Air Force promotes more than 1,300 lieutenant colonels this year

by Vern Evans

It got a little easier for Air Force majors to reach the rank of lieutenant colonel, or O-5, on time this year.

Of 1,598 majors who were eligible for “in-the-zone” promotions, 1,231 airmen, or 77%, were selected to pin on the new rank, according to Air Force Personnel Center data released May 30. Competition was a bit more fierce last year, with about 75% of eligible airmen earning promotions.

The service is also promoting 136 of 1,128 majors who were considered “above-the-zone,” or later than usual. In total, 1,366 of 2,726 eligible airmen were tapped to climb the ladder to lieutenant colonel, bringing the rank’s promotion rate to 50% this year.

Majors need to have served 14 years in the Air Force, including three years in the grade, to qualify for promotion. There were more than 9,300 lieutenant colonels in the Air Force as of the end of May, the service said.

The Air Force shook up the officer promotions process in 2020 by moving from one large pool — referred to as the “Line of the Air Force” — that was judged against a single set of standards that heavily favored pilots and other combat roles, to instead split candidates into career-specific categories where airmen could compete against their peers. Those include air operations and special warfare; nuclear and missile operations; information warfare; combat support and force modernization.

Those six groups are also separate from the service’s “non-line” professions, or doctors, nurses, chaplains and lawyers, which each have their own selection board.

Here’s the breakdown of lieutenant colonels who were chosen to promote on time this year:

  • Air operations and special warfare: 502 selected of 643 considered (78.1%)
  • Nuclear and missile operations: 22 of 34 (64.7%)
  • Information warfare: 224 of 273 (82.1%)
  • Combat support: 251 of 311 (80.7%)
  • Force modernization: 105 of 146 (71.9%)
  • Cross-functional operations: 43 of 55 (78.2%)
  • Nurse corps: 51 of 95 (53.7%)
  • Medical service corps: 33 of 41 (80.5%)

Read the full list of lieutenant colonels-select here.

Courtney Mabeus-Brown is the senior reporter at Air Force Times. She is an award-winning journalist who previously covered the military for Navy Times and The Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va., where she first set foot on an aircraft carrier. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Policy and more.

Read the full article here

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