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The Air Force has identified nine special duties as Enlisted Developmental Special Duty positions due to their unique leadership roles and the Airman’s responsibility to mentor and mold future leaders.

The nomination process, conducted twice a year, provides commanders, through their respective major commands, an opportunity to nominate their best staff, technical and master sergeants to fill these critical positions while providing a developmental career path. Airmen nominated for a DSD position must be an ambassador and role model for Air Force core values and discipline. Airmen who strongly desire to perform in a DSD position should communicate their interest to their leadership. 

DSDs are temporary in nature and are performed by Airmen for a period of up to four years. Extensions and subsequent tours are approved on a case-by-case basis, based on the needs of the Air Force. Senior Airman and senior master sergeant DSD positions are filled through Enlisted Quarterly Assignment Listing (EQUAL) Plus ads or local utilization. Technical Training Instructor volunteers also apply directly through EQUAL Plus. First sergeant positions have been removed from DSD and will now use a combination volunteer and nomination process to ensure the right Airmen are selected and assigned to these special duty positions.


A DSD is defined as a:

  • Position that creates and develops the world's greatest Airmen through oversight and leadership of multiple Airmen
  • Position that cares for Airmen and their families through oversight and leadership of multiple Airmen and families
  • Position that represents the Enlisted Corps and Air Force on a national stage involving supervision and mentorship of subordinates and peers

Specialties include: 

    • Military Training Instructor (8B000)
    • Military Training Leader (8B100)
    • U.S. Air Force Academy Military Training Noncommissioned Officer (8B200)
    • USAF Honor Guard (8G000)
    • Enlisted Accessions Recruiter (8R000)

DSDs filled by local hires:

    • Career Assistance Advisor (8A100)
    • Airman & Family Readiness Center NCO (8C000)
    • Airman Dorm Leader (8H000)
    • Professional Military Education Instructor (8T000) [ALS]

NOTE: If a location doesn’t have the total population to support a local hire requirement, a nominated member that meets the DSD and Permanent Change of Station requirements will be selected.


Each spring and fall, Headquarters Air Force levies the major commands with a list of needs by rank and DSD Air Force Specialty Code. The Air Force’s Personnel Center drafts nomination rosters for each MAJCOM that list Airmen who meet basic DSD eligibility and whose AFSC and grade can be released by their Career Functional Manager. MAJCOMs provide the requirements to unit commanders who use the nomination rosters to help select Airmen whom they believe can be an ambassador and role model for Air Force core values and discipline.

The Developmental Special Duty Nomination and Selection Program Personnel Services Delivery Guide lists the eligibility for each vector in Attachment 6 and the Special Duty Catalog, or SPECAT, contains additional eligibility criteria. However, commanders should not nominate Airmen who will not waive their Selective Retention Bonus, Pregnancy Deferment or, for overseas locations, Airmen who are not willing to extend their Date Estimated Return from Overseas for the local hire position.

The first step for Airmen in the DSD assignment process is an eligibility notification letter from AFPC that says the Airman meets basic eligibility requirements and the nomination window is open. The next step is a letter of nomination that says the Airman is being considered for a potential assignment selection to fill a DSD position during the current cycle. Selection for a DSD position is dependent on the number of nominations received, the number or vacancies available, career field releases and assignment rules. This means that not every nominee will be eligible for consideration.

I received a DSD assignment notification. What now?

I received a DSD assignment notification. What now?

Airmen who are selected for a DSD position are contacted by the appropriate DSD Office of Primary Responsibility with additional formal assignment selection instructions, to include submission of a special duty application package no later than 30 days from assignment notification. Completion of the SPECAT package is mandatory, as DSD is a commander’s nominative program and not a volunteer assignment action. Airmen must not make any binding commitments due to a tentative assignment selection until the DSD OPR has accepted and approved their DSD application package. Airmen may also receive an assignment for a DSD position for which they were not originally vectored in order to fill all open requirements.

I was nominated but never received an assignment notification. What now?

I was nominated but never received an assignment notification. What now?

Airmen who are nominated but not selected for a DSD assignment remain eligible for DSD assignment selection until the end of each DSD cycle, in the event of future openings. At the end of the cycle, AFPC sends nominated Airmen a cycle closure notification letter and releases them from that cycle’s DSD requirements. Airmen with questions or concerns regarding their nomination vectors or non-selection should go through their leadership to contact their MAJCOM/A1.

Ineligibility Factors

I was nominated but now I’m ineligible. What happened?

Airmen will receive a letter from AFPC if their nomination has been removed from consideration.

Some potential reasons for a nomination to become ineligible include:

  • Career Field Manager unable to release Airman from career field
  • Retainability (i.e.: High-Year Tenure)
  • Time on station (i.e.: does not meet requirements for vectored position)
  • No record of completed CCAF degree
  • Rank/grade not commensurate with skill level
  • Deployment on file
  • Assignment on file
  • Fitness qualification
  • UCMJ or non-judicial punishment (i.e.: Article 15, UIF or Control Roster)


DSD assignment matching and selection occur between April and September, with Report No Later Than Dates between that October and May of the following year. Some exceptions may apply based on the needs of the Air Force. Dates are subject to change without notice.

Special Duty Catalog