date. As long as a Service Member’s continued service is reflected in DEERS they will maintain their Tricare enrollment. Members with an expiring or expired CAC should consult their personnel offices for guidance on renewals. Additional guidance on CAC card expiration is still being worked. Updates will be published as new guidance becomes available.
Q. What is the way ahead for in-residence courses for IDE and SDE?
A. IAW the AETC/CC 18 Mar 2020 memorandum, Mission Essential Determination – Basic Military Training and Technical Training during Coronavirus Disease 2019, School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Air Command and Staff College, and Air War College were determined as mission essential. Effective immediately, students participating in Air Command and Staff College, School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, and Air War College will transition to virtual campus operations. Both Brig Gen Sloane (AWC Commandant) and Brig Gen Pettus (ACSC Commandant) approved an Exception to Policy for students attending school without their dependents may return to home station if needed. They are in an alternate duty location and are prepared to RTB if recalled on short notice.
Q. Can recipients of the GI Bill lose the BAH and food stipend due to University closure/forced movement out of the dorms?
A. If the member is actively enrolled full time and is attending classes, they will continue to receive BAH. The VA was contacted, and a representative stated members will still get their BAH as long as they are enrolled as a full-time student. The payment of the BAH benefit is contingent on how the school reports the status of the student. As many of the students temporarily placed into online classes, if the school reports this to the VA, then the member will be paid the rate of a full-time online student. However, there could be a change in BAH payout based on the status reported by the Universities and Colleges since Full-time in residence BAH is different from Online BAH. Recommend members contact the VA for information at www.benefits.va.gov/gibill or call 188-442-4551 to get answers pertaining to their own unique circumstances and to get the most up-to-date information due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Q: What exceptions to the SECDEF Stop Movement policy require written documentation from a SES or general officer in the member’s chain of command?
A: The SECDEF and Deputy SECDEF have published three documents related to Stop Movement (SECDEF Memo, Travel Restrictions for DoD Components in Response to Coronavirus dated 11 Mar 20; De SECDEF Memo, Stop Movement for all Domestic Travel for DoD Components dated 13 Mar 20; and the EXORD Modification to DoD Response to Coronavirus-19 memo dated 24 Mar 20). Combined, they outline several exceptions to the stop movement policy to include travel by patients and medical providers for the purpose of medical treatment for DoD personnel and their families, individuals that have already initiated travel, members separating or retiring from service, individuals whose TDY ends while the stop movement order is in effect, and USTRANSCOM’s continued execution of Joint Force sustainment activities. These exceptions do not require additional approval or documentation from a member’s chain of command.
SECDEF guidance allows for additional exceptions to the stop movement policy when travel is determined to be (1) mission-essential; (2) necessary for humanitarian reasons; or (3) warranted due to extreme hardship. These additional exceptions must be granted in writing and per SECAF’s Travel Restriction Delegations of Authority memo dated 16 Mar 20, the decision is delegated to the first SES or general officer in an Airman’s chain of command.
For the most up-to-date guidance on Stop Movement, please go to https://mypers.af.mil/app/answers/detail/a_id/46605.
The Commander, Air Education and Training Command (AETC), is the gaining and losing commander of all initial accessions and technical training courses and as such, is recognized as the delegated approval authority to designate attendance at Basic Military Training, Officer Training School, and technical schools as mission essential. The Chief Air Force Reserve supports the AETC Commander’s mission-essential designation established via the Mission Essential Determination – Basic Military Training and Technical Training During Coronavirus Disease 2019, dated 18 Mar 20. Additional approval or documentation for a Reserve Airman’s chain of command is not required to attend these courses. All other exceptions to policy must be designated in writing by the member’s chain of command.
Q: How does COVID-19 stop movement policies affect Reserve School Selection Board (RSSB) and Reserve Developmental Education Designation Board (RDEDB) courses?
A: The results of the AY20/21 RDEDB were released 20 December 2019. The first associated course does not begin before July 2020 so they are not impacted by stop movement at this time. The CY20A RSSB results were released 16 March 2020 with the first associated course beginning in May 2020. Execution of each course will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis as the COVID-19 crisis continues and selected Airmen will be contacted if courses are cancelled or rescheduled.
Q: How is the Military Reserve Exchange Program (MREP) affected by the COVID-19 stop movement policy?
