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Career Intermission Program gives Airmen a break


The Air Force’s Career Intermission Program allows Total Force Airmen the opportunity to temporarily transition out of the service for a minimum of one year and maximum of three years in order to pursue personal or professional endeavors.


Eligible participants receive a monthly stipend and retain full active-duty medical and dental benefits for themselves and eligible dependents. For every month in CIP, participants agree to serve two months upon re-entering the service. For example, if a participant is in CIP for 24 months they must serve four years once they return to the Air Force.


Maj. Sandra Walker, ICBM Center of Excellence professional development section chief, will transition from active duty to the Individual Ready Reserve through CIP at the beginning of May. She and her daughter will move to Germany where her husband will be stationed as an Air Force German exchange officer. 


“I believe that the first few years of a child’s life are the most influential and this program allows me the opportunity to spend more time with my daughter,” said Walker. A native of Germany, she is also looking forward to spending time with friends and family in the area.


The decision to enter CIP was not clear cut or easy for Walker, who is the Air Force’s first 13N in the program. She said while the choice was difficult, she is thankful the Air Force has afforded Airmen the opportunity to focus on goals outside of the military.


Walker first heard about the program from a colleague of her husband at the 582nd Helicopter Group. Maj. Nicole Handy left active duty as a helicopter pilot in October of 2016 to spend more time with her son and to continue to grow her family via CIP.


Handy is currently taking Spanish classes in Peru with her two sons and is thankful for the opportunities being in CIP has given her.


“I have truly loved my time off and have been able to thoroughly enjoy it since I know I have a career to go back to at the end of the day,” she said. “It's great to be able to focus on my family for a couple of years because they will be there long after I have retired from the Air Force.”


Upon returning to active duty, Handy is looking forward to attending ACSC and moving to Montgomery with her husband who is an Air Force developmental engineer.


Both Walker and Handy believe the program is important for Air Force retention and look forward to being a resource for other Airmen interested in CIP.


“I see it as a commitment the Air Force is making to me as well,” said Walker. “It is an opportunity provided to every Airman to grow and further develop as a person, spouse, parent, or professional.”


For more information on the program and eligibility requirements log on to myPers and search for CIP or visit the AFPC website. Regular Air Force applications are due by May 13 for the year’s first cycle.

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