By Heather Heiney | 21st Space Wing
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — If you threw a salt water fish and a fresh water fish into the same tank, one would thrive and the other would struggle.
Ever since the Air Force became a military service, officers in the line of the Air Force promotion category have been in the same tank when it comes to promotion. However, Air Force Manpower, Personnel and Services (A1) is proposing that officers be divided into separate tanks to give them the best chance to thrive within the conditions of their career field.
Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs Shon Manasco along with several other members of A1 and Air Force Personnel Center visited Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado, Tuesday to explain the proposed LAF promotion category reconfiguration and how it could affect the base’s officers.
Col. Kelly Sams, senior military assistant to Manasco, explained that in the past there were members of more than 40 Air Force specialty codes competing against one another for promotions. With the new proposed system, those AFSCs would be divided into six tanks and officers would only compete for promotion against others in their respective category.
“This initiative isn’t so much about fixing something that’s broken,” Sams said. “Rather it’s more about looking forward and embracing the opportunity to enhance the development of our officers of the future.”
The proposed categories include air operations and special warfare, space operations, nuclear and missile operations, information warfare, combat support, and force modernization.
“The line of the Air Force category has worked well and has produced the leaders that we have today,” Sams said. “However, the broad nature of this category with all of the specialties within has led officers down a similar development path. A path that has proven successful at promotion boards but may sometimes lead to sub-optimized development.”
Along with the promotion category reconfiguration, Sams said that career field managers across all AFSCs have been working to develop career field briefs that outline key experiences for each level within an AFSC and help define what Air Force leaders value and expect of their officers. Once completed, these briefs will be available to all officers on the MyPers website.
“We don’t have a shortage of great officers,” Manasco said. “But think of how many more great officers we could have if there were a little more flexibility in that path.”