Air Force officials announced yesterday that they will move the largest tenant at Andrews Air Force Base to Ohio late this year, an action that will affect about 900 military and civilian employees in the Washington area.

The Air Force Systems Command headquarters, where weapons systems are tested, planned and acquired, is being transferred as part of a plan to merge that division with the Air Force Logistics Command at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio, officials said.

The move will not necessarily mean unemployment for Washington area employees, according to Lt. Col. John T. Kirkwood, a spokesman for the command headquarters. All workers who want to leave Prince George's County and take jobs in Ohio will be able to, Kirkwood said.

Civilian employees who choose to remain will be given priority status on a federal job placement registry. A transition office has been set up at Andrews to help workers plan their futures, he said.

According to Kirkwood, the command's work force is split about equally between civilians and military personnel. A large percentage of its employees have extensive backgrounds as scientists and engineers. But because the division is an Air Force headquarters that oversees operations at four bases, the people affected also include large numbers of budget analysts, clerical workers and lawyers.

One civilian employee who is happy about the move to Dayton is Alan B. Goldstein, director of plans and programs in the command's technology office. Goldstein, a Laurel resident who has worked at Andrews since 1975, said upheaval is the price he must pay for the professional challenges the consolidation promises him.

Goldstein added that his wife, a federal government employee, also does not mind the transfer. "Both of us have made the commitment to work in developing our careers, and we are both of the mind that if you have in fact worked hard to develop a set of skills, you should not be afraid to seek out opportunities in other parts of the country," he said.

At the other end of the spectrum, according to Kirkwood, is a GS-4 who is married to the vice president of a local stock brokerage firm. "She is not going to move, nor should she," Kirkwood said.

Brad Fitch, an aide to Rep. Tom McMillen (D-Md.), whose district includes Andrews, said yesterday that although McMillen has "concern for those constituents whose lives are disrupted by this choice," he also has faith in the Air Force's pledge to aid the affected employees.

"In previous personnel changes at Andrews, they have successfully placed clerical personnel at other {Department of Defense} facilities in the Washington area," Fitch said. "As for the professionals, these people obviously have skills that are in demand, including in Ohio."

Fitch said McMillen also has received assurances that the 900 jobs that Prince George's County is losing will be replaced soon, minimizing any negative effects on the financially strapped county's tax base.

The Air Force has set up a 10-member transition team at Andrews to develop a phased timetable for the move, which is scheduled to begin Oct. 1. The two commands are expected to begin operating as the new Air Force Materiel Command at Wright-Patterson on July 1, 1992.