HomeNews

AF announces Enlisted Professional Military Education redesign



WASHINGTON (AFNS) -- Air Force officials announced major changes to the enlisted professional military education program today via an initiative called Enlisted Professional Military Education for the 21st Century, or “EPME 21.”

A major initiative of EPME 21 is that time in service will no longer dictate an Airman’s EPME enrollment -- Airmen will only be required to complete distance learning courses as a prerequisite to their resident attendance. This initiative is now in effect.

Also, the Air Force will transition to 100 percent resident EPME, allowing all active duty, Guard and reserve Airmen an opportunity to attend Airman Leadership School, the NCO and senior NCO academies prior to promotion.

The changes are a result of the 2017 EPME triennial review, said Chief Master Sgt. JoAnne Bass, the Chief of Air Force Enlisted Developmental Education at the Pentagon.

“The committee determined changes were needed to the existing EPME structure in order to align EPME with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s policy requiring rank-based educational opportunities,” Bass said. “This also enables all Airmen an opportunity to attend resident PME in order to truly leverage the educational experiences gained from instructors and peers.”

One of Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force Kaleth O. Wright’s three priorities is leadership – developing Airmen who are ready to lead. One of his objectives in this is to cement EPME changes and infuse agility into Air University processes to improve the ability to provide timely, updated content delivery.

“If this sounds familiar, it should. It was the staple of our EPME for almost 43 years before a recent change to a time in service model,” Wright said. “While this model was effective for some, we quickly found it didn’t meet the needs of all our Airmen, causing many NCOs to lose the opportunity to attend in residence at all.”

Rather than requiring Airmen to complete EPME at set times based on how long they’ve been in the Air Force, the new model transitions to a rank-based continuum of learning.

Removing the TIS determination “just makes sense,” Wright said. “We must ensure timely, focused and operationally relevant training and educational solutions at all levels. Providing Airmen with the appropriate PME at the right times in their career is a must. If we deliver it too soon, it’s not effective for where they are in their careers. If we deliver it too late, it’s not effective at all.”

Wright notes that the model provides Airmen greater flexibility and time, allowing them to focus their energies on the mission.

“Commanders, superintendents, first sergeants and supervisors remain central to inspiring a culture of innovation, agility and excellence, while promoting a continuum of learning that spans an Airman’s career,” he said.

Airmen will not be notified from the Air Force Personnel Center or Air University on when to enroll themselves into distance learning, but must manually enroll themselves.

“This new EPME structure allows Airmen to decide the best timeframe to complete their distance learning,” Bass said. “They will have to complete the distance learning prior to being scheduled for the resident portion, but each Airman now has more flexibility as to when the right time is for them.”

Bass explained that distance learning provides students with basic competency development and the resident courses allow students to apply what they learned.

“It is necessary to complete both the distance learning and the resident courses to achieve development of the required competencies at the appropriate proficiency levels,” she said. “We expect staff and master sergeants to complete their respective distance learning so when they become technical and senior master sergeants, they are immediately eligible for resident attendance.”

Resident EPME is a promotion requirement -- Airman Leadership School, NCO Academy, SNCO Academy and the Chief Leadership Course are required for promotion to E-5, E-7 and E-9, respectively.

Airmen who have previously completed NCO or SNCO distance learning courses under the previous policy and have not attended resident EPME, will still receive EPME credit and will not be required to attend the resident portion. Additionally, those currently enrolled in NCO or SNCO distance learning courses may still complete the course and receive credit upon completion. Or, they may withdraw with no adverse actions and reenroll at a later date, prior to attending resident EPME.

“This change clearly sends a signal that our senior leaders value deliberately developing our enlisted corps,” said Lt. Gen. Gina Grosso, the Air Force Deputy Chief of Staff for Manpower, Personnel and Services. “This is a positive move in the right direction, as we continue to develop the force and support our Airmen.”

Additionally, EPME 21 will institute a new requirement called Professional Development Unit that will capture diverse education, training and life experiences. This will allow the AF to capture those experiences. Each Airman will complete 24 PDUs per year with one PDU equaling approximately one hour of learning, which equates to three days of development in the span of a year.

Many activities that enlisted Airmen already do will count towards the 24 PDUs. Professional Enhancement Seminars, Senior Enlisted Joint PME, college classes and even earning professional certifications accumulate points. Many Airmen have already attended programs like Profession of Arms Center of Excellence or other major command courses. Additionally, Airmen actively plan and participate in Air Force, Joint and coalition exercises, gaining experience in warfighting activities ranging from aircraft generation, command and control and force protection. And finally, Airmen deploy and lead both small and large teams across our Combatant Command Areas of Responsibility. These all count.

For more information, visit myPers. Individuals who do not have a myPers account can request one by following the instructions on the Air Force Retirees Services website.

EPME Infographic

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.

News Search