FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (AFNS) – The Air Force’s top enlisted leader addressed the new enlisted performance report and gave insight to feedback he’s received during his latest edition of CHIEFchat at the Defense Media Activity on Fort George G. Meade.
Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody encouraged Airmen to forget about the old EPR system and to embrace the new.
In with the new
When changes to the EPR system were announced last year, they were accompanied by policy to help guide supervisors and commanders through the new process. However, from the feedback he’s received, Cody understands that Airmen in the field have been trying to bridge the gap between the old and the new.
Trying to find their way, Airmen have deviated from the policy and tried to assume what might be needed. Cody acknowledged that their efforts, although “not ill intended,” are not helping the Air Force move forward with the changes.
“The best thing you could do is forget about the old system,” he said.
Veiled promotion statements
Cody expressed that the new system is very detailed in what raters can and can’t say on an EPR. This includes veiled promotion statements, or bullets that imply an Airman has been or should be operating at a higher rank.
“That doesn’t mean that we don’t have Airmen of a lesser rank filling in for positions of a more senior rank,” Cody said. “But … we’re not expecting them to perform at the level of the person who would be at that higher rank.”
Force support squadrons and the Air Force Personnel Center are monitoring for veiled promotion statements and, if they are included, are returning the reports to the rater.
“We’ve reduced the amount of lines on the report,” Cody said. “That can be just a wasted line when you can actually be talking about something the Airman did.”
Cody stressed that promotion-eligible Airmen should be critiqued on their performance and performance recommendation and not on who signed off on the performance recommendation.
“Do not give any consideration to the level of endorsement, beyond the fact they received stratification and they were stratified,” Cody said. “That’s what’s important, not who signed it, because we all work for different people.”
Only a certain percentage of Airmen will be given the top two promotion recommendations, the highest recommendation being “promote now,” and the other being “must promote.” Most of the other Airmen will then fall under the “promote” recommendation.
Cody said it seems that most leaders around the Air Force seem to think the EPR system is heading in the right direction. The only way to ensure it continues to improve is through open, honest feedback.
“It does take questions just like this, coming back to the Air Force and ensuring that we’re getting some insight into what might be taking place” Cody said.
He said this is a time for open dialogue and that Air Force senior leaders are listening.