Artist’s rendering of WGS-11+



DAF policy gives Space Force officers flexibility competing for promotion

  • Published
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

Eligible officers, who meet certain conditions, may soon request exclusion from consideration for the next higher grade.

The new policy will go into effect beginning with the major, lieutenant colonel and colonel Space Force promotion boards set to convene Oct. 16, and will provide more flexible talent management options.

“Our approach for building a human capital strategy for the Space Force is focused on adding flexibility to an individualized approach to talent management to attract, develop, employ, engage and retain the best talent,” said Patricia Mulcahy, chief human capital officer, U.S. Space Force. “Providing Guardians an option to delay their timing for meeting the promotion board gives them that flexibility to balance their developmental opportunities with their personal and professional circumstances.”

Department of the Air Force officers holding the rank of captain, major or lieutenant colonel are eligible to apply for the following reasons:

- To complete a broadening assignment

- To complete advanced education

- To complete another assignment of significant value to the Department of the Air Force

- To complete a career progression requirement delayed by a broadening or advanced education assignment

For example, an intelligence officer who pursues a service-funded, resident PhD program as a lieutenant colonel, might find themselves in a position where they are approaching their colonel’s board in-the-promotion zone without having completed squadron command. Since squadron command is a key developmental assignment for most intelligence communities prior to the rank of colonel, this new authority will allow the member to opt out of promotion consideration from one to three years, one year at a time, in order to complete a successful assignment as a squadron commander. This option reduces the risk of non-selection IPZ, and allows the member the opportunity to put themselves in a better position for selection to the next higher grade.

Those approved for exclusion from promotion consideration will meet the next central selection board for the same grade, unless they are approved for further exclusions. Officers may request exclusion from promotion consideration up to three times per grade.

“Our Guardians must be prepared to respond to the growing threats in a contested space domain, and we prepare them by providing them the development opportunities and advanced education and training to best deter and counter those threats,” Mulcahy said. “By providing flexibility in the promotion system, we give Guardians versatility in their developmental paths, which will lead to diverse perspectives to solving our most pressing national security challenges.”

Before this option, it was mandatory for officers to compete IPZ, no matter where they were in their career progression.

The Department of the Air Force has already made several large modifications to its talent management system and this new option is part of its larger reform.

In October 2019, six line of the Air Force developmental categories were created to allow career fields the freedom and agility to better tailor officer development to meet job demands without compromising competitive position at a promotion board. Then career development briefs were implemented that familiarized promotion boards with different functional communities. Additionally, the Department of the Air Force transitioned away from below-the-zone promotions in favor of merit-based line numbers.

Within the next few years, additional talent management initiatives are expected to be released to include new officer and enlisted evaluation systems.

For additional details on the latest talent management reform, consult the new Air Force Guidance memorandum to AFI 36-2501, Officer Promotions and Selective Continuation.


Space Force News