At the same time, the Air Force said in a news release, 5,900 civilian positions will be added in acquisition, nuclear weapons management, surveillance and reconnaissance.
Initially, about 9,000 jobs will be eliminated in management, staff and support areas, and an additional 4,500 positions, which haven't been identified, will be cut later, the release said.
The cutbacks come as a result of a Defense Department mandate to reduce civilian personnel costs to fiscal 2010 levels.
"We clearly understand the turbulence these and future reductions will cause in the workforce," Gen. Norton Schwartz, the Air Force's chief of staff, said in the release. "We are making every effort to use voluntary measures to achieve reductions whenever possible."
About 1,000 positions will be eliminated in a restructuring of the Air Force Material Command, the Air Force's largest civilian employer, at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. The restructuring is to be completed by October 2012.
"Civilian manpower adjustments will occur at all levels of the Air Force," said Brig. Gen. Gina Grosso, manpower, organization and resources director.
In the next several days, local leaders are to inform civilian employees of cutbacks in their workforces.
"At this time, we are not sure whether a [non-voluntary] reduction in force will be necessary," Grosso said. "We are pursuing all available voluntary force management measures to include civilian hiring controls with the goal of avoiding non-voluntary measures. Every vacancy we don't fill brings us one position closer to fiscal year 2010 levels and reduces the possibility for a reduction in force."