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E-8 promotion rates up; critical skills even higher

WASHINGTON (AFPN) -- The 1,612 master sergeants picked for promotion this year were selected using the chronic critical skills program for the first time.

The selectees will be named March 19.

The program applies higher selection rates to certain career fields. This year is the first it is being applied to the E-8 and E-9 promotion cycles.

Under the program, officials identified 25 career fields to be classified as "critical" skills for the E-8 promotion cycle. The overall selection rate for this cycle, 10.18 percent, is the highest since 1987. The move pushed average selection percentages, depending on the multiplier applied, up to 30.88 percent.

"We're now including E-8s and E-9s because of critical senior noncommissioned officer shortages in these (Air Force specialties) that are seriously impacting mission readiness," said Chief Master Sgt. Carol Dockery, chief of enlisted promotions and evaluation at the Pentagon.

The effort to expand the chronic critical skills program to the two highest enlisted ranks began during the central evaluation board and final approval came only days ago, said officials.

To get there, those competing for promotion in designated Air Force specialty codes are assigned a higher selection rate, 1.2 times the Air Force average, Dockery said.

For example, an AFSC with a 15 percent selection rate would receive an 18 percent promotion rate when placed on the critical skills list.

"Now, more than ever, it's absolutely essential that we balance our enlisted force structure to meet our expeditionary force requirements," said Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Gerald R. Murray. "We must continue to use the (chronic critical skills) program and all other available tools, such as selective re-enlistment bonuses, incentive pays and retraining, if we are to achieve balance in our force."

Senior NCOs in Air Force specialties manned at or below 70 percent with less than 25 people eligible for promotion received a multiplier of 3.0; those manned at or below 70 percent with more than 25 people eligible for promotion received a multiplier of 1.4; and those manned above 70 percent but less than 90 percent received a multiplier of 1.2.

Future chronic critical skills will be announced before the central evaluation board for each promotion cycle.

The senior master sergeant evaluation board met Jan. 22 to Feb. 7.

The average total score of selectees during the cycle was 669.10 points. Average selectee score breakdowns are:

-- 36 points, time in grade

-- 21.01 points, time in service

-- 135 points, performance reports

-- 20.08 points for decorations

-- 68.83 points for U.S. Air Force Supervisory Examination

-- 388.17 points for evaluation board score

The average selectee has 5.04 years time in grade and 19.99 years time in service.

Those selected for promotion to senior master sergeant automatically receive a school quota for the Senior NCO Academy. And 357 of those not selected are scheduled to attend with a list of 720 alternates, officials said.

Senior master sergeant selectees will be promoted beginning in April. The complete list of promotion and Senior NCO Academy selections will be posted on the Air Force Personnel Center Web site by March 22 at http://www.afpc.randolph.af.mil/eprom. (Information compiled by Staff Sgt. A.J. Bosker, Air Force Print News, and Staff Sgt. Matt Miller, AFPC Public Affairs)

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