Promotion rate for technical sergeants drops to lowest level in a decade

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More than 5,400 Airmen earned a promotion to technical sergeant this year in the most competitive E-6 cycle since 2013, the Air Force announced Tuesday.

The announcement came days after the service warned it would reduce the number of mid-level enlisted promotions while trying to bolster the Airmen experience by having them spend more time in each rank.

This year, 16% of the nearly 34,000 eligible staff sergeants were approached for promotion to the rank of technical sergeant. This rate is about 10 percentage points lower than in 2021, and down by half from the recent peak of 32% in 2019. It is also the lowest promotion rate since 2013, when it was 15.03%.

Enlisted Airmen had experienced a time streak in which 1 in 4, or even 1 in 3, eligible staff sergeants were selected to move up the ranks. That’s down to about 1 in 6 now.

But Air Force officials are trying to reassure people that even though it has stopped its previous approach of awarding points for an Airman’s time in rank and service, a new scoring system will increase their chances of promotion the more time they spend at a certain rank.

“This promotion cycle has been impacted due to enlisted rank restructuring, a leveling of final strength growth, and high retention levels,” the Air Force Personnel Center said in a statement. “The 22E6 cycle also implements the Promotional Commendation Score, which values ​​Airman experience and sustained superior performance.”

Some blame Air Force Chief Master Sergeant JoAnne Bass, the service’s leader, for a decision they say will slow Airmen’s career progression, affect their earning potential in and out of the army and will exhaust a smaller cadre of non-commissioned officers.

“CMSAF is meant to be our collective voice at the table, but it’s becoming more and more like a hype man/cheerleader shouting at us on social media and just relaying messages to us,” one user wrote on Reddit.

“Unless they find a way to solve how overworked we are, how low our morale is, and how expensive it can be to live in certain places, the easiest solution is to increase compensation, especially for the hardest-working career areas,” added another Redditor, speaking of retention.

User shinee07 added: ‘It’s going to be funny in about six years when the narrative is ‘NCOs, we hear you. We understand that you are tired, constantly expanding because some career fields cannot work without 7 levels [craftsmen]. We will increase promotion rates to balance the force. And then everyone here will start complaining about ‘They’re promoting people too fast! They are not ready to be non-commissioned officers! »

The service will publish the names of those promoted on July 20.

Recent E-6 Promotion Rates

  • 2021: 26.94%
  • 2020: 29.08%
  • 2019: 32.28%
  • 2018: 30.54%
  • 2017: 31.96%
  • 2016: 22.35%
  • 2015: 23.55%
  • 2014: 17.43%
  • 2013: 15.03%
  • 2012: 22.77%

Rachel Cohen joined Air Force Times as a senior reporter in March 2021. Her work has appeared in Air Force Magazine, Inside Defense, Inside Health Policy, The Frederick News-Post (Md.), The Washington Post, and others. .

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