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Air Force Assignment System

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Air Force Assignments are governed by Air Force Instruction 36-2110, Assignments. Qualified people with the needed skills must be in the right job at the right time to meet the Air Force mission. At the same time, the Air Force has a responsibility to keep attuned to the demands placed on its members resulting from personnel tempo (PERSTEMPO). PERSTEMPO is a quality-of-life measurement that measures the amount of time an individual spends away from his or her home station for operational and training purposes, such as Temporary Duty (TDY) and designated dependent-restricted assignments. Consequently, the Air Force classifies and assigns people worldwide as equitably as possible to ensure a high state of readiness. While the primary consideration in selecting personnel for reassignment is the member’s qualifications to accomplish the mission, the Air Force also considers the following additional factors:

  • To the maximum extent possible, the Air Force will assign individuals on a voluntary basis and in the most equitable manner feasible.
  • The Air Force equitably distributes involuntary assignments among similarly qualified personnel, factoring PERSTEMPO where practical to minimize family separation and to avoid creating a severe personal hardship on the member.
  • Limitations on involuntary selection for Permament Change of Station (PCS), following some TDY, may be established to allow members to attend essential military and personal pre-PCS requirements, as well as to reduce individual and family turbulence.

Distribution of Personnel

Personnel are distributed to meet the overall needs of the Air Force as follows:

  • According to law and DoD and Air Force directives and instructions.
  • As equitably as possible between MAJCOMs within a specialty and grade.
  • According to guidance from the Air Staff functional area offices of primary responsibility (OPR) (functional managers).
  • As directed by the designated assignment authority as outlined in AFI 36-2110.

Assignment Policy and Procedures

Equal Opportunity. The Air Force assigns members without regard to color, race, religious preference (except chaplains), national origin, ethnic background, age, marital status (except military couples), spouse’s employment, education or volunteer service activities of spouse, or gender (except as provided for by statute or other policies).

Special Experience Identifier (SEI). The SEI system complements the assignment process and is used in conjunction with the grade, AFSC, AFSC prefixes and suffixes, etc., to match uniquely qualified individuals to special requirement jobs. SEIs may be used when specific experience or training is critical to the job and no other means is appropriate or available. The SEI system is also used to rapidly identify personnel to meet unique circumstances, contingency requirements, or other critical needs. Manpower positions are coded with an SEI to identify positions that require or provide unique experiences or qualifications. The personnel records for individuals who earn an SEI are similarly coded. An example of this would be a slot which requires a person who has training and experience on a specific type of mainframe computer. To fill that specific assignment, the Air Force would look at personnel who had that specific special experience identifier in their military records. Note: While some assignments require special experience, the vast majority of Air Force enlisted assignment slots do not.

Security Access Requirement. Manpower positions often require members assigned to have access to a specified level of classified information. However, sometimes the urgency to fill a position does not allow selection of a member using PCS eligibility criteria and subsequent processing (and/or investigation for access) at the specified level. Under these circumstances, selection may be necessary from among members who currently have access or can be granted access immediately.

Grade, AFSC, and Skill-level Relationship for Assignment. CMSgts and CMSgt selects may be assigned in any AFSC or CEM code they possess or are qualified to be awarded. Normally, airmen in the grade of SMSgt and below are selected for assignment in their Control AFSC (CAFSC). Airmen with an incompatible grade and CAFSC skill level because of retraining or reclassification are selected for assignment and allocated against requirements commensurate with their grade, regardless of their CAFSC skill level. Normally, airmen are selected based on their grade and skill level. CMSgts fill CEM code positions; SMSgts fill 9-skill level positions; MSgts and TSgts fill 7-skill level positions; SSgts and SrA fill 5-skill level positions; and A1Cs, Amn, and AB fill 3-skill level positions.

Volunteer Status and PCS Eligibility. Within a group of qualified members who meet the minimum eligibility criteria for PCS selection, volunteers are selected ahead of nonvolunteers.

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