A: Germany: Due to the current development regarding the coronavirus, the Chief of the Armed Forces Office (Germany) decided to cancel the 36th German-American Reserve Officer Exchange 2020 from 5/25-6/19. Possible participation of the American reserve officers in September will be decided at the appropriate time.
UK: Cancelled all MREP engagements for 2020
Denmark: Still planning on participating. Engagements are not until the end of June
Estonia: No decisions have been made
Q. Will I get additional time to complete CDCs due to COVID-19?
A. Air University applied a 90-day extension to 26,985 CDC enrollments AF-wide. While teleworking, it is imperative that Unit Training Managers (UTMs) and additional duty UTMs continue to monitor and manage training efforts.
Q: What should an Air Reserve Technician (ART) do if they become symptomatic?
A: If the ART is serving in a civilian status, thinks they have been exposed to COVID-19, and develops symptoms, such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing, the member should stay home, separate themselves from other people in their home and call their healthcare provider for medical advice. Additional guidance is available on the CDC COVID-19 website at: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/steps-when-sick.html.
If the member is serving in a military status and becomes symptomatic, they should take precautionary measures to self-quarantine, limit exposure to others and contact their chain of command immediately for further guidance.
Q: If an Airman is nearing the end of their term of enlistment, can commanders extend members 60 days w/o member signature
A: No. IAW Title 10 U.S.C. 509, the term of an enlistment may not be extended without the written consent of the member for any period. Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, AFR Career Assistance Advisors (CAA) have been advised to obtain consent via email from those eligible members and CAA will extend the member’s enlistment in 60-day increments. Both AFI 36-2606 and Title 10 U.S.C. 509 govern the reenlistment program. Additional questions should be directed to your wing CAA.
Q: Have Yellow Ribbon events been cancelled in response to stop movement policies?
A: Yes, AFR Yellow Ribbon Events have been temporarily suspended. In the meantime, there are a variety of online courses available to the Reserve Component (RC) at www.YellowRibbon.mil. Further, your local Airmen & Family Readiness Center is the conduit to a variety of resources aimed at assisting in pre-deployment planning and post-deployment reintegration efforts. Please contact them with any Yellow Ribbon or pre/post-deployment related questions.
Q: Impacts to the Transition Assistance Program:
A: The rescheduling of mass-facilitated TAP events due to COVID-19 are service-specific, at the discretion and decision of commanders, and based on guidance issued by OUSD P&R. Many of the Air Force Reserve-specific TAP requirements can be accomplished telephonically with your local Airmen & Family Readiness Center (A&FRC) or via computer-based training housed on the Joint Knowledge Online (JKO) website. Please contact your servicing A&FRC to discuss your training options.
Q: What happens if a Reservist is in danger of having a “bad year” due to COVID-19 travel restrictions?
A: Per Lt Gen Scobee’s “2019 Novel Corona Commander’s Intent” memo dated 15 Mar 2020, commanders are authorized maximum flexibility to take care of Airmen. Liberal Annual Tour (AT) and Inactive Duty for Training (IDT) excusal or reschedule policies to include future ‘super’ four-day UTAs are authorized. NAF/CCs are the approval authority to waive the 16 IDTs per quarter restriction found in AFMAN 36-2136 for the TR program. Telework is also authorized in order to allow required training to continue. AFMAN 36-2136, paragraph 11 allows IDT by telework. AFR members should be communicating with their supervisors to determine the best option for the member, their unit and the mission, given the local circumstances. Members who are concerned they may have a “bad year” are encouraged to reach out to their supervisors as soon as possible to determine points needed and all possible solutions to ensure a “good year”.
If members cannot meet their FY participation requirements, as outlined AFMAN 36-2136, commanders are authorized to excuse AT and IDT in accordance with AFMAN 36-2136 and the CAFR’s Intent memo referenced above. Unfortunately, at this time there is no waiver for allowing anything less than 50 points in a Retention/Retirement year to count as a satisfactory year of service for promotion and retirement purposes in accordance with 10 USC 1223 and DoDI 1215.07. AFR Headquarters is working with OSD to determine other methods of relief to our Airmen that will fall short of a “good year”.
