Air Force announces officer stratification guidance

  • Published
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs

The Air Force announced new Total Force officer stratification guidance March 1 for officers in the grades of O-2 through O-6 effective on any officer performance report that closes out April 1 or later.

“As we execute Action Order A (Airman), we must remain focused on a culture of transparency,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr. “By strengthening our officer stratification policy, we are meeting that intent. This step is necessary to give officers a full understanding of where they stand amongst their peers as well as help better inform our talent management decisions.”

Stratifications used in the Officer Performance Report (AF Form 707) and Letters of Evaluation (AF Form 77) will be limited to the following peer groups: grade, command position and duty position.

Department of the Air Force Grade: The grade peer group includes only officers in the same grade. Grade stratifications can be further broken down by developmental category (e.g., #1/12 LAF-C Capts).

Command Position: The command position peer group refers to officers filling command positions. Command position stratification statements for individuals below the grade of O-6 may also include their grade with the stratification statement (e.g., #2/6 Maj Sq/CCs).

Duty Position: The duty position peer group refers to the officer’s duty position type, level and scope of responsibility (e.g., section chiefs, flight commanders, branch chiefs, action officers, instructors, pilots, etc.). Officers may be stratified against civilian personnel in equivalent duty positions. However, in order for an evaluator to use the duty position peer group, evaluators must first stratify officers by grade to ground the statement and communicate the clearest depiction of where an officer stands (e.g., “#1/2 Capts, #1/40 Analysts).

Officers assigned or attached to a joint position may be stratified against officers of the same grade, regardless of service affiliation, within an evaluator’s scope of rating authority. In addition, senior raters may stratify officers within Reserve participation category within the senior rater’s scope of authority (e.g., #1/6 IMA O-6s; #2/5 VLPAD Majs).

Once an officer is selected for promotion, they can only be stratified against others selected for promotion to the same grade (i.e., a major select can only be stratified against other major selects).

“We owe our officers a clear understanding of their performance relative to their peers. Airmen need and deserve feedback on their strengths and weaknesses and on the skills they may need to improve to truly maximize their capability,” said Lt. Gen. Brian Kelly, deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services. “This interim stratification guidance assists with this goal ensuring a standardized practice across the Air Force. It also provides us with a bridge and culture transformation tool as we work toward a new officer evaluation system focused on increased transparency, more direct feedback, and increased performance delineation to support various talent management decisions.”

Second lieutenant, company grade officer and field grade officer stratifications are no longer permitted.

“Similar to what we do for our newest enlisted Airmen, we want our newest officers to singularly focus on learning their jobs and our Air Force culture,” Kelly added.

Officers may not be stratified based on additional duty positions and may not be stratified against enlisted personnel. Stratification statements based on awards (e.g. #1/50 as Sq CGO of the Quarter) and the use of percentages in lieu of a defined numerator and denominator are no longer authorized (e.g. Top 5%/121 Capts). Additionally, the use of stratification statements from anyone other than the rater or additional rater are prohibited. Stratifications from senior raters can still be quoted as long as they are signing in the reviewer block. Stratifications from deployed commander Letters of Evaluation may also be quoted.

Evaluators should only use stratification numerators approximately once per 12-month period, but no more than once per six-month period.

AFI 36-2406 is a Department of the Air Force Instruction applicable to both the Air Force and Space Force. Space Force will follow these policies until service-specific evaluation and promotion policies are developed and fielded.

For additional information, go to MyPers.