Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James Cody discussed the implementation of the Weighted Airman Promotion System changes during his most recent CHIEFchat at Defense Media Activity on Fort George G. Meade.
During his chat, he discussed the role of education in promotion, the continued relevance of testing at all enlisted levels, and the feedback he and other senior leaders have received about the changes to the system.
Currently, the Community College of the Air Force degree is only mandatory to be promoted to senior master sergeant. It is masked on the master sergeant evaluation board, and board members are briefed not to consider education as a discerning factor for promotion because they may not have the entire picture.
“A lot of Airmen receive education at various times,” Cody said. “If it’s not within that most recent time period that the board would be looking at … they wouldn’t see it.”
When Airmen consider furthering their education, he said, it’s important they take into consideration how it will make them better as Airmen and more proficient at their jobs.
“The sole fact that you are educated doesn’t mean you’re a better Airman or a better performer. It should help you perform better, and if it doesn’t, well it’s not as relevant to us,” Cody said.
Cody addressed a question from social media asking if testing will ever be removed for senior NCOs going up for promotion.
While duty performance remains at the forefront of what will be considered for Airmen to be promoted, he said, it’s important everyone has the baseline level of knowledge that’s expected of them at the their level. Thus, Airmen can expect no changes to testing requirements.
Enlisted performance reports
The decision to reduce the number of EPRs for a promotion board from ten to five has been discussed for the past several years.
Cody said when Airmen go through the board process, the board will now only look at the past five years of EPRs instead of ten, expediting the process and giving members “not too much information, but enough information.”
“You have to perform at every grade,” he said. “Some people are slow starters and fast finishers. People start fast and finish up slow. We are all different. You don’t want to either positively or negatively impact somebody overwhelmingly with looking so far in a career.”
With the promotion system nearing its first year with the changes, Cody said more data and feedback is needed to see where the process can be smoothed out.
“The reality is, though, the feedback that we’re getting is really, really positive, by and large,” he said. “We’re trying to make sure to give enough time to get all the feedback so that we have it in the right context before we start making changes.”
As changes are considered, Cody encourages Airmen and commanders to ask themselves: “Do we feel we promoted the right people?”
If the answer is yes, then the Air Force is in a better place.