In 2018, the Air Force plans to kick into high gear its first major overhaul of officer promotions and evaluations in three decades.
Lt. Gen. Gina Grosso, the Air Force’s personnel chief, said in a September interview that reforming officer’s performance management — similar to the way the enlisted performance system was overhauled in 2015 — is long overdue.
“If you just think about 1988 – what the world looked like, what the Air Force looked like — you look at it today, it’s dramatically different,” Grosso said.
Grosso said in September that the Air Force is considering having all performance reports for all officers of the same rank done at the same time, rather than being staggered throughout the year — a system called “static close-out dates.” Enlisted airmen moved to the static close-out date system in 2015.
And Grosso said that officer ranks have a problem with grade inflation that needs to be addressed. A similar inflation problem was one of the factors that led to the enlisted performance overhaul, which included a “forced distribution” system of quotas. The Air Force will study how that enlisted quota system has worked to solve grade inflation, as well as how other military services have tackled it.
The service is still working on a “concept of operations,” or a road map spelling out what parts of the evaluation system need to be fixed and when they would be addressed. In a Nov. 15 email, spokeswoman Brooke Brzozowske said the Air Force was not ready to discuss what the road map might include, but that more information might be released by the end of the year.
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.