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SMSgt (E-8) and CMSgt (E-9) Air Force Promotions
Fact Sheet
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Military Promotions

INTRODUCTION: The Chief Master Sergeant (CMSgt) Evaluation Board normally convenes each October, and the Senior Master Sergeant (SMSgt) Evaluation Board usually convenes each January at the Air Force Personnel Center (AFPC). The following information explains how the promotion program operates.

Individuals selected for promotion to CMSgt are promoted during the period 1 January through 1 December of each year. Individuals selected for promotion to SMSgt are promoted during the period 1 April through 1 March of the following year. The following table is included for easy reference:

Promotion Eligibility Criteria
Promotion To: Time-in-Grade (TIG) Required Time-in-Service (TIS) Required Promotion Eligibility Cutoff Date (PECD) Testing Month Promotion Months
CMSgt (E-9) 21 Months 14 Years 31 Jul Sep Jan - Dec
SMSgt (E-8) 20 Months 11 Years 30 Sep Dec Apr - Mar

ACTIVE DUTY SERVICE COMMITMENT: Selectees to the grades of SMSgt and CMSgt with more than 18 years total active federal military service (TAFMS) will sign a statement of understanding within 10 workdays after selections are announced acknowledging they will incur a 2-year active duty service commitment (ADSC) from the effective date of promotion to qualify for non-disability retirement.

PROMOTION ELIGIBILITY FOR ENLISTED RECALLED TO AD: Air Force Reservists who are Functional Category "J" on active duty (AD) are counted in the AD end strength and fall under WAPS for promotion consideration. They must meet AD promotion requirements in order to be considered for promotion and are required to receive annual EPRs. They are treated as any other active duty individual. These individuals are not Reservists who fill statutory tour positions.

PROMOTION OPPORTUNITY: The CMSgt and SMSgt promotion selection program has always been extremely competitive. Since not every deserving NCO can be promoted, many highly qualified personnel will not be selected. By public law, only three percent of the enlisted force can be in the grades of SMSgt and CMSgt. Therefore, the number that can be promoted is relatively small and competition for the limited quotas is tough.

Calculating Points and Factors for SMSgt and CMSgt Promotions
If the factor is then the maximum score is
USAF Supervisory Exam 100 points.
Board Score 450 points.
EPR (Performance Evaluation) Score 135 points. (See E-5 through E-7 Promotion Fact Sheet to calculate EPR points.)
Decorations 25 points. Assign the point value based on the decoration's order of precedence. (See E-5 through E-7 Promotion Fact Sheet for decoration point value)
Time-in-Grade (TIG) 60 points. Credit one-half point for each month in current grade, based on DOR, up to 10 years, computed as of the first day of the last month of the promotion cycle.
Time-in-Service (TIS) 25 points. Credit one-twelfth point for each month of TAFMS, up to 25 years, computed as of the last day of the last month of the promotion cycle.
Note: Cut off scores after the second decimal place. Do not use the third decimal place to round up or down. Computation of points for TIG and TIS: Count 15 days or more as 1 month and drop period of less than 15 days.

SELECTION FOLDER CONTENTS: The following items comprise the contents of the SNCO selection folder:

1. All EPRs (Performance Reports) for the past ten years.

2. Citations for all decorations.

3. Senior NCO Evaluation Brief.

4. Article 15 - If applicable and determined to be filed by appropriate commander.

5. Record of Courts-martial.

6. AF Form 77, Letter of Evaluation, for breaks in service, EPR appeals, administrative correction, etc.

SELECTION OF BOARD MEMBERS: The number and career field background of board members is determined by the number of eligible personnel identified by major command and CEM code/AFSC. Board members are assigned to panels consisting of one colonel and two chief master sergeants. The board president is always a general officer. The board is briefed on the objective of its task, eligible population profile, selection folder content, and is then sworn to complete its task without prejudice or partiality, having in view both the special fitness of the NCO and the requirements of the United States Air Force.

