Enlisted airmen will no longer get any points based on their longevity in the service or in their current grade when they are considered for promotion.

The Air Force has been phasing out time-in-grade and time-in-service points since 2015 as part of a sweeping overhaul of the enlisted performance evaluation and promotion system. That year, their value was cut by one-third, and they were cut by another third in 2016.

Beginning with the 2017 master sergeant promotion cycle, according to a Thursday release from the Air Force Personnel Center, airmen hoping for promotion to staff, technical, master or chief master sergeant will no longer receive any boost from how long they've served in the Air Force or their current rank.

Promotions to senior master sergeant will drop the longevity points in 2018. E-8 promotions are typically announced in March, meaning the 2017 process was too far along to make the change in time-in-grade and time-in-service.

By scrapping longevity points entirely, the Air Force hopes to make the enlisted promotion system based more on how well airmen are actually performing, instead of how long they've been in.

When the Air Force announced the second part of the longevity point phase-out in February, it left the door open a crack to delaying or otherwise altering the final elimination of points, in case its reviews revealed something was wrong. But on Thursday, AFPC confirmed that those points will be eliminated entirely.

The elimination of time-in-grade and time-in-service points ties up the last loose end from the Air Force's enlisted promotion overhaul, which was a major priority of outgoing Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody.

For years, airmen had complained that the enlisted promotion system was effectively incapable of differentiating between varying levels of performance. There were no limits on how many airmen could receive top performance ratings, for example, and the so-called "firewall 5" became a widely acknowledged problem from the rank-and-file to the top of the Pentagon. The new system sought to kill the firewall 5 by instituting a strict system of quotas, limiting how many airmen could get the top promotion recommendations.

Another vast personnel overhaul may be just over the horizon. Lt. Gen. Gina Grosso, the Air Force's personnel chief, said at a forum in October that the service is starting to take a look at how officers are evaluated and promoted, and wants to reform that system as well.

Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at Military.com. He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.

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