CMSAF Kaleth Wright discusses "taking care of Airmen from the ground up" during the 2017 Air, Space & Cyber Conference in National Harbor, Md., Sept. 20, 2017. Air Force photo by Andy Morataya.
The Air Force will no longer require evaluation performance reviews for airmen first class and below.
The Thursday morning announcement comes three-and-a-half months after CMSAF Kaleth Wright said he was looking to get rid of them at the 2017 Air, Space & Cyber conference. Effective immediately, EPRs won’t be required for enlisted personnel until they become senior airmen or have served for 36 months, regardless of grade. At that point, they will trigger at the first static closeout date, March 31. The same applies to enlisted airmen in the reserve component, though without the 36-month caveat.
“This is another step in the right direction to reduce the overall administrative burden on our airmen,” Wright told Air Force Magazine by email Wednesday afternoon. “The more opportunities airmen have to broaden their skill sets, the more capabilities they bring to the fight.”
The move—alongside others like reducing annual award requirements from 27 lines to 16—is part of Wright’s attempt to refocus airmen on core duties.
“It’s not one large initiative, but rather small things that add up over time,” he said, adding he’s a “believer in finding harmony between primary duties and those whole airmen concept areas that round airmen out.”
Fixing the many obstacles and constraints facing enlisted airmen won’t be easy, simple, or straightforward, Wright said back at ASC17, adding he’s asked supervisors across the force to search out unneeded evaluations, tests, and requirements. As much as he’d like to “throw a grenade” into USAF’s processes and systems and “start from the beginning,” Wright acknowledged it’s not so easy. Chief of Staff of the Air Force Gen. David Goldfein and Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson “talk about taking swings with an ax at the bottom of the tree, but we understand we can’t cut the whole tree down at one time,” he added. “We can’t reform our entire system.”
The move is also in tune with repairing morale in a force stretched thin with little end in sight. To read more about the travails of USAF’s manpower shortage, read News Editor Amy McCullough’s deep dive into the matter from February’s cover story, “USAF Has Too Many Missions and Not Enough Airmen.”