Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody is pushing commanders to nominate more airmen for developmental special-duty assignments. (Samuel King Jr./Air Force)
The Air Force expects to select between 700 and 1,000 staff sergeants, technical sergeants and master sergeants for the next round of developmental special-duty assignments — fewer than during last year’s first round.
But Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force James Cody is pushing commanders to nominate more airmen over the next month than they did during the first nomination period last September.
The Air Force used to rely on volunteers to fill 10 special-duty jobs such as recruiters, professional military education instructors and first sergeants. But last year — after struggling to find enough volunteers — the Air Force switched to a nomination process.
In an interview Thursday, Cody said the Air Force selected roughly 1,000 airmen in November to close a deficit in special duties airmen. But now that those airmen are in place and serving assignments of three or four years, Cody said, the Air Force will shift towards replacing airmen who rotate out of special duty jobs, which will require slightly fewer airmen.
“We’re not going to allow ourselves to fall short like that in the future,” Cody said.
The Air Force had a pool of 7,500 nominees to choose from last year. But Cody said that some commanders only nominated the minimum number of airmen required, and were not aware they could have nominated more.
“It could have been more had we been clearer in that communication,” Cody said. “So we’ve kind of refined that. It’s only the minimum, not the maximum. That led to some confusion when it got down to the executable level at the wing level.”
While the Air Force is hoping for more nominees this time, Cody said there is not a specific goal set for nominations. The nomination process will close April 24. Airmen who have been selected for special duties will begin receiving their assignments in mid- to late May.
Some first-round airmen also did not meet the prerequisites for the jobs for which they were nominated, Cody said. The Air Force has now clarified the requirements for these jobs, he said.
Cody also said that during the first round, commanders could nominate their airmen for three special duties jobs — one primary job, and two alternate jobs if the first one is full, or if an alternate job has a more pressing need to be filled. Nominating airmen for two alternate jobs was too complicated, Cody said, so this time, airmen will only be nominated for one primary job and one alternate job.
Special-duty assignments also include career assistance advisers, military training instructors, military training leaders, non-commissioned officer Air Force Academy military trainers, Airmen and Family Readiness Center NCOs, NCO honor guard members and specialty training instructors identified with a “T” prefix.