The Air Force announced Wednesday it has selected 2,556 officers for promotion to major.

This is the first O-4 promotion cycle since the Air Force announced all qualified, promotion-eligible line captains would have a 100 percent promotion opportunity.

However, not everyone who was considered for promotion earned their golden oak leaf.

There were 2,671 captain considered for promotion, resulting in a 95.6 percent selection rate. Of the 2,393 captains considered in-the-zone ― or on time ― 2,355, or 98.4 percent, were selected.

And of the 278 who were considered above-the-zone ― or later than usual ― 201, or 72.3 percent, were selected.

The Air Force last September announced that as long as line captains were qualified, were recommended for promotion by their senior raters, and had exhibited “exemplary conduct,” they were a lock for promotion.

The 115 officers who were passed over for major this week didn’t meet at least one of those standards.

The Air Force also said last September that officers who had received a “do not promote” recommendation or a “promote” recommendation with derogatory information such as an Article 15, a court-martial, a referral report or a letter of reprimand in their officer selection record would need a promotion recommendation form to be considered.

But this year’s selection rates, though they didn’t hit 100 percent, were higher than the rates from last July, when 2,095 Line of the Air Force officers were selected for major.

Of those, 93.3 percent of in-the-zone line captains were selected last July, and 15.5 percent of above-the-zone captains were selected for major.

Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Dave Goldfein said at the Air Force Association’s Air Space Cyber conference last September that expanding promotion opportunities to major would “provide some predictability and stability for the force.”

Goldfein also pledged to keep promotion opportunities at 100 percent for the next three or four years.

“The force has been through, quite frankly, a lot of fairly significant changes in terms of managing the force over the last several years,” Goldfein said at the time. “We need all of those qualified captains to pin on major and become field grade officers.”

Goldfein also said it would save squadron commanders a lot of time by eliminating the need to do paperwork.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson also said at the same panel that the changes mean squadron commanders would need to tell underperforming captains when they’re not getting the job done.

“If you’ve got a captain who really shouldn’t become a major, you need to step forward and say so, and not move it to some faceless promotion board,” Wilson said last September.

The list of selectees can be found here. Some selectees were not named due to privacy or security reasons.

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 He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.

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