JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas — The Air Force promotion system promotes the most fully-qualified noncommissioned and senior noncommissioned officers based on the quality of their records and other weighted factors, while recognizing an individual Airman’s potential for advancement to the next rank.
Enlisted evaluation board panels consider more than 35,000 promotion records each year. For Airmen holding the rank of technical, master or senior master sergeant, the Air Force Personnel Center plays a pivotal role in promotion cycles.
Possessing a general understanding of the enlisted evaluation board process is vital for Airmen promoting to the SNCO tier.
Board-eligible Airmen can view their Data Verification Brief, located in the Virtual Military Personnel Flight, 120 days prior to the board convening date. These dates are published and made available to Airmen via myPers. The schedule of dates can be found by selecting “Promotion” from the left side of the myPers enlisted page. The DVB reflects information such as duty history and decoration data that will be displayed to the board. Members should also use the Personnel Record Display Application, found within AFPC Secure, to view their “As Is” or current-state record for any missing or erroneous documents.
“If Airmen notice inaccuracies with their DVB or evaluation record, they need to contact their servicing Military Personnel Section, Commander’s Support Staff or the Total Force Service Center as soon as possible,” said Capt. Jason Christie, Air Force Selection Board Secretariat senior recorder at AFPC. “Airmen should also note that their records will not meet the board without their top enlisted performance report, and it might not receive the score it deserves if other documents are missing or inaccurate.”
The evaluation board process begins with board member selection. A general officer is charged with overseeing the board, which is divided into panels consisting of one colonel and two chief master sergeants from each respective career field’s general category. Air Force Specialty Codes are divided into four career field categories: operations, maintenance, mission support and medical. The largest career fields within each AFSC garner a board member.
“For example, a mission support panel on a senior NCO evaluation board will have one mission support group commander and two mission support chief enlisted managers from the two most prevalent career fields that they will be scoring,” Christie said. “Dividing the records in this manner ensures a wide base of knowledge, experience and expertise on each panel, while affording fair and equitable treatment of board-eligible Airmen.”
Once boards convene, the duration is typically four weeks for master sergeant, three weeks for senior master sergeant and two weeks for chief master sergeant promotion before the board adjourns. Boards are convened under the provisions of Air Force Instruction 36-2502, Enlisted Airman Promotion/Demotion Programs, and operate for the Air Force chief of staff under direct guidance of the board president. The formal board charges for each board are published on myPers, released no earlier than the public release date for each promotion cycle.
The primary tool board members use to review an Airman’s record is the electronic Board Operations Support System, or eBOSS. Records appear within eBOSS in three stacks:
The left stack contains the last five years of performance reports filed in chronological order, with the most recent on top. The center stack contains all citations or orders for approved decorations, along with any record of non-judicial punishment, such as an Article 15, filed by the proper authority. The right stack is the evaluation brief. This is a computer-generated, one-page snapshot of the NCO/SNCO’s record highlighting information such as date of rank, duty information, service dates, etc., as applicable.
“There are no established time limits for board members to review and evaluate these records,” said Christie. “The board stays in session until all records are given equitable consideration.”
Members then assign numerical ratings in eBOSS to records using the scoring scale that ranges from 6 to 10 points, with 7.5 representing an average record. Records earn a panel composite score, the sum of three board member scores, for a minimum score of 18 and a maximum score of 30. All scoring is performed independently by secret ballot without the benefit of discussion between board members, unless a significant disagreement occurs in the scores on a particular panel.
Should a board member identify a record-based matter which raised concern, they are authorized to address the concern with the board recorder who brings it to the attention of the board president. The president may then approve bringing the matter to the attention of all board members. A common disagreement that arises during promotion boards is called a split.
Splits are defined, in AFI 36-2502, as significant disagreements between board members concerning the score of a record, typically a difference in a score of 1.5 or more points between any two panel members. To resolve a split, all scoring stops and voting panel members must be present to discuss affected records. Only panel members with split scores are allowed to change their scores in the process of resolving a split. Final resolution occurs when there is a difference in a score of 1.0 or less points between any two panel members.
“Once the board adjourns, the selection board secretariat forwards composite scores to the Enlisted Promotions Office where they are multiplied by a factor of 15,” Christie said. “This results in a total board score ranging from 270 to 450.”
Board scores represent a partial percentage of total promotion points: 66 percent to master sergeant, and 75 percent to senior and chief master sergeant. That total board score is combined with other “weighted factors,” such as decoration points, Promotion Fitness Exam, Skills Knowledge Test and the USAF Supervisory Exam, to formulate a final score.
With final points calculated, an overall merit list within each career field is generated. The quota for each field is applied, with each receiving at least one promotion to the next higher grade. All Airmen at or above the cutoff line are then selected for promotion.
“When the board results are released, Airmen can view their “As Met” records online,” said Christie. “If an Airman is not selected for promotion and has questions, it is highly recommended they contact the Enlisted Promotions Office at AFPC. For some, errors in a record or missing material could have impacted their non-selection and could be grounds for an appeal.”
If an appeal is approved, the Airman meets the next available enlisted supplemental board. The technicians at the AFPC Enlisted Promotions Office can explain that process in detail.
Airmen should direct all other general questions to the Total Force Service Center at 1-800-525-0102, or via email at AFPC.PB@us.af.mil.
For more information about the Air Force personnel programs, go to myPers. Individuals who do not have a myPers account can request one by following the instructions on the Air Force Personnel Center website.