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Joint Forces Journal

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VOL. 24 - NO. 45
DEC 8 - 15, 2019
PO BOX 13283
OAKLAND, CA 94661-0283

510.595.7777 FAX

Joint Forces Journal is published privately, and in no way is connected with DoD, the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard. This website and the printed newspaper are intended for the members of the Armed Forces and their families. Contents do not necessarily reflect official views of the U.S. Government, the Department of Defense or the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force or Coast Guard, and do not imply endorsements thereof. The marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation, or any other non-merit factor of the purchases, user or patron for advertisers prohibited. If a violation or rejection of this equal opportunity policy by an advertiser is confirmed, the publisher shall refuse to print advertising from that source until the violation is corrected. Editorial content is prepared and edited privately, and is provided by the Public Affairs Office of U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard installations. Correspondence and material for publication should be addressed to: Editor, Joint Forces Journal, P.O. Box 13283, Oakland, CA, 94661-0283. Deadline for receiving articles and photos is 3 p.m. Monday for publication on Friday of that week. Joint Forces Journal editorial policy is to use bylines and photo credits where applicable and when submitted.

Air Force Reserve Changes to Provide More Enlisted Promotion Opportunities

Oct 04, 2019
by Oriana Pawlyk
The Air Force Reserve has upgraded about 3,500 rank authorizations across its force to give more promotion opportunities to enlisted airmen.

Beginning this month, the changes apply to all statuses within the enlisted Reserve force: Active Guard Reserve members, Air Reserve technicians, traditional reservists and individual mobilization augmentees. Put simply, the change means that thousands of jobs are now designated for a more senior paygrade, creating new opportunities for advancement for airmen in those fields.

"With the restructure of the Air Force Reserve Command enlisted grade authorizations, we are in a position to promote the right airmen into the right vacancies and capitalize on that individual's leadership potential," Chief Master Sgt. Timothy White, AFRC command chief, said.

The service's Enlisted Grade Council recommended the changes following a comprehensive review, which outlined one major goal: giving leaders more flexibility in how they recommend airmen for an assortment of positions.

"When we were looking at this, it wasn't by bases," said Sean P. Houlihan, chief of operations at AFRC public affairs.

"We were looking at the authorizations the Air Force grants for manning. It was the duties that are assigned, and what … level of leadership that we need on the enlisted side in order to accomplish the mission," he said.

Staff sergeants and technical sergeants fall under the noncommissioned officer tier, while master sergeants, senior master sergeants and chief master sergeant are considered senior NCOs.

"When they looked at these numbers, they looked at opening more positions for eligible senior NCOs ... to get into leadership positions within their squadrons," Houlihan said.

The Reserve looked across grades and all Air Force Specialty Codes to see how the newly upgraded authorizations would affect promotion opportunities, he said.

However, Houlihan said there will be some give and take.

"We're also capped by end-strength numbers, and on the senior NCO side, that means how many airmen can be in the senior NCO tier," he said. As a result, there will be a reduction in grade for 2% of the jobs for enlisted members in the Reserve.

This changes how authorizations are perceived internally, but it will not actually demote any airmen, Houlihan said.

"Let's say we took a technical sergeant, 7-level authorization at Grissom Air Reserve Base [Indiana], who is a Security Forces airman. That tech sergeant authorization is now downgraded to a staff sergeant 5-level authorization on the manning document ... but an airman has not been demoted," he said.

"We're just changing the manning document. But if you're sitting in that manning position, you're only going to become a staff sergeant if you're sitting in that job" going forward, he explained.

Houlihan stressed the changes are meant to address readiness shortfalls and the ranks needed to execute specific missions.

"Our bottom line in the command is that we wanted to make sure that we have an enlisted force structure that ensures our readiness for the Air Force's needs, and offers our Reserve citizen airmen the opportunity to promote within those organizations ... where they're assigned," he said.

* * * * *

Photo caption: Staff Sgt. selects are recognized at a Staff Sgt. select release party at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana. (U.S. Air Force photo/Jacob B. Wrightsman)


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