Q. My CAC card is expired or will expire soon. What do I do, in light of all the COVID-19 Stop Movement guidance?
A. As of 1 Apr 2020, Air Force Personnel Center has notified the RAPIDS/DEERS office of HAF guidance that authorizes CAC cards expiring on 1 Jan 2020 or thereafter to be extended until 31 Aug 2020. Please reach out to your local Force Support Squadron for further details. Additional guidance on CAC card expiration is still being worked. We will continue to update the field as new guidance is available.
Q. My dependent’s identification card is expired or will expire soon. What do I do, in light of all the COVID-19 Stop Movement guidance?
A. As of 1 Apr 2020, Air Force Personnel Center has notified the RAPIDS/DEERS office of HAF guidance that authorizes dependent ID cards expiring on 1 Jan 2020 or thereafter to be extended until 31 Aug 2020. Additionally, members have the ability to request DEERs enrollment and updates as well as renew identification cards remotely by fax, mail, email or online. There are some exceptions to this policy so it’s important to reach out to your local Force Support Squadron for further details. Additional guidance on CAC and dependent ID card expiration is still being worked. Updates will be published as new guidance becomes available.
Q. My CAC is not going to expire but I’ve had an administrative change impacting my printed card information (ex: name change or promotion). What do I do, in light of all the COVID-19 Stop Movement guidance?
A. Under the 1 Apr 2020 HAF guidance allowing exemptions to policy in response to COVID-19, administrative changes such as those examples above do not require an update to your CAC card until these exemptions are lifted. Your local Force Support Squadron can provide further details.
Q. If my CAC expires, will my system accesses expire as well? How will I log onto my government computer and access CAC-enabled systems in order to do my job or take leave?
A. Currently the AF Cyber Team is working on this issue. We anticipate messages on solutions in the coming days.
Q. If my CAC or identification card expires, will I be able to access military installations?
A. Yes. Installations have been provided DAF-level guidance on allowing CAC cards expiring on 1 Jan 2020 or thereafter to be extended to 31 Aug 2020. This will allow you access to installations as if your identification is current. A formal policy memorandum should be published soon.
Q. I want to apply for an AGR position. Does the COVID-19 crisis have any impacts to AGR opportunities?
A. You can still apply for AGR positions. The latest vacancies are posted on myPERS at https://mypers.af.mil/app/answers/detail/a_id/35663. Please note however that at this time, only in very few cases, are members authorized to PCS in support of an AGR assignment due to the current STOP MOVEMENT guidance. The current STOP MOVEMENT guidance is posted at https://mypers.af.mil/app/answers/detail/a_id/46624.
Q. If members were selected for RSSB or RDEDB courses that get cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns, will members receive an automatic deferment to attend next year or must they compete again via the RSSB or RDEDB process?
A. The Air Force Reserve will make a determination regarding deferments once there is a better understanding of the scope and magnitude of potential course cancellations.
Q. What is the specific guidance concerning face masks for military members and their families?
A2. Effective immediately, based on the guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Department of Defense and the Department of the Air Force, all individuals on DoD property, installations and facilities are required to wear cloth face covering when they cannot maintain six feet of physical distance in public areas or work centers (does not include or apply to a service member/family member’s personal residence on a military installation). This includes all:
Total Force Military Personnel
DoD civilian employees (including Non-Appropriated Fund (NAF) Employees) - subject to the conditions set out below
All other individuals on DoD property, installations and facilities.
Q. Is there any guidance on the type or color of the mask? Does it need to match my uniform?
A.The military departments will issue guidance on uniform wear for service members. Pending that guidance, service members will wear cloth coverings in neutral colors. CDC guidance on use and instructions for homemade face coverings (including no-sew options using common household items) may be found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
A cloth face covering shall extend above the nose without interfering with eyewear, and below the chin to cover the mouth and nostrils completely. It shall fit snugly, yet comfortably against the front and sides of the face and be secured (e.g., by being tied in place or with ear-loops). Additional guidance on the wearing of the face mask may be found here: https://www.af.mil/News/Coronavirus-Disease-2019/
Q. Since wearing a mask is a requirement, will they be issued or will funding be available to purchase masks?
A. At this time guidance for funding and issuing is being developed and will be posted when it becomes available.
Q. I don’t feel confident that the cloth mask is going to protect against COVID-19. Will military members get a more industrial mask, for example the N95 respirators?
