The Air Force in 2019 dropped the long-standing Weighted Airman Promotion System tests for senior non-commissioned officers.

Next year, it could do the same for NCOs.

The proposal to eliminate WAPS tests for staff sergeants and technical sergeants is perhaps the biggest change under consideration to the enlisted evaluation system reforms put into place in 2015.

When the tests were eliminated for master, senior master and chief master sergeants in February, officials said they wanted to make sure performance is the top factor when choosing senior non-commissioned officers. Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force Kaleth Wright also said it would make sure the wrong airmen don’t land in leadership positions just because they’re good test-takers.

In a September interview, Wright said the Air Force was just beginning to consider whether to eliminate those tests for E-5s and E-6s, and that more research was needed to ensure there are no unintended effects.

He said the change could take effect in 2020, but that 2021 is more likely. But either way, an announcement one way or the other is likely to come next 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 He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.

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