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July Chief's Concerns

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Ed Bruce, 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, poses for his official portrait June 21, 2013.  (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Ed Bruce, 245th Air Traffic Control Squadron at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, South Carolina Air National Guard, poses for his official portrait June 21, 2013. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Tech. Sgt. Caycee Watson/Released)

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, South Carolina -- I recently had the opportunity to attend a Command Chiefs' meeting, standing in for our State Command Chief, Chief Master Sgt. Larry Crowson. The meeting was very informative and numerous important topics were discussed. One of the main topics was the process of conforming to a "3 to 1" Total Force Personnel Management system. In October 2010, the Secretary of the Air Force directed this new system be implemented due to the numerous differences in policies, programs, and directives between the three Air Force components: Regular Air Force, Air National Guard, and Air Force Reserve. As a result of this new personnel management system initiative, a thorough review noticed that the Air National Guard was the only component that did not have a formal enlisted evaluation system, until now.

With the recent publishing of the Air Force Guidance Memorandum to Air Force Instruction 36-2406, Officer and Enlisted Evaluation Systems, the National Guard Bureau has mandated that all traditional ANG Airmen receive an Enlisted Performance Report. Of course, this system is slightly modified from the other components to accommodate our guard needs.

One of the modifications is that guardsmen will receive an EPR biennially versus annually. The rating cycle for all traditional enlisted members began May 1, 2013. The initial rollout will begin with Airmen in the grade of E-4 and E-5, E-1through E-3 will not receive an EPR. These Airmen will receive an initial EPR due on their birth month in 2014. If their birth month falls between January and April 2014 which does not offer an adequate evaluation period, it will then be due on their birth month in 2015. All Airmen, E-6 through E-9, will have their first EPR due on their birth month beginning in 2015. Their next EPR will be due in 2017. For the initial EPR, some Airmen will have an extended period of evaluation that may be more than two years. Since EPRs are written biennially, a performance feedback session will be done the year in between when no EPR is due. These will be conducted using the AF Form 931 or AF Form 932, commensurate with the Airman's respective rank.

Why EPRs for Guardsmen? While we have always provided a pat on the back, verbal recognition or written awards and decorations for a job well done, we have never had a formal process of tracking how an Airman performs against established standards. An EPR will provide written standards and allow the supervisor to rate the individual's performance based on how well they achieve those standards. It will also provide a reliable and repetitive way to record an Airman's performance and serve as an additional tool to help determine retention, promotion, and career development.

Once the directive was sent out by the SECAF, the National Guard Bureau considered that many of us have never written an EPR and began producing information to help. The primary source for guidance and support is located on the myPers website. Additional sources are available, ranging from help by our local Force Support Squadron to numerous websites detailing how to write good impact bullets.

We must take the time to adequately evaluate our Airmen and ensure their hard work and dedication to our state and country are accurately represented. All supervisors owe it to their Airmen to let them know what is expected and how it is expected of them. Airmen should know this and be able to defend the 'how' behind the 'what'. In the upcoming months, we will have plenty of opportunities to observe and document how well our fellow guardsmen perform. Take the time to take care of them and they will take care of you. So start documenting now!