The Regular Air Force is now processing evaluations using the enhanced online workflow called the virtual Personnel Center (vPC). Through the vPC Dashboard, Commander Support Staffs will be able to initiate, process and track evaluations. This automated workflow concept serves to replace the Evaluation Management System or local processes at the unit-level.
The focus on Enlisted Performance Reports should be to document how well Airmen performed their jobs and the qualities Airmen bring to accomplishing the mission, versus to what specific position or billet the Airman is assigned.
EPRs are required to be completed on an annual basis based on grade of the Airman being rated. However, EPRs are no longer required for regular Air Force Airmen in the grade of airman first class and below with less than 36 months' time-in-service or Air Reserve Component Airmen below the grade of senior airman.
To be eligible for promotion consideration, all Airmen must have an EPR that closes out on the Static Closeout Date (SCOD). Any Airman without an SCOD EPR updated in the Military Personnel Data System, reflected on their Data Verification Record in the virtual Military Personnel Flight and filed in the Personnel Records Display Application (PRDA) accessible through AFPC SECURE, will not be considered for promotion.
An EPR reflected on an Airman’s DVR does not indicate that it has been made a matter of record in PRDA. All Airmen must verify the EPR close out dates and ratings listed on the DVR with the EPR ratings indicated on the documents filed in PRDA. Failing to verify EPRs will impact your promotion consideration.
EPR Rating Codes listed on Career Data Brief and DVR
Exceeded most, if not all, expectations
Exceeded some, but not all, expectations
Met all expectations
Met some, but not all, expectations
Enlisted Promotion Recommendations
Performance assessment, along with input from supervisors at all levels, is helping identify and promote the Air Force’s top performers. Job performance remains the most important factor when considering Airmen for promotion, and top performers now have the advantage toward promotion they deserve. The system was built to ensure Airmen who received the highest promotion recommendations from their commanders would have a significant advantage, while also ensuring Airmen who received a promote recommendation would remain competitive.
The new evaluation reports include a section for promotion recommendations that curbs inflation through forced distribution and stratification restrictions. Forced distribution and restricted stratification are completed by grade regardless of Air Force Specialty Code. Airmen who are not time-in-grade and time-in-service eligible for promotion on their EPR static closeout date will only receive a performance assessment without a promotion recommendation.
Enlisted Forced Distribution
Forced distribution limits the number of top promotion recommendations unit commanders are authorized to award to time-in-grade/time-in-service promotion-eligible junior enlisted Airmen. The total number of forced distribution quotas is based on the total number of time-in-grade/time-in-service promotion-eligible Airmen a commander has in a specific grade on the static closeout date.
Enlisted Promotion recommendations are in word-form now, rather than the numerical ratings. Recommendations include Promote Now (PN), Must Promote (MP), Promote (P), Not Ready Now (NRN) and Do Not Promote (DNP). Promote Now and Must Promote recommendations are limited in number to ensure only the highest-performing Airmen with the greatest potential to serve in the next grade receive them. The forced distribution authority sends a strong signal that the Airman is ready for immediate promotion. Those with a Promote Now receive a "significant advantage over their peers”; those with a Must Promote receive an "advantage over their peers”; and those with a Promote are given a rating "relative to their peers."
Promote Now can be awarded to the top five percent of time-in-grade/time-in-service promotion-eligible Airmen from senior airman through technical sergeant. Must Promote is limited to the top 15 percent of time-in-grade/time-in-service promotion-eligible senior airmen and the top 10 percent of time-in-grade/time-in-service promotion-eligible staff and technical sergeants. There are no restrictions on the remaining three promotion ratings.
The forced distribution process was built with similarities to the senior airman below-the-zone promotion process. There will be large units, with enough time-in-grade/time-in-service promotion-eligible Airmen (11 or more) to earn outright promotion allocations, and small units (10 or less), which will roll-up nominated time-in-grade/time-in-service promotion-eligible Airmen to an Enlisted Forced Distribution Panel led by the senior rater. In addition to the senior rater, commanders who have submitted Airmen for the recommendations will be part of the panel and have an opportunity to advocate for their Airmen.
Once the EFDP selects the Airmen who will receive the top two promotion recommendations of Promote Now and Must Promote, the remaining Airmen will receive outright Promote recommendations. Airmen receiving Promote recommendations from the EFDP or directly from their unit continue to have significant opportunities for promotion as overall promotion percentages exceed the allocations controlled under forced distribution.
Squadron commanders of units with fewer than 11 time-in-grade/time-in-service promotion-eligible Airmen don't have to nominate every eligible Airman to the Enlisted Forced Distribution Panel; only the ones they think merit consideration for the top ratings. Commanders make that decision based on the performance of those Airmen as evaluated by their supervisors, and how the commanders themselves view the Airmen. It’s the commanders’ responsibility to judge across the entire spectrum of performance and identify those Airmen who are performing at the highest levels in the entirety of the organization, not just in the little slices of the organization
Stratification is the “rack-and-stack” process senior raters use to identify their top time-in-grade/time-in-service promotion-eligible master sergeants and senior master sergeants. Senior raters are limited to stratifying the top 10 percent of their master sergeant time-in-grade/time-in-service promotion-eligible Airmen and the top 20 percent of their senior master sergeant time-in-grade/time-in-service promotion-eligible Airmen. Time-in-grade/time-in-service promotion-eligible senior NCOs who are not stratified will have their evaluations close out at the deputy evaluator (first O-6) or intermediate evaluator (unit commander) level. Only those who are stratified will have their evaluations signed/closed out by the senior evaluator (senior rater).
A senior rater stratification/endorsement is not automatic, nor mandatory, even if the Airman is time-in-grade and time-in-service eligible and has met the promotion eligibility requirements. The decision to forward the evaluation for senior rater stratification/endorsement is determined by the evaluator who is eligible to close out the evaluation and each level thereafter, without necessarily going to the senior rater.