EVALUATION PROCESS: The "whole person" concept is used to evaluate the quality and potential of all eligibles and to align them in relative order of merit on a best-qualified basis within each CEM code/AFSC.

FACTORS USED: Board members assess an individual's promotion potential by making a "total" evaluation of each record based on the factors listed below. These factors have been reviewed and approved by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force as being the most important to consider in the "whole person" assessment. The factors are not listed in any priority sequence nor is any specific weight assigned to any one factor.

1. Performance: All aspects of the EPR are considered: Job description, individual rating factors, period of supervision, overall evaluation, indorsement level, and the narrative word picture. A strong performer's report should convey to the board that he/she has demonstrated qualities of leadership and managerial potential.

2. Professional Competence: The Air Force Chief of Staff has emphasized the need for careful selection of individuals for promotion to the top two NCO grades. It is imperative that those selected for senior NCO grades be the best qualified people available. It is crucial that they have sufficient leadership and managerial experience to prepare them for the challenges they, and the Air Force, will face.

3. Leadership: Each board member's judgment, expertise, and maturity is relied upon to glean from each record an assessment of an NCO's potential to be a leader. Do people react to the individual in such a way that the job gets done better? What have the rating officials said about leadership potential? What haven't they said?

4. Job Responsibility: There are many jobs at base level that demand just as much of an individual as jobs at higher command levels. Consideration is given primarily to what the individual has been asked to accomplish and how well it has been done. Is the individual in, or has he/she been in, a job that requires significant decisions, or is it a type of job that is routinely carried out on the basis of someone else's decisions? Has the individual proven to be an effective manager in superintendent positions where there is responsibility for directing the work of others, or is he/she responsible only for his/her own performance?

5. Breadth of Experience: This factor refers to the overall professional background, experience, and knowledge gained. Some items considered are: Does the individual have knowledge and/or practical experience in areas other than the current specialty? If the individual has remained in one career field, is there wide exposure across the career field? Is there potential for filling different types of jobs? Is there supervisory and managerial experience?

6. Specific Achievements: These are often recognized in the form of awards and decorations; however, there are many other significant accomplishments that are often addressed within the narrative comments of the EPRs. Such recognition, either in the form of decorations or narrative comments, can help distinguish the truly outstanding performer.

7. Education: The NCOs who are considered will have a broad range of academic achievements. When the board evaluates academic education as part of the whole-person assessment, the most important consideration should be the degree to which the education enhances the NCO's potential to serve in the next higher grade.

TRIAL RUN: Before beginning the actual scoring process, all board members are given a selected set of 10 to 15 records from one CEM Code/AFSC to score. Using the "whole person" factors, they are asked to score the records, using secret ballots, and assign a score between 6 and 10, using half-point increments. The board members are also asked to keep notes to use in an open discussion, which follows the practice scoring. This discussion period assists each panel member to establish a scoring standard that he/she can apply consistently throughout the board process. A second set of approximately 30 to 40 trial run records are then scored and discussed between the panel members to ensure the standard they have established can be applied fairly and consistently throughout the board. Any disagreement of more than one point between the scores of any two panel members must be resolved. This is yet another of the many safeguards built into the process to ensure that your record receives an in-depth, consistent evaluation in comparison to other eligibles.

BOARD SCORE: After the trial run has been completed and discussed, panels begin the actual scoring of records by CEM code/AFSC. All eligibles competing in a CEM code/AFSC are evaluated by the same three member panel. Each panel member scores the record using the 6 to 10 point scale and half-point increments described above. An individual record may receive a composite panel score ranging from a minimum of 18 (6-6-6) to a maximum of 30 points (10-10-10). The panel score is then multiplied by 15 to determine the board score. Panel members score the record individually using a secret ballot without discussion among them. Records are given to each panel member in a stack of 20. After the records are scored, the ballots are given directly to an administrative assistant so other panel members are not aware of scores. This ensures each panel member scores the record independently and fairly. A record that has been scored with a difference of more than one point between any of the panel members (e.g. 8.5, 8.0, and 7.0) is termed a split vote and is returned to the panel for resolution. At this point, all panel members may discuss the record openly among themselves. This allows them to state their reasons for scoring the record as they did. Only those panel members that caused the split are allowed to change their scores. This ensures consistency of scoring and eliminates the possibility that the action of any one panel member will have a major impact, either positive or negative, on any individual's board score.

