Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne Bass is looking for a way to once again consider enlisted airmen’s experience as part of the promotion process.

The Air Force used to give airmen points based on how much time they had in their current grade, and for their entire time-in-service, but phased out those points in 2015 and 2016 as part of a broader overhaul of the enlisted evaluation system.

During a question-and-answer session Wednesday at the Air Force Association’s virtual Air Space Cyber conference, Bass said experience is worth considering when deciding who to promote.

But, she cautioned, recognizing experience might not look like it did during the days of time-in-grade and time-in-service points.

“I value experience,” Bass said. “I think there is goodness to have airmen that have experience in [the Air Force]. … Whether we bring back points or whether we bring back that experience another way, I’m not sure where we’re going to go. … The changes are coming.”

A decision will probably come in the next few months, and not drag on for a year or so, she said.

The Air Force is carefully studying the potential second- and third-order effects of such a change, she said.

“We don’t want to start adding points, and then we have an effect two years down the road that does” something unintended, Bass said. “What we’ve got to do is figure out, how do we show that we value experience within the force.”

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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