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Airmen who recently gave birth now will have one year to pass their fitness test, instead of the previous six-month deferment, announced Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James on Tuesday. The service also increased deferment for deployments, short tours, dependent-restricted assignments, and temporary duty assignments to one year. “The goal is to alleviate the strain on some of our talented airmen who choose to leave the Air Force as they struggle to balance deployments and family issues, and this is especially true soon after childbirth,” said James​ in a July 14 release. The deferment applies to airmen who gave birth on or after March 6, states the release. The move is part of the Air Force’s 2015 diversity and inclusion initiatives, which also included the career intermission program, announced earlier this year. “We recognize the potential retention benefits associated with providing our female airmen options that allow them to serve and support their family without having to choose one over the other,” added James. The Air Force is still considering extending its maternity and convalescent leave period. Airmen currently receive six weeks of maternity leave, according to the release.