Board Scoring Criteria
Absolutely Superior 10 Outstanding
Outstanding Record 9.5 Outstanding
Few Could Be Better 9 Above Average
Strong Record 8.5 Above Average
Slightly Above Average 8 Above Average
Average 7.5 Average
Slightly Below Average 7 Below Average
Well Below Average 6.5 Below Average
Lowest in Potential 6 Below Average

Board members are formally charged with ensuring individuals are not only best qualified, but fully qualified to assume the responsibility of the next higher grade. If the board determines an individual is not fully qualified (NFQ) based on an evaluation of the record, the individual is rendered NFQ for promotion. The individual is removed from promotion consideration and rendered ineligible for that particular cycle. Once a record is deactivated, the individual will not receive a score notice and his/her name will not appear on either the select or nonselect listing. Their unit commander will notify the individual of their promotion status. The rationale behind the board's decision to designate an individual as "NFQ" is not released, although factors contributing to their decision may be an Article 15, a referral evaluation report, or simply a record that does not measure up to the records of peers. When an individual receives an NFQ, the board wants to be certain he or she will not be promoted. Many commanders have asked on previous occasions, "Why didn't the board merely render a low board score?" The answer is that under our weighted system, a low board score does not always prevent one from being promoted. The NFQ process is absolute in that it prevents promotion of airmen who in the opinion of the board should not be promoted to the next higher grade under any circumstances. Board members don't have access to the weighted scores of individuals competing for promotion. Their primary concern is to align all the eligibles in a relative order of merit within the CEM code/AFSC. When board members leave, they do not know who was selected, they only know they have reviewed and scored each record within the standard that evolved from the trial run, and aligned eligible NCOs in an order of merit based on their panel score.

POST-BOARD PROCESSING: After the board is finished, the weighted factor scores are combined with the board scores. This completely computer-run operation builds an order of merit listing by total score within each CEM code/AFSC, and the overall promotion quota is then applied to each list. After the selection results are approved, the data is transmitted to the MPF. The unit commander is authorized to announce selections on the public release date; however, initial notification of selection is "tentative" pending a 100 percent audit of the data used in the selection process against your personnel record.

SCORE NOTICE: All eligible personnel will receive a score notice (except individuals who are rendered NFQ). This score notice is a report of how you fared in the promotion process. It can also be used with promotion statistics available (approximately 3 weeks after public release of promotion selections) in the MPF to determine what areas in your record may need improvement. The only person authorized to review the notice without your consent is your immediate commander. However, you are encouraged to voluntarily share the contents with other Air Force leaders, i.e., CMSgt mentors and supervisors, in an effort to gain insight from their experience. The ultimate decision as to whether or not you should share score notice information with anyone other than your commander is up to you. NOTE: Individuals found NFQ for promotion can request a manual score computation from HQ AFPC/DPPPWM, 550 C Street West, Suite 9, Randolph AFB TX, 78150-4711.

INTERPRETING YOUR BOARD SCORE: Many individuals often reach the faulty conclusion that a drop in board score from one year to the next must mean a drop in the quality of their record. We want to assure you that it is not uncommon for board scores to differ from year to year without any significant change in the record. Boards are subjective, and as long as different leaders serve on these boards each year, the scores they assign may differ somewhat. Another important factor is your eligibility pool--the competition! Keep in mind that some were promoted last year, some retired, and other sharp individuals have joined your group for the very first time. Unless you are in a one-deep AFSC, it is next to impossible for you or your boss to know how your competition stacks up prior to the board-even though in a small AFSC you may think you know. A review of your score notice after the board will help you see exactly where you stood among your peers. Again-where you stood among your peers is far more telling than what numerical score you received.

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