5,500 Airmen Selected For Master Sergeant as Promotion Rate Ticks Up

Of the 29,497 technical sergeants eligible for promotion to master sergeant in the 2024 cycle, 5,500 were selected for promotion, the Air Force Personnel Center announced May 20. The selection rate of 18.65 percent is up slightly from last year’s 17.34 percent, but it marks the fourth year in a row that the rate has remained below 20 percent.

AFPC said it will publish the master sergeant promotion list on its website on May 23 at 8 a.m. Central time.

The total number of new master sergeants is the most in a single year since 2018, but the number of those eligible was the most since 2013, keeping the selection rate below one in every five Airmen. Still, the percentage is up nearly four points from 2022’s 14.8 percent rate, the lowest mark in years.

At that time, officials cited retention and a restructuring of the enlisted force among the reasons for its historically low promotion rate. The economic uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic drove a surge in retention, creating more competition, and the service said the force was becoming unbalanced with too many mid-tier noncommissioned officers not having enough experience, leading to a cut in open spots.

Retention rates have since returned to pre-pandemic levels. Lt. Gen. Caroline Miller, the Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel, and services, told lawmakers earlier this month that the Air Force had bumped up its Active Duty recruiting goal from 26,000 recruits to 27,200 in response to “observed declines in current year retention averages and to help offset potential future retention trend declines.”

In the meantime, the Air Force is also implementing an enlisted grade structure revision that won’t be done until fiscal 2025. By slowing down promotion rates, the restructuring is supposed to address concerns that some newly promoted Airmen lack sufficient experience to lead their peers. 

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