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August Chief's Perspective

Chief Master Sgt. Carmen Harkins

Portrait of U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Carmen Harkins, superintendent of the command post for the 169th Fighter Wing at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., July 28, 2016. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Airman 1st Class Megan Floyd)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. --

You want to get promoted? Are you a valuable asset to the team?

Often, I hear folks around base and in my own work center say, “I want to get promoted but I don’t know why my unit won’t promote me” or “I didn’t get selected for the position/promotion I wanted.”

Trust me, your leadership does not have a secret pot of rank and positions to hand out. I know it must seem like this at times when you see others bypass you in rank or find the fast-track career path. Leadership won’t always hand out what you think you deserve. They will first focus on what they are authorized to have according the Unit Manning Document which is dictated by National Guard Bureau. Next, they will determine the mission/unit needs and then eligible folks will be considered depending where they are in their career path and Force Management. A lot of factors go into making these decisions.

First, you must make sure you are meeting the minimum requirements when opportunity is knocking. Meeting minimum eligibility criteria only indicates that you can be considered eligible for promotion.

- Valid Unit Manpower Document position vacancy with authorized rank

- Commander recommendation (Annual Training and Regularly Scheduled Drill attendance, duty performance, training progress)

- Time in Grade

- Time in Service

- Current PASSING fitness assessment

- Education requirements as applicable (PME, CCAF or degree)

Promotion is not a reward for past performance, but recognition of a member’s potential to successfully serve in the higher grade.

So now that you are eligible how do you rate?

Among your peers? Job performance? Whole Airman concept? Adherence to military law and instructions? Readiness? Resiliency? A good attitude? Do you exhibit professional behavior, respect for authority, demonstrate Air Force Core Values, effective followership, technical skills, present and future supervisory skills, willingness to accept more responsibility and leadership potential?

Do you have the skillsets leaders are looking for to be a continued valuable asset to the unit?

Always work on different ways to develop yourself and enhance your skillsets. Keep an open dialog with your supervisor/leadership and periodically let them know your goals and the career path you want to take. Many times you have to persevere and wait while others are pursuing their path. Don’t be afraid to step up and ask for more duties and responsibilities that will help you acquire needed skillsets and experience. Pursue excellence, stay focused on progress and set goals to be that valuable asset to the team.

Recommend Reading:
ANGI36-2502, Promotion of Airmen
AFI 36-2618, Enlisted Force Structure