The Air Force announced Feb. 4 it is removing the Weighted Airman Promotion System testing requirement for active-duty promotions to the grades of E-7 through E-9, beginning this fall with the 2019 E-9 promotion cycle.
The memo, signed Jan. 31, 2019, removes the phase one requirement for senior noncommissioned officers to test for promotion, allowing promotion boards to identify the best qualified Airmen to promote into the senior noncommissioned officer corps.
Prior to the policy change, promotions were conducted through a two-phase process. Phase one consisted of a Promotion Fitness Exam and Specialty Knowledge Test, while phase two consisted of a central evaluation board.
“We continue to transform talent management across the force,” said Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly, Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services. “This adjustment focuses on performance being the driving factor we consider when selecting our senior noncommissioned officers. It also continues our work toward increasing transparency and making our processes simple.”
The Air Force will use a promotion board process similar to the board process used by officers.
“We trust this board process will continue to give senior leaders and commanders the greatest level of confidence that the right individuals are being selected for promotion to the top enlisted ranks,” said Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright. “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.”
Promotion boards will continue to score records using the current scoring process as well as reviewing the last five years of evaluations and all awards and decorations. Decoration points will no longer be utilized because the board will be considering all decorations during its review and scoring records accordingly.
Additional guidance will be published in an upcoming Air Force guidance memorandum or revised Air Force instruction after the last evaluation board is completed.