by Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein shared in a memorandum to wing, numbered Air Force and major command commanders May 31, a draft plan for new Line of the Air Force officer promotion categories.
The memo explains the proposed change and directs commanders to solicit and provide feedback from officers to major command commanders by July 31, with “a final recommendation due to the secretary and chief not later than 30 August 2019.”
According to the memo, “The reemergence of great power competition, rapid development and fielding of advanced technologies, and new concepts of warfare and competition that span the entire spectrum of conflict demand a joint force structured to match this reality. These trends, if unaddressed, will challenge our ability to fight and win.”
The memo continues, “Over the past eighteen months, we have extensively examined how we develop, evaluate and promote officers across our total force. We have concluded that our current system, which has served us well in the past, is not optimized to support future joint warfighting in this new era. Based on our research, extensive discussions with Airmen across the Air Force (active, Guard, Reserve and civilian), and surveys with joint and inter-agency teammates, we believe it is time to expand the Line of the Air Force promotion categories into more subgroupings. The following categories represent the disciplines needed for future joint warfighting and allow for developmental competitive pathways that are optimized for each category.
The memo sets the stage for gathering field input similar to what was done under the Revitalizing Squadrons effort. The memo states, “While these changes have been reviewed and discussed at leadership levels, we realize this would be a significant change for the officer corps. Rather than make an immediate decision, we thought it best to share the draft with commanders first in order to engage in a dialogue with the officers assigned to you and solicit feedback before proceeding.”
In addition to commander-solicited feedback, Shon Manasco, assistant secretary of the Air Force for manpower and reserve affairs, and Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly, deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services, will be deploying briefing teams to various installations across major commands and functional communities during June and July to brief the proposed changes in-depth, answer questions and capture feedback from Airmen who are able to attend.
Additional virtual venues and online sites will also be available to gather feedback from across the force.
The memo concludes, “For this foundational change to succeed, commanders at every echelon must take ownership, understand and explain why we are proposing this significant change, listen to the officers entrusted to your care and pass your thoughts up the chain. Our future depends on getting this right. Help us make it better.”
The briefing and community-specific questions and answers will be made available to broader audiences at a later date.