Position-vacancy promotions change

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Air Force Reserve Command is changing the way it determines the number of early officer promotions, known as position-vacancy promotions. 

“Starting with the February 2006 Air Force Reserve Major Promotion Selection Board, we will link position-vacancy promotion quotas to mandatory promotion board quotas,” said Col. Shaun Kelleher, chief of the directorate of personnel’s force management policy division in the Office of Air Force Reserve. “But, PV promotions will still not be at the expense of the mandatory board promotions.” 

To obtain the number of position-vacancy promotions, the Air Force Reserve will take a percentage of its mandatory board quotas. For lieutenant colonel it will be 20 percent of the mandatory board quota, and for major 30 percent. 

“For the first time, we will know how many position-vacancy promotions will be available before a promotion board convenes and be able to predict the number of PV promotions in the future,” Colonel Kelleher said. 

In the past, the Air Force Reserve applied a percentage to the number of position-vacancy nominations submitted to determine how many people were promoted. There was no way to predict the number of officers submitted for PV consideration, so there was no way to predict the number of resulting PV promotions until the board actually convened. 

Analysis shows the number of officers submitted for position-vacancy promotion consideration increased almost 70 percent in the past five years. For promotion to major, the number grew from 107 nominated to almost 180. For promotion to lieutenant colonel, the number climbed from 273 to more than 450. 

As a result, the number of officers promoted early to major and lieutenant colonel increased, with no means to accurately predict the number of position-vacancy promotions in the future. This created a major obstacle in the promotion-planning process. 

Under the new policy, the number of position-vacancy promotions will decrease and become more predictable. 

In 2005, the Air Force Reserve selected 107 officers for PV promotion to major. If the new formula had been applied, the number selected would have been 30 percent of 290 or 87. 

Last year 182 were picked for PV promotion to lieutenant colonel. The new formula would have yielded 20 percent of 486 or 98 selectees. 

“Position-vacancy promotions are to be used for ‘exceptionally well qualified’ individuals,” Colonel Kelleher said. “With this change, commanders will have to look closer at those being nominated and only forward their truly best qualified officers.” 

Although there are no position-vacancy promotions to colonel, the early promotions to major and lieutenant colonel created larger year groups eligible for promotion to colonel. These larger year groups increased the number of officers promoted, which resulted in more colonel selectees than colonel positions available. (AFRC News Service)