Getting Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel Will get Tougher for Operators

The choice fee for majors in zone for promoted to lieutenant colonel dropped barely this 12 months, whereas “above the zone” promotions proceed to rise.

The Air Drive unveiled an overhaul to its choice system in 2019, and instituted these modifications in 2020, creating six aggressive classes somewhat than have officers compete for promotion in a single group. The brand new system was speculated to make it simpler for non-rated officers in logistics or intelligence, for instance, to compete for development in opposition to rated officers, equivalent to pilots and navigators.  

The choice fee for Line of the Air Drive majors promoted “within the zone,” which ranged from 76 p.c to 77 p.c because the change, dropped this 12 months to 75.1 p.c. Above-zone promotions, these for officers getting their re-assessment by the promotion board, rose to 13 p.c, the very best degree because the change.

Early, or “below-the-zone” promotions, had been eradicated in 2020.

Driving the shift is the air operations and particular warfare class. Majors on this class, the biggest within the Air Drive, accounting for almost half of these thought-about, had been chosen at a 74.4 p.c fee, down almost 5 proportion factors from 2021.

“Above the zone” choices for operators had been simply 8.2 p.c, the bottom in any class. 

Picks additionally fell for info warfare officers, the second largest class. In-zone choices fell to 74 p.c, down from 78.2 p.c in 2021. Nevertheless, the above-zone choice fee for info warfare officers tripled from 2021, rising from 6.4 p.c then to 19.3 p.c this 12 months. 

Fight assist—the third largest class—which has seen fluctuating in-zone choices lately, noticed a rise in “above the zone” choice. 

When the Air Drive introduced its classes, the intent was to make sure officers competed to advance in opposition to friends with related abilities, profession development, and expertise. Officers have since argued the system has additionally improved variety, as a result of ladies and racial minorities make up a higher portion of the non-rated officer group.  

On the entire, greater than 1,500 majors had been in zone for consideration by the board, the biggest cohort in a minimum of 4 years. The group was doubtless bigger as a result of retention ticked up, associated to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, probably making a barely bigger cohort. 

This 12 months’s promotion cycle additionally marks the primary time promotions boards have been capable of see if potential lieutenant colonels have superior tutorial levels since 2014. The Air Drive began “masking” these levels as a result of Airmen had come to see such levels as a prerequisite for promotion—even when they’d little to do with their profession subject. 

In reversing that coverage, Air Drive Secretary Frank Kendall emphasised that superior levels are “neither a requirement for promotion to main or lieutenant colonel nor a guarantor of promotion.”  

“The DAF will proceed to worth each operationally and educationally derived expertise and experience and can at all times worth excessive ranges of efficiency,” he added. 

CATEGORY “Within the Zone” Thought-about “Within the Zone” Chosen “Within the Zone” Charge “Above the Zone” Thought-about “Above the Zone” Chosen “Above the Zone” Charge
Air Operations & Particular Warfare 750 558 74.4 511 42 8.2
Nuclear & Missile Operations 35 25 71.4 35 5 14.3
Data Warfare 311 230 74.0 181 35 19.3
Drive Modernization 158 122 77.2 137 13 9.5
Fight Assist 265 201 75.8 162 38 23.5
Cross Purposeful Operations 57 47 82.5 16 5 31.3
TOTAL 1576 1183 75.1 1042 138 13.2
Knowledge courtesy of Air Drive Personnel Heart