The Air Force Personnel Center this week released good news for thousands of Air Force officers and enlisted airmen who are moving up the career ladder.
Nearly 80 percent of those in a rated operations field considered for promotion made the cut to become lieutenant colonels, including 337 pilots, 103 navigators and 40 air battle managers, the Air Force Personnel Center told Air Force Times Wednesday. Another 35 people, largely pilots, earned a promotion “above the zone,” or later than usual.
For those in non-rated career fields, 72.5 percent of those considered received a promotion to lieutenant colonel, or O-5. That’s 129 people who were promoted on time, plus another 19 who were chosen later than their peers. About 80 percent of mission support staff, or 380 people, were promoted on time, as well as another 32 people promoted later.
When broken down by type of career, about 77 percent of troops — 1,029 of 1,335 people – earned a promotion on time. Another 105 people were promoted later, out of 1,346 who were eligible.
That includes 529 new lieutenant colonels in air operations and special warfare, 38 in nuclear and missile operations, 165 in information warfare, 173 in combat support, 170 in force modernization and 59 in the nurse corps.
It’s the second round of O-5 promotions since the Air Force split its main “Line of the Air Force” careers into six groups to compare their skills more fairly, and ended early promotions to give airmen more time to grow. Space operator promotions now fall under the Space Force.
A higher percentage of airmen were chosen for O-5 on time in 2021 than in 2020 in three fields: air ops and special warfare, information warfare and force modernization. Nuclear and missile operations and combat support saw a lower percentage of airmen picked for O-5 on time than in 2020, but a greater share of those tapped later than expected.
On the enlisted side, the Air Force chose a smaller cut of staff sergeants for promotion to technical sergeant as well this week. Nearly 27 percent of those considered will rise to the grade of E-6, down from about 29 percent last year, the service announced Wednesday.
This year’s batch of future technical sergeants includes 9,422 people out of 34,973 who were eligible — about 6,600 more candidates than last year. The Air Force Personnel Center will release their names June 29.
Rachel Cohen is the editor of Air Force Times. She joined the publication as its senior reporter in March 2021. Her work has appeared in the Washington Post, the Frederick News-Post (Md.), Air and Space Forces Magazine, Inside Defense, Inside Health Policy and elsewhere.