A. Medical personnel protective equipment such as N95 respirators or surgical masks will not be issued for this purpose as these will be reserved for the appropriate personnel.
Q. I have a medical problem that prevents me from wearing a mask. Can I get an exception to this requirement?
A. Exceptions to this requirement, for reasons such as impracticality, health, or other basis, may be approved by commanders, supervisors, and contracting officers, as appropriate. Exceptions should be documented in writing, and a copy provided to the recipient and the next higher level of command or supervision.
Q. Can I get promoted if I’m showing not current for dental and/or medical requirements and cannot get current due to COVID-19? What about enlisted PME waivers? What about all other promotion requirements? What can be waived, exempted, CC discretion?
A. We are aware of these challenges, therefore we are drafting exceptions to policy due to COVID-19. Exceptions will be publicized as soon as approved.
Q. Can wings nominate people for STEP promotion if they meet all promotion eligibility criteria other than testing?
A. We have drafted an exception to policy request to address concerns for those of you who were enrolled in a PME course and it was cancelled and those who are virtually enrolled in EPME and cannot test due to facility closure. We understand there may be some promotion eligibility concerns, so we are working to get this out to you as soon as possible. Note: All Distance learning course are still operational and members can sign up.
Q. Who’s authorized the AFSM?
A. Members who deploy for or are reassigned from their normal duties for 30 days or more
(consecutive & non-consecutive) in direct support of the COVID-19 relief efforts. Additionally, the AFSM is authorized for one day of qualifying service if that service resulted in the member contracting the virus.
Q. Are personnel who didn’t deploy eligible for the HSM?
A. Yes; however, eligibility for the HSM requires direct participation in the COVID-19 relief efforts for at least one day. A qualifying operation and/or activity for the HSM is one which meets the criteria of and resulted in the member being physically present and directly contributing to and influencing the military humanitarian act or operation.
Q. Are member’s eligible for both the AFSM & HSM?
A. No. Members are not eligible to receive both medals based on the same activities, deployment, and/or period of service.
Q. Is the AFSM & HSM awarded with other expeditionary medals?
A. No. The medals are not awarded for COVID-19 activities that occur in a geographical area where a DoD or Department of the Air Force campaign or expeditionary medal is authorized.
Q. What areas are the medals designated?
A. There are no designated areas of eligibility.
Q. Who determines eligibility for award of medals?
A. Award authorities determine eligibility based on the nature of the qualifying DoD COVID-19 operation and/or activity.
Q. What are the qualifying operations for award of the HSM?
A. An operation and/or activity which meets the criteria of and resulted in the member being physically present and directly contributing to and influencing the military humanitarian act or operation.
Q. What are the inclusive dates for award of the medals?
A. 31 January 2020 to a future “to be determined” termination date.
Q. Who determines eligibility for the medals?
A. Air and Space Forces commanders in the grade of colonel (O-6) and above.
Q. Can the eligibility be further delegated?
Q. Is an order prepared for award of the AFSM or HSM?
A. No; however, the award is approved and documented on an Air Force Form 104, Service Medal Award Verification.
Q. Are sister service members eligible for award of the medals?
A. Their award of the medals are subject to authorization and approval/disapproval by their respective service.
Q. Is documentation required to show eligibility for the medals?
A. Yes. TDY order, letter/memo/certificate of appreciation, E/OPR comments, decoration citation, or other official document which verifies participation in the COVID-19 disaster relief actions.
Q. Upon verification how is the AFSM or HSM approved?
A. Member’s servicing CSS will prepare an AF Form 104 and forward to the approving official (commanders in the rank of colonel (O-6) or higher) for approval.
Q. Upon acquiring the approving official’s approval what happens to the AF Form 104?A. The approved AF Form 104 is forwarded to the servicing force support unit that will update the medal in MilPDS and file the AF Form 104 in ARMS.
Q. How are the medals worn on the uniform?
A. The AFSM is worn directly above the HSM and the HSM is worn directly following the Armed Forces Service Medal (AFSM) and before the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal (MOVSM). Service stars are authorized for wear by personnel who have earned more than one HSM.
Q. Does award of these medals prevent other forms of recognition?
Q. Can the medals be awarded posthumously?
The White House
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
U.S. Department of Defense
DOD Force Health Protection Guidance
U.S Air Force
Air Force Reserve