The Air Force has selected 23.55 percent of eligible airmen for promotion to technical sergeant this year — the highest in four years, and the latest sign that the promotion drought is ending.
According to statistics posted on the Air Force's internal MyPers website and obtained by Air Force Times, 8,446 out of 35,863 eligible staff sergeants were selected for promotion to E-6. The Air Force Personnel Center confirmed the accuracy of those numbers.
That selection rate is far higher than the 15.03 percent rate in 2013 — when 6,684 airmen were selected for promotion — and the 17.43 percent rate last year.
In an interview last month, Brig. Gen. Brian Kelly, director of military force management policy, said he expected promotion selection rates to increase this year. That expected increase is largely due to the end of the Air Force's massive drawdown effort that separated about 19,800 airmen voluntarily and involuntarily, and due to plans to increase staffing in some critical and undermanned fields.
The last time selection rates were higher was in 2011, when 24.94 percent of airmen were selected for promotion to E-6.
Other than 2011, the last time selection rates were higher than the current 23.55 percent was in 2002, when 33.51 percent of eligible staff sergeants were selected for promotion. That means this year is the second-highest selection rate in more than a decade.
This is the second promotion announcement this calendar year that saw a significant selection rate increase. In March, the Air Force announced 8.75 percent of airmen had been selected for promotion to senior master sergeant -- two percentage points higher than the 6.74 percent rate in 2014.