March 29, 2023

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The Air Force will now consider advanced academic degrees in some promotions

A pilot’s advanced academic scores will now be considered as part of promotion to major and lieutenant colonel, reversing a 2014 policy that kept this information hidden. The change is designed to help the service fill some positions where it has experienced a shortage of qualified service members.

The new policy, which took effect Jan. 1, aims to highlight applicants’ academic prowess as tensions with China and Russia mount. air forces Frank Kendall said in a Dec. 30 press release.

To compete with China and Russia, or other potential threats, air and space forces “New technology must be integrated more quickly and effectively than our competitors,” Kendall said in the statement. To do this effectively, we need leaders and support staff across [Department of the Air Force ] At all levels who have deep experience in emerging technologies and their applications in military operations.”

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The service said the new policy means those advanced academic degrees “will be considered but will not be a condition or guarantee of promotion”.

The Air Force began concealing a pilot’s advanced academic score during promotion boards in 2014 as an initiative to highlight job performance and challenge age-old norms that such scores were necessary to obtain a promotion.

Then-Chief of Staff of the Air Force General Mark A. “By eliminating these perceived expectations, we hope to remind our officers that job performance is what we value most and that we want them to live off the job.”

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The change comes as the Air Force struggles to fill the voids that require advanced academic degrees in science, technology, engineering and math — better known as STEM.

Air Force Research Laboratory he said in a press release last August that the Air Force had its lowest advanced score average in its general officers “in over 30 years,” and added that there was a “50% fill rate” for STEM bars.

Col. Daniel Galton, chief of science and engineering in the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, said in the August issue. “In the past, there was a huge push for pilots with technical degrees, and [that] It didn’t go by the wayside, but maybe that focus dropped a little bit.”

Kendall explained that he did not want the Airmen to fill out their resumes with academic achievements to improve promotion chances.

“Officers should not pursue an advanced degree simply to impress a promotion board or to check a perceived box,” Kendall said. “Advanced degrees should be chosen to meet personal and professional goals, while recognizing the value…the degree specified for the Department of the Air Force.”

Thomas Novelly can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @TomNovelly.

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