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Department of the Air Force unmasks academic degrees for major, lieutenant colonel promotion boards

  • Published
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Effective Jan. 1, 2023, advanced academic degrees will be visible to promotion central selection boards considering major and lieutenant colonel ranks. The change will apply to all eligible Department of the Air Force officers and allow promotion board members to consider an officer’s acquisition of valued expertise as one of many whole person concept considerations.

Operational and academic expertise, experience and high levels of job performance will be the most important factors when evaluating officers for promotion. Advanced academic degrees will be considered but will not be a requirement for, or a guarantor of, promotion.

“The United States, and specifically the Department of the Air Force, are facing foreign competitors that include the most technologically capable and well-resourced competitor we have ever confronted,” said Secretary of the Air Force Frank Kendall. “We are also confronted by multiple competitors from vastly different cultures than our own. To compete with China, Russia, or other potential threats, the Air and Space Forces must incorporate new technology more rapidly and effectively than our competitors. We must also have a deep understanding of the history, motivations, doctrine, and thought processes of our potential adversaries.”

“To do this effectively, we need leaders and supporting staff throughout the DAF at all levels who have deep expertise in emerging technologies and their applications to military operations. We must also have leaders with expertise in the cultures of our potential adversaries. Such expertise and associated critical thinking skills are developed from many sources and experiences, including advanced academic degree programs.”

In 2014, advanced academic degrees were masked to promotion boards for major and lieutenant colonel in conjunction with adjustments to displaying the method of completion of developmental education. It has been longstanding service practice to display advanced academic degrees for promotion boards to colonel and above.

Promotion board members will be instructed to understand and appreciate the value of specific advanced academic degrees, military training and operational experience for the developmental category meeting the board.

“Officers should not pursue an advanced degree simply to impress a promotion board or to check a perceived box,” Kendall said. “Advanced degrees should be chosen to meet personal and professional goals, with an appreciation of the value of the specific degree has to the Department of the Air Force,” Kendall said.

The Air Force Personnel Center and Air Reserve Personnel Center will communicate directly with officers meeting promotion boards in January through March 2023 to ensure eligible officers are aware of the change. Additionally, all officers will be notified where to find the guidance that promotion board members will receive regarding specific advanced academic degrees, military training and operational experiences for each developmental category, and specifically reminded to update their officer selection brief.

Officers may preview their records as the promotion board members will see them through the Personnel Records Display Application in myPers. Ahead of each promotion board, AFPC and ARPC will continue to provide details to eligible officers on how to update their advanced academic degree information.

For all officer promotion boards convening after March 2023, the service will follow the normal scheduled officer promotion process. Officers will have the opportunity to review their officer selection brief, which will now contain unmasked advanced academic degree information.