Hilltop Times staff
WASHINGTON — Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force James A. Cody addressed the future of enlisted performance reports during a Q-and-A format session at the 2014 Air Force Association’s Air and Space Conference and Technology Exposition here Sept. 17.
With the upcoming changes, Airmen asked the highest ranking enlisted Airman about the new EPR format.
“(The new EPR system) is as transparent as any system we had in the past,” Cody said. “We always say performance counts and objectively now you are going to see it.”
Cody explained Airmen can expect the elimination of the numbered EPR.
“You are not a number, you perform to certain levels,” Cody said, adding that the new system will gauge whether Airmen meet, don’t meet or exceed established standards.
Cody noted another significant change, the limit of top-rated EPRs will more effectively identify top-performing Airmen. “(Commanders) are going to have a lot of great Airmen, but they will have to decide who should be promoted first.”
The chief emphasized the new EPR system won’t change the number of people that will be promoted; however, it will change the order they will be promoted, since Airmen will be rated by their overall performance.
The chief also reported that Air Force leadership has been working to reach proper manning levels so that more Airmen in Air Force specialties can be nominated for developmental special duty assignments.
In the past, some career fields choose to “hunker down,” Cody said, which would limit special duty opportunities to Airmen in specific career fields, causing an over representation in certain special duty assignments.
“From an Air Force perspective, we have given every Airman the opportunity to participate in developmental special duties,” he said.
The chief also described promotion system’s evolution.
“Systems must evolve over time to meet the demands and needs of the institution,” Cody said. “Next year, we will implement master sergeant promotion boards … We are looking for sustained performance over time (which we’ll) see when we do these record reviews.”
Cody also championed the transitioning of professional military education to a blending approach, moving away from completely in-residence training and implementing more distance learning.
“The blended approach is the most effective approach; it is more adaptable (and) we can deliver it to more Airmen,” Cody said. “We can make sure that every component of our Air Force has access to it in an equal way where we don’t have to prioritize one over the other because of the cost associated with it.”
Ultimately, Cody expressed optimism in the service’s future and said Airmen should be proud of their work.
“We are excited about the things that we are doing right now; we are answering the call,” he said. “We are evolving and moving forward.”