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Air Force does away with promotion test for senior NCOs

The Air Force has announced that it will will no longer test senior noncommissioned officers for promotion.

MOZER O. DA CUNHA/U.S AIR FORCE

By BRIAN FERGUSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 4, 2019

Note: This article has been corrected.

Airmen eligible for promotion to master sergeant, senior master sergeant or chief master sergeant will no longer be required to pass tests to earn those ranks.

Promotion to the highest three Air Force enlisted ranks will now only include a promotion board score that looks at the last five years worth of evaluations and takes all awards and decorations under consideration, according to an Air Force statement released Monday. The changes are scheduled to take effect this September.

“We found that removing the testing portion will eliminate any possibility that Airmen without the strongest leadership potential might test into promotion, while also ensuring that our strongest performers continue to earn the promotion they deserve,” Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright said in a statement.

Every year, airmen spend hundreds of hours studying promotion material. Some questions include military history and other facts that, if ever necessary to learn, could be found through internet searches.

“As an added benefit, we will give SNCOs more control over their time,” Wright stated. “This is time that our enlisted leaders can use to focus on getting after the mission, leading their teams, caring for their families and building self and team resilience.”

In the past year or so, the Air Force has seen policy changes come from the Pentagon every few months, and Wright has been the catalyst for many of the changes.

Those changes include the new Operational Camouflage Pattern uniform, fewer Air Force regulations, reduced training and additional duties and the elimination of enlisted performance reports for airmen first class.

Air Force officials also have discussed re-evaluating indefinite re-enlistments, joint custody assignments, nonchargeable bereavement leave and the service’s fitness uniform.

ferguson.brian@stripes.com

Correction: The number of years of evaluations that the promotion board score looks at was incorrect in a previous version of this story. It looks at five years worth of evaluations.

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