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The year ahead

Here are important dates under the new promotion system for enlisted members at each rank:

Senior airman and below

March 31: Static closeout date on which enlisted performance reports are completed. It coincides with the eligibility cutoff date for promotion to staff sergeant.

May-June: Testing window for senior airman promotions to staff sergeant.

Around July: Promotions to staff sergeant announced.

August: New EPR form released for consideration in 2016 and beyond.

March 2016: Forced distribution — the percentage of airmen who will be most recommended for promotion in 2016 and beyond — goes into effect.

Staff sergeant

Calendar 2015 cycle: First incremental reduction in time-in-grade and time-in-service points. EPR calculation weight changed. Transition from evaluating last five EPRs to no more than last three EPRs.

Jan. 31: Static closeout date on which EPRs are completed. It coincides with the eligibility cutoff date for promotion to technical sergeant.

February-March: Testing window for promotion to tech sergeant.

Around June: Promotions to tech sergeant announced.

August: New EPR form released for consideration in 2016 and beyond.

January 2016: Forced distribution goes into effect for consideration in 2016 and beyond

Technical sergeant

Calendar 2015 cycle: First incremental reduction in time-in-grade and time-in-service points. EPR calculation weight changed. Transition from evaluating last five EPRs to no more than last three EPRs.

February-March: Testing window for promotion to master sergeant. This will determine who will go before the first master sergeant promotion board.

May: First master sergeant promotion board.

TBA, likely during summer: Promotions to master sergeant announced.

August: New EPR form will be released for 2016 and beyond.

November: Forced distribution goes into effect for 2016 and beyond.

Nov. 30: Static closeout date on which EPRs are completed. It coincides with the eligibility cutoff date for promotion to master sergeant in 2016.

Master sergeant

Calendar 2015 cycle: First incremental reduction in time-in-grade and time-in-service points. EPR calculation weight changed. Transition from evaluating last five EPRs to no more than last three EPRs.

January-February: Evaluation board for promotion to senior master sergeant.

Around March: Promotions to senior master sergeant announced.

April: New EPR form released for 2016 and beyond. New restrictions announced on how many stratifications senior raters can give to their promotion-eligible master sergeants.

June 3: Change of reporting official reports — which were used when an airman had two or more raters within an annual rating period — eliminated.

Sept. 30: Static closeout date on which EPRs are completed. It coincides with the eligibility cutoff date for promotion to senior master sergeant in 2016.

December: Testing window for promotion to senior master sergeant in 2016.

Senior master sergeant

April: New EPR form released. New restrictions announced on how many stratifications senior raters can give to their promotion-eligible senior master sergeants.

April 3: Change of reporting official reports eliminated.

July 31: Static closeout date on which EPRs are completed. It coincides with the eligibility cutoff date for promotion to chief master sergeant.

September: Testing window for promotion to chief master sergeant.

October: Evaluation board for promotion to chief master sergeant.

Around November: Promotions to chief master sergeant announced.

Calendar 2016 cycle: First incremental reduction in time-in-grade and time-in-service points.

Chief master sergeant

Calendar 2015 cycle: First incremental reduction in time-in-grade and time-in-service points.

February: New EPR forms released for chief master sergeants.

Feb. 2: Change of reporting official reports eliminated.

May 31: Static closeout date on which EPRs are completed.

— Stephen Losey

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