ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam --
The 36th Wing command chief master sergeant joined the 36th Force Support Squadron force management representatives to conduct town hall meetings with several hundred base Airmen Aug. 22 at the base theater regarding the proposed changes to the enlisted evaluation and promotion systems.
"The Air Force is scaling down and you have to bring it," Chief Master Sgt. Michael McMillan told Airmen in attendance. "This is the biggest change I've ever seen, but over time, this is going to make us better."
The Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs office announced sweeping changes to the current evaluations and promotions systems July 31
and outlined specific steps the service is taking to overhaul both processes. However, the 36th FSS officials emphasized only official changes are published through the Air Force Personnel Center. At the moment, the only official policy change is the technical sergeant enlisted performance report static close out dates that were announced Aug. 15
"The most important thing to keep in mind is performance is No. 1," said Master Sgt. Natasha Cantrell, 36th FSS Force Management Element superintendent. "There were three objectives with this system - curb inflation, streamline the enlisted evaluation system process and overhaul the Weighted Airman Promotion System."
McMillan explained how the report system before the current version, the Airman Promotion Evaluation, had a total of nine rating and inflation with those reports caused the five rating options available today.
"Everyone was a 'firewall nine,' we fixed the system and in reality we broke it again; we being the current senior NCOs," he said. "Everyone can't be a 'firewall five;' it doesn't add up."
To address the inflationary report issue, Cottrell said overall performance would be assessed by an Airman's rater, but the rating for promotion would be recommended by their commander. The commander promotion ratings are only applicable when the rate is within their promotion cycle.
To streamline EPRs, static close out dates are established where all reports will be due for a specific grade on specific dates, and for technical sergeants, that date is Nov. 30. For anyone who's EPR is scheduled to close out between Aug. 14 and Nov. 20, his or her date will be moved to Nov. 30. Anyone who had an EPR close out before Aug. 14 will require a second report on Nov. 30.
McMillan emphasized to Andersen Airmen that while the change is not ideal, it's necessary for the system to work.
"We have to get everyone lined up," he said. "Some people will have a 'long' EPR (beyond the traditional year) and some will have a 'short' EPR."
The most significant proposed changes to come from the WAPS process is the gradual elimination of time in grade and time in service, the officials said. Within each AFSC, the top 60 percent of technical sergeants records will meet an Evaluation Board, similar to the current senior and chief master sergeant boards.
Despite all the changes, McMillan emphasized the importance of continuing to set and meet standards established during feedbacks and the "promotions will take care to themselves."
"Now that (the Air Force is) changing the EPR system and they are going to in essence rack and stack everyone, people are worried about promotions," he said. "But if you are doing what you need to do in accordance with AFI 36-2618, Enlisted Force Structure, this new system shouldn't be an issue."
Senior Master Sgt. John Howe, 36th FSS superintendent, announced an Andersen-specific SharePoint site that's coming online soon and will feature discussion boards and a question- and- answer section.
"We highly encourage you to look for that and we just ask that you give us 24 to 48 hours to answer the questions, as we may have to clarify the answers with AFPC," he said.
Howe closed the session by reminding attendees again that all of the information discussed to this point is still not official Air Force policy until officially announced by AFPC.
For more news and information on the changes, check www.afpc.af.mil or www.af.mil.