New year, new myDecs.

Airmen and guardians can now try out a revamped version of myDecorations, the Department of the Air Force’s online hub for processing award nominations, the department said in a release Thursday.

Myriad technical glitches and an unfriendly user interface have turned a seemingly simple process into a loathsome chore for airmen and guardians as they seek recognition for good deeds that can help them climb the career ladder. New functions aim to remedy those woes and make myDecs a seamless portal for nominating troops for several service-level and joint awards, as well as adding them to a service member’s formal military records.

Its overhaul is part of a broader effort to streamline the 100-plus software apps across the Air Force and Space Force’s human resources enterprise that hold troops’ personal data and document their professional lives.

“Our goal is to make the system more intuitive and create a smoother process for users,” Lt. Gen. Caroline Miller, the Air Force’s uniformed personnel boss, said in the release.

The redesigned software, dubbed “myDecs Reimagined,” allows troops to submit decoration requests through a single screen, rather than the previous multi-page process. The interface is handled by Salesforce, the same business IT contractor that hosts the Air Force’s myEval performance review system.

Now service members will be able to route the application to anyone on myFSS, the Air Force’s overarching HR platform, and nominators can pick who approves the decoration when drafting a request.

Decorations can be edited until they are signed, and users can add comments throughout the process. The awards will be directly added to a person’s formal military record upon approval.

The previous software made it difficult for members from different units to collaborate on award nominations, and wouldn’t allow users to correct errors after a draft was submitted. Airmen have also had trouble getting myDecs to save changes in drafts and struggled to withdraw submitted requests, among other problems.

“If we built planes the way myFSS, myEval, myDecs [were] built, our pilots would be dead,” one person said in an anonymous submission to the unofficial “Air Force amn/nco/snco” Facebook page in November 2022.

The update also automates steps of the process that were previously handled by local teams known as military personnel flights. Airmen have complained that routing requests through HR staff led to delays that could negatively affect their chances of promotion.

The Air Force said in the release that ending the practice of requiring HR staffers to review each nomination after approval will “strengthen their advisory and audit role” and allow them to focus on bolstering “recognition programs.”

“Trust and responsibility is placed back with the approval authority and the record now updates automatically upon signature,” Miller said.

There is some bad news: Nominations that were sitting in the queue before the new myDecs launched did not transfer to the new system and must be resubmitted, the Air Reserve Personnel Center warned in a memo last November.

“All decorations that were in the legacy myDecs application will be lost and unrecoverable upon sunset, which was Jan. 14,” Air Force spokesperson Master Sgt. Deana Heitzman confirmed Friday. “All force support squadrons were charged to develop local [rules] to ensure their current queue was cleared and any new decorations are held until the myDecs Reimagined launch.”

Airmen and guardians can currently use myDecs to seek approval for awards including the Air and Space Meritorious Service Medal, the Air and Space Commendation Medal, the Air and Space Achievement Medal, the Aerial Achievement Medal, the Military Volunteer Outstanding Service Medal and the Combat Readiness Medal.

The Department of the Air Force said it may give troops the ability to request additional honors as the program matures.

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.

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