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The Air Force has decided to begin nominating airmen to fill special duty assignments.
Until now, the Air Force has relied on volunteers to fill those roles, but has had difficulty finding enough airmen willing to serve in those assignments. But in a memo obtained by Air Force Times, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody and Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said that switching to a nomination process is necessary to keep special duty positions filled.
“Historically, we have relied on volunteers to fill these critical positions, and while they have done great work, we cannot afford to allow these positions to go vacant waiting for individuals to volunteer,” the memo said. “Therefore, we are instituting a nominative process that both matches airmen’s capabilities to the position and ensures the position does not go unfilled.”
The changes will affect how the Air Force finds new career assistance advisers, military training instructors, military training leaders, non-commissioned officer Air Force Academy military trainers, Airman and Family Readiness Center NCOs, first sergeants, NCO honor guard members, recruiters, and professional military education instructors.
Beginning July 15, the memo said, commanders will nominate their best performers to serve in developmental special duty positions. Personnel teams also will work with career field leaders to make sure the right people in the right numbers are picked to fill those jobs.
“Similar to our current command chief selection process, nomination for a developmental duty assignment is an honor — it expresses a commander’s confidence in the airman,” Cody and Welsh said. “This approach also ensures more sustainable, robust manning levels for each developmental special duty position.”
Cody and Welsh said these changes will make sure the special duty positions are filled by the most qualified airmen.
Changes to the special duty selection process have been expected for weeks. The Air Force has not yet responded to a request for more information.
Airmen can currently earn up to $450 per month in special duty pay, depending on the assignment. Special duties do not yield promotion points, but they can be looked upon favorably at promotion time. However, many airmen see a special duty assignment as a career-killer, since they are taken away from their normal jobs.
The memo does not say if the Air Force will provide additional incentives to serve in special duty assignments.