Beginning this year, commanders and senior raters will be able to choose one Line of the Air Force officer for a guaranteed slot attending in-residence intermediate developmental education.

In a Wednesday release, the Air Force said commanders of each wing, numbered Air Force, Air Force Materiel Command center, combatant command and major command, as well as leaders of air staff directorates, senior materiel leaders and senior raters above the wing level with at least 20 eligible LAF candidates, will now be able to choose one officer each year for a guaranteed education slot. This will begin with the 2019 Developmental Education Designation Board.

Officers selected for intermediate developmental education attend programs such as Air Command and Staff College, Air War College, National War College and more. The opportunities are intended to professionally broaden individual officers into strategic leaders who can provide innovative solutions to the future challenges.

Air Force spokesman Maj. Nick Mercurio said these guaranteed slots will account for about 220 of the 545 seats available for intermediate developmental education.

Mercurio said 60 other seats will be reserved for airmen competing to be “last look” selects. Last look selects are chosen for intermediate developmental education during their last year of eligibility, which is their third chance and comes three years after their promotion board. The Air Force also reserved seats for last look selects in 2018.

Other airmen will be nominated to compete for the remaining 265 or so in-residence slots. Wing commanders and senior raters will nominate up to 30 percent of their eligible LAF officers to compete for those slots, which in the past was primary way the Air Force chose who would attend intermediate developmental education.

“Our processes for managing talent must be agile and responsive to the Air Force and our airmen’s needs,” Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly, deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services, said in the release. “The commanders who work with and know their airmen best will be empowered to identify the airmen who deserve this development opportunity. They will identify the right airmen to lead the force into the future.”

Mercurio said that roughly 1,600 airmen will meet the board that will choose who will attend intermediate developmental education, and about 1 in 5 will be selected, not counting those chosen for a “definitely attend” slot. That selection rate would be about the same as in previous years, Mercurio said.

Officers typically attend intermediate developmental education when they become majors. Until 2017, promotion boards chose which officers would attend intermediate and senior developmental education.

LAF airmen who were tapped to attend this school by a previous major promotion board, but who have not yet attended, still must have their senior rater nominate them to compete at the Developmental Education Designation Board, but once they get that nomination, would be guaranteed attendance at IDE in-residence.

The Air Force said that commanders and senior raters should consider several factors when choosing airmen for a guaranteed slot, including job performance, experience, education and innovative leadership.

All airmen nominated — whether they were a “definitely attend” pick or were nominated to compete for a slot — will meet the Air Force’s Central Professional Military Education Board. There they will be ranked in order of merit and then will be matched to schools.

Managers for other non-LAF officer categories — Medical Services, LAF-Judge Advocate and Chaplain Corps — will hold their own selection processes and present their candidate lists.

Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter at Defense News. He previously reported for Military.com, covering the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare. Before that, he covered U.S. Air Force leadership, personnel and operations for Air Force Times.

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