Aspiring staff sergeants must prepare to test as early as April 1, one month earlier than previously announced. But those selected for promotion will avoid facing the enlisted retention board reviewing airmen for separation.
The staff sergeant promotion tests will now be held between April 1 and May 16, the Air Force Personnel Center said Feb. 7. The window originally would have been between May 1 and June 15.
The window is being moved up to ensure that senior airmen who are selected for promotion to staff sergeant do not have to face their enlisted retention board, which will convene June 16. The enlisted retention boards — which will consider senior airmen through chief master sergeants for separation — are part of the Air Force’s massive force management programs.
“We have assured airmen selected for promotion that they will not meet the ERB,” said Chief Master Sgt. Michael McGuirt, head of enlisted promotions at AFPC. “Moving the testing window up will allow individuals to test and allow us time to process scores, run selects before the ERB board begins and remove selects from the ERB eligible list.”
McGuirt said moving the tests up could prevent up to 10,000 airmen from being unnecessarily reviewed by the board.
“We’ve coordinated with all the affected organizations to ensure study references are available and test booklets will be printed and delivered to testing locations in time for the April 1 start date,” he said.
The Air Force is planning to cut about 22,500 airmen — including 18,336 enlisted airmen — this year to help it adjust to across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester.