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Air Force Enlisted Promotion System
CMSgt (E-9) Promotion Overview and Historical Promotion Rates
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The Army, Navy, Marines and Coast Guard base their enlisted promotion rates based upon a member's job. In other words, promotion rates are different for each job, depending on how many available "slots" there are in the next grade.

That means that for over-manned jobs, it is very hard to get promoted, while people in undermanned jobs may be promoted much faster than the service-wide average.

The Air Force manages its enlisted promotions differently. The Air Force first determines the overall promotion-rate (Air Force Wide) for the promotion cycle, by forecasting how many slots will be available. It then takes this rate and applies it to all of the Air Force jobs (almost*) equally.

For example, let's say the Air Force determines (Air Force Wide) that it will be promoting 20 percent of all eligible Staff Sergeants Sergeants (E-5) to the rank of Technical Sergeant (E-6) for the next promotion cycle. Each and every career field (job) will promote 20 percent of their eligible Staff Sergeants to Technical Sergeant, regardless of whether or not the job is over-manned or undermanned.

*NOTE: The percentages for each job don't come out evenly for two reasons:

(1) The Air Force rounds the numbers *up* for each job. For example, if the overall promotion-rate for the cycle is 10 percent, and there are 100 people eligible in "Job A," then 10 people will be promoted (10 percent). However, what if there were 113 people eligible? 10 percent of 113 is 11.3. You can't promote one-third of a person, so in this case, the Air Force would round it up and promote 12 people. That would result in a promotion rate in that job of 10.6 percent, instead of 10 percent. If there was only one person eligible for promotion in that AFSC (Job), he/she would be promoted (assuming the commander recommended him/her), and so the promotion rate in that job would be 100 percent.

(2) Each year, the Air Force selects some critically manned career fields to receive an extra five percentage points. So, if the overall promotion rate was 20 percent, some critically-manned career fields would be allowed to promote 25 percent of their eligible's.

When determining who gets promoted, the Air Force uses WAPS (Weighted Airman Promotion System) points. For SMSgt (E-8) and CMSgt (E-9) promotions, the individual's records are also reviewed by a centralized promotion board. The promotion board awards "board points," based upon the records. The maximum board points that can be awarded are 450. Quite simply, if the promotion rate is 10 percent, you add up the WAPS points and the promotion board points, and the top 10 percent of the eligible members in that job with the most total points, are the ones who get promoted.

Below are the historical Air Force promotion rates to the rank of Chief Master Sergeants from Fiscal Year 1971 to Fiscal Year 2001:

Fiscal Year Number Eligible Number Selected Promotion Rate (%)

71

10,695

687

6.42

72

11,824

1,524

12.89

73

8,975

1,735

19.33

74

8,238

664

8.06

75

8,338

1,487

17.83

76

6,356

1,218

19.16

77

7,027

833

11.85

78

5,733

1,238

21.59

79

4,578

819

17.89

80

3,692

1,171

31.72

81

3,439

1,164

33.85

82

2,741

1,194

43.56

83

3,449

1,067

30.94

84

4,104

730

17.79

85

5,279

1,195

22.64

86

5,290

1,260

23.82

87

4,948

955

19.30

88

5,793

729

12.58

89

6,201

815

13.14

90

5,514

747

13.55

91

4,590

632

13.77

92

4,488

532

11.85

93

4,711

442

9.38

94

4,569

420

9.19

95

3,850

632

16.42

96

3,197

621

19.42

97

2,984

540

18.10

98

2,864

612

21.37

99

2,855

502

17.58

00

2,935

417

14.21

01

2,879

635

22.06

02
2,815
561
19.93
03
2,649
526
19.86
04
2,688
566
21.06
05
2,580
589
22.83

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