Air Force Reserve changes officer promotion system

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Air Force Reserve Command is changing its officer promotion system to meet future total force requirements. 

The command will implement the changes starting with the Oct. 16 Air Force Reserve Line and Non-line Colonel Promotion selection board. Results of the board are expected to be announced early next year. 

In one change, the command will combine Selected Reserve (Categories A and B) and Participating Individual Ready Reserve (Category E) officers into a single promotion group. 

"All participating members should have the same opportunity and compete with each other for promotion," said Lt. Gen. John A. Bradley, chief of Air Force Reserve and AFRC commander. "This change is especially prudent in light of our strategic shift to an operational Reserve, increased Total Force Integration, and challenges posed by the Base Realignment and Closure commission and Program Budget Decision 720." 

In addition, in recent years the Air Force Reserve promoted more lieutenant colonels to colonel than it had available colonel positions. This prompted the command to adjust the promotion opportunity for its line officers competing for colonel from 45 percent to 40 percent. At the same time, command officials decided to stop holding continuation boards for lieutenant colonels to remain in the Air Force Reserve beyond their mandatory separation date of 28 years total federal commissioned service. 

The decision to form one competitive promotion category was not done in a "vacuum," according to General Bradley. 

"I chartered a general officer-led promotions working group in July 2006 with cross-functional representation to weigh all the different options of changing the competitive categories and taking better care of our people," he said. "This was the best recommendation the group proposed and the right thing to do for our Citizen Airmen." 

The team consisted of a cross-section of reservists. They included senior officers from AFRC headquarters, a wing commander, a squadron commander, a readiness management group detachment commander and functional managers from line and non-line career fields, as well as legal and personnel experts from the Air Reserve Personnel Center, AFRC headquarters and the Office of Air Force Reserve. 

Under force shaping actions, the Air Force Reserve will shift some of its personnel authorizations from paid positions in the Selected Reserve to non-paid status in the Participating Individual Ready Reserve. 

"This change confirms the command's commitment to a robust and viable PIRR," said Col. Becky Lewis, director of personnel in the Office of Air Force Reserve. "It considers all participating members together, allowing us to follow personnel management policies that enable and identify the force most suited to meet mission requirements." 

Changing promotion opportunities for lieutenant colonels and eliminating boards to keep them beyond their mandatory separation dates were necessary, according to Col. Shaun Kelleher, chief of the directorate of personnel's force management policy division in the Office of Air Force Reserve. 

"These changes will help manage our colonel production more efficiently and enable a reasonable expectation for colonel-selects to pin-on in a timely manner," he said. "Simply stated, we have too many people making colonel and not enough positions for them. This has made it increasingly harder for colonel-selects to find Reserve jobs in a timely manner and pin on their new rank." 

Command personnel officials said they will continue to work to analyze and proactively manage the force to meet the dynamic needs of an operational reserve and their Unrivaled Wingman. (AFRC News Service)