Is USAF Getting Rid of the 24-Year Up-or-Out Requirement?

Gideon Grudo

Chief of Staff Gen. David Goldfein is considering getting rid of the long-standing and long-lamented 24-year up-or-out requirement for brigadier generals in the Air Force, according to a post on a USAF messageboard detailing the CSAF’s Sunday visit to Vandenberg AFB, Calif.

The post comes from the Air Force subreddit, an unofficial USAF message board where over 28,000 subscribers can post, vote on, and comment about links or text pertaining to the Air Force. The airman who shared his notes from the lunch meeting goes by u/bsullgrim on the site and has confirmed his name and rank with Air Force Magazine.

Asked about streamlining the enlisted and officer performance reports processes, Goldfein said recent changes to EPRs pushed the focus from time served to job performance and qualifications, but that such a change needs its own time to sink in. As for OPRs, according to the post, Goldfein said USAF must ask itself, “Do we promote against what we truly value? What is it exactly that we value? Does the system work for all of us?” For him, Goldfein said, the system worked.

“It has worked for me as a white male … diversity is a warfighting imperative,” Goldfein said according to the post. Goldfein also said the 24-year requirement for brigadier generals forces candidates to “sprint to meet all the requirements,” which hampers their ability to develop in other areas, like education.

Asked about the future of the nuclear force, Goldfein said USAF needs to lead the dialogue, paying attention to the deterrence value of the bombs. According to the post, Goldfein thinks nukes are “valuable” and that said value can be increased by “tying in space and cyber assets to modernize.”

Asked about bureaucratic creep, Goldfein said he’d set up a task force to check conditions, citing the “Airman’s Time” task force, which surveyed some 25,000 airmen and reviewed 42 ancillary training courses. Upon completion of the review, the Air Force announced in October 2016 it would eliminate 15 courses and streamline 16 others, helping to reduce the amount of time airmen spend on training that is not directly related to their jobs. The plan is for this to be done by April of this year.

Asked about earlier credit for joint assignments, Goldfein said keeping missions in tact is the first priority. “We have to ensure that if we grab you from your field and bring you to a new one earlier that we aren’t breaking our current missions,” Goldfein said according to the post. He added that “future joint leaders” become professionals in all three domains of air, space, and cyber, learning specifically the “art of integrating” them.

Strengthening “the role of Air Force leaders in the joint community” is actually the second of Goldfein’s three main initiatives, which he announced at AFA’s Air, Space, and Cyber Conference last year. He released a white paper on the subject in October 2016.

“I would just like to say thank you. Ninety-seven percent of the Air Force currently serving has never seen peace,” Goldfein concluded, according to the post. “You all signed up during a time of war and I would like to thank all of you for serving alongside me.”