Program allows servicemembers to take up to three years off

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Katie Evans, a temporarily separated Air Force captain, said the program is effective.

A program is making it easier for servicemembers to balance career and family. Through the Career Intermission Program, approved servicemembers can take a sabbatical of up to three years. The program essentially allows someone to put their military career on hold to pursue other goals, such as school or starting a family.

Several military branches offer this program, which was initially authorized as part of the 2009 National Defense Authorization Act.

The Air Force recently began offering the pilot program that allows up to 40 members to participate. Servicemembers receive full benefits as well as a stipend of 1/15th of their monthly base pay.

The Navy has offered the career intermission pilot program since 2009. Other military branches have followed suit with the Marine Corps offering it in 2013 and the Army in 2014. The Navy is asking Congress to widen the eligibility of the program and make it available to 400 participants.

When sabbatical is over, servicemembers will be required to spend twice as long in active duty status as they spent in the program.

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