The Air Force Personnel Center has managed to upload the records of about 900 of the roughly 1,300 senior airmen who were not considered for promotion to staff sergeant due to a number of factors, such as missing documents, according to AFPC. Most of the remaining 400 airmen have enlisted personnel reports that AFPC has not yet received.

"We anticipate the vast majority of those affected by the 'zero' will have their records re-run in the September in-system supplemental," said AFPC spokesman Mike Dickerson. "The next E5-E9 supplemental promotion release is currently scheduled for Sept. 10. The remainder will be processed as AFPC receives necessary documents from servicing military personnel sections."

Dickerson answered several questions about what caused the problems and what the Air Force is doing to help the affected airmen. These are his their verbatim responses to questions from Air Force Times.

Q. What exactly is the issue for these 1,300 airmen?

The weighted airman promotion system or WAPS for promotions to staff sergeant and technical sergeant is comprised of six "weighable factors": specialty knowledge test (SKT), promotion fitness examination (PFE), enlisted performance report (EPR), decorations, time-in-service (TIS), and time-in-grade (TIG).  The model independently calculates each factor and thus creates "weighted points".  Following each component's independent weighted-points calculation, the weighted factors are consolidated to create an Airman's "composite score".

If AFPC has not received an Airman's PFE or SKT, or the PFE or SKT score sheet is mismarked/incomplete/or has stray markings; or if the static close out date EPR is missing, the promotion file is considered "non-weighable" as the composite score cannot be calculated as a result of the missing component. In addition, senior airmen must meet skill level requirements by the promotion eligibility cut-off date for staff sergeant, and those senior airmen who fail to meet skill level requirements are also considered non-weighable, until such time as AFPC receives a formal skill-level waiver recommendation from the member's commander.

AFPC is aware that Airmen are expressing concerns regarding the 15E5 promotion cycle results to include an erroneous belief that test answer sheets for senior airmen testing for SSgt were "lost."  To date, we have not received information leading us to believe that any test sheets have been lost.  There has been only one instance in nearly 20 years when tests were physically lost by a contracted carrier. That has not occurred in this case.  Each year there are Airmen testing to all grades whose score notices reflect a "zero," including this year's 15E5 cycle.

Approximately 1,300 senior airmen Air Force wide, of nearly 50,000 initially identified as eligible for the 2015 SSgt cycle, currently have a WAPS score notice reflecting all "zeroes."  Numerous factors that cause the "zero" score notices include, but are not limited to, the following: mismarked/incomplete score sheets received by AFPC, pending skill-level waivers, pending SKT score sheet, and missing EPRs.

If airmen pull their WAPS score notice off the Air Force Portal, the notice will reflect "zeroes".  WAPS score "zeroes" are a reflection of an airman's promotion record being "non-weighable" as it has a missing component(s) that is preventing the calculation of the composite WAPS score.

Q. How did having a "zero" WAPS score affect these airmen during the 2015 staff sergeant promotion cycle?  

The 1,300 senior airmen testing for staff sergeant during the 15E5 have non-weighable promotion records which are due to numerous factors that include but are not limited to, mismarked/incomplete score sheets received by AFPC, pending commander recommended skill-level waivers, pending SKT score sheets and EPRs not received by AFPC in time for the promotion cycle.

These Airmen were not able to be considered for this promotion cycle due to the non-weighable factors, but we anticipate the vast majority of those reflecting "zeroes" will have their records re-run during the September in-system supplemental.  The next E5-E9 in-system supplemental promotion release is currently scheduled for Sept. 10.

Q.  How is the Air Force fixing this issue? 

AFPC has already manually fixed a majority of mismarked/incomplete score sheets for these individuals and continues to work with military personnel sections to address all the remaining to include forwarding documents not received by AFPC in time for the promotion cycle (SCOD EPR, missing SKT, etc.).  Once these documents are received and uploaded, the impacted Airman's promotion record will automatically be submitted through the in-system supplemental promotion process and rendered a promotion select/non-select, with WAPS score notice available via the 'Promotions' application in vMPF.

Q. What steps is the Air Force taking to make sure this issue does not happen again? 

The Air Force takes every precaution to ensure that promotion cycles run smoothly and efficiently. AFPC educates and advises members in the field and maintains close contact with base personnel teams and Test Control Officers to ensure all are ready to communicate promotion process requirements to Airmen and to guide Airmen through the process.  AFPC will continue to provide instruction, support and guidance to personnelists and Airmen to ensure promotion processes run smoothly in accordance with Air Force Instructions.

Q. Do these senior airmen need to do anything to correct their records?

We anticipate that most of these Airmen will meet the September in-system supplemental promotion process. We encourage affected Airmen who have not spoken with their immediate leadership chain or local military personnel section to do so in order to bring attention to their individual situation so it may be addressed.  In addition, affected Airmen can verify their Data Verification RIP (DVR) on-line via the vMPF self-service application (will reflect member as promotion "eligible" if their status has been updated) and are also welcome to contact us for assistance.

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