Airmen will soon learn of their promotions from their commanding officers instead of a news release, according to a memo from reports of proposed changes to the Air Force Personnel Center.

In a July 20 email to commanders obtained by the news blog According to the website John Q. Public, new Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein announced that, beginning with the staff sergeant promotion results expected in August, commanders will receive promotion lists four days before public release, so they can inform their airmen of the good news themselves.

Currently, for most promotions for noncommissioned officers, the Air Force publishes a news release with the names of all those who will receive a bump in rank. Air Force Times routinely publishes these lists.

But the virtual release of enlisted promotion lists, without advance notification to commanders, has been a sore spot since the Air Force adopted it nine years ago.

"We did it for understandable reasons," Goldfein wrote, "the system we used to provide results to commanders was abolished and [Program Budget Decision] 720 cut the folks at the base level [Military Personnel Flights] who did the work.

"Since we've gone to this virtual process, commanders have been asking for a way to allow them to make promotion notifications to their Airmen," he wrote. "While we've been able to make adjustments so senior raters get early notification for SNCO promotions (MSgt, SMSgt and CMSgt), we hadn't been able to crack the code on how to do it for NCOs."

The Air Force Personnel Center "has been working hard to solve this challenge," he wrote,"and recently found a way to make it happen."

The welcome change will bring back the personal touch that commanders in the field want: a chance to tell their airmen of a promotion face to face, rather than have them learn about it through a news release, and an opportunity to congratulate them for their hard work and dedication.

"This is one of many initiatives to further empower you, your commanders and all our Total Force Airmen where it matters most … at the squadron level," Goldfein wrote.