- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 6, 2020

Child custody issues can now be taken into consideration when Air Force members plan for future duty assignments, under a new policy announced this week.

U.S. Air Force assignment officials will now be able to consider requests for an assignment near their children, even if the co-parents aren’t married, officials said.

“We ask our people to move frequently, and we know that can cause additional stress and sacrifices for their families. This change gives us the flexibility needed to better take care of them,” said Lt. Gen. Brian T. Kelly, deputy Air Force chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services.

Those approved for the new program are still required to fill valid manning requirements and perform the duties in which they are trained, Air Force officials said.

Airmen named as a parent — either biological or adopted — and have a court-ordered child custody agreement are eligible to apply to the program. While assignment matches will be made when possible, they must meet the best needs of the Air Force, officials said.

“We recognize family dynamics don’t always look the same and there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution to managing people’s careers and assignments,” Lt. Gen. Kelly said.

Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright said he was glad to see the new program finally take shape.

“This Air Force life is a family business,” he said. “We owe it to our teammates to make sure they have every opportunity to keep their family together whenever possible.”

Airmen can begin sending in their applications starting Aug. 17.

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