The US Air Force (USAF) has modified the enlisted evaluation system and weighted airman promotion system (WAPS) in an effort to make airmen’s latest job performance the deciding factor for promotion.

Starting this month, the USAF will replace the existing WAPS calculation that uses an airman’s last five enlisted performance reports (EPRs) with a model that considers the last three EPRs.

EPR points for WAPS will increase while time-in-grade and time-in-service points will be gradually reduced over the next few years until they are completely eliminated.

US Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James said: "We want to make sure performance is the most important thing in every aspect of an airman’s career, so the evaluation process is going to measure performance, and the promotion system is going to emphasise performance."

"The new model is expected to be applied to the first phase of a new master sergeant promotion process in 2015."

US Air Force chief master sergeant James Cody said: "Our enlisted leaders have worked closely with the air staff and (major command) commanders to design a system that truly recognises and rewards airmen based firmly on their performance."

The new model is expected to be applied to the first phase of a new master sergeant promotion process scheduled for implementation in 2015.

After completing WAPS testing and having their test scores combined with other weighted factors, including EPRs, the top 60% of airmen within each air force specialty code will advance to the second phase.

In the second phase, airmen records will be verified by an evaluation board similar to the existing senior non-commissioned officer (NCO) promotion boards.

The revised evaluation system details have been released a day after the USAF revealed its 30-year strategy to focus on agility. The plan envisages better career-paths to airmen.

Image: The new evaluation system considers an airman’s last three enlisted performance reports. Photo: courtesy of US Air Force photo / Airman 1st Class Ryan Callaghan.

Defence Technology