8/19/2014 - WASHINGTON, D.C. (AFNS) -- Air Force officials announced actions designed to set clear expectations, restore Airman's time and refocus officer promotions on job performance.
The Air Force has addressed long-standing perceptions that to be
promoted, officers must complete an advanced academic degree, and those
officers selected by a promotion board to attend developmental education
in-residence, are expected to first complete that same level of
developmental education by correspondence.
"My number one priority is taking care of people and these initiatives
aim to do just that," said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James.
"Our intention is to set clear expectations and ensure that, where
possible, we give time back to our officers," continued Air Force Chief
of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh III.
Effective Dec. 1, advanced academic degrees will no longer be considered
for officers meeting line of the Air Force promotion boards below the
grade of colonel. Additionally, information provided to all promotion
board members will only show the "completed" level of developmental
education or whether the officer is a "select" to attend in-residence.
The method and year of completion will no longer be displayed.
"The change does not prevent officers from completing an advanced
academic degree, which is important to officer development," Welsh said.
In fact, officers are expected to have an advanced academic degree for
promotion to colonel. These changes allow the officer to focus on job
performance and acquire an advanced academic degree at a time best
suited for their life, career and family without worrying about possible
effects of not having an advanced academic degree at ranks lower than
"Since job performance is the most important factor when evaluating an
officer for promotion, the decision to delay completion of an advanced
academic degree will not affect their ability to serve a full career in
the Air Force," Welsh said.
Another long-standing perception is that officers selected to attend
professional military education in-residence must also complete the same
level of PME by correspondence. This perception was based on the belief
that officers who complete PME by distance learning early are
demonstrating more initiative and are therefore more competitive for
future opportunities and/or promotion.
The Air Force wants to debunk this perception by refocusing on job performance and Airmen's time.
"We realize how valuable time is and want to give that time back to our officer corps," Welsh said.
Officers chosen as "selects" on promotion boards will be prohibited from
completing the distance learning course unless they are subsequently
designated to attend a program requiring the distance learning course to
obtain full Joint Professional Military Education credit. In addition,
boards will be instructed to consider those with "select" status as
having completed PME thereby eliminating any timing concerns for those
"selects" meeting promotion boards prior to attending PME in-residence.
The Air Force also enacted an important change for captains. Every
active- duty captain will have an opportunity to attend Squadron Officer
School in-residence and criteria for selection to attend will be based
on the officer's date of rank, duty requirements and family situation
rather than whether or not they have already completed the distance
learning course. In fact, they will no longer be allowed to complete the
distance learning course unless operationally deferred and within one
year of meeting the promotion board to major. The distance learning
course will remain available for Air National Guard and Air Force
"We understand our Airmen are challenged every day to accomplish the
mission with limited time, manpower and resources," Welsh said. "By
eliminating these perceived expectations, we hope to remind our officers
that job performance is what we value most and that we want them to
have a life away from work."
"A balanced force is a healthy force and these changes strive to promote equilibrium in our Airmen's lives," James said.
The new policy modifications will be captured in the Air Force Guidance
Memorandums to AFI 36-2301, Developmental Education and AFI 36-2406,
Officer and Enlisted Evaluation Systems. The first promotion board to
implement the new policy will be the Major's (LAF) Central Selection
Board scheduled for Dec. 1.