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Enlisted Promotions

AFI 36-2502, Airman Enlisted Promotion/Demotion Programs, Chapter 8, applies to Reserve Airmen. The information below applies to individual mobilization augmentees and participating individual ready reservists.

Unit assigned reservists should check with their MPS. AGRs should check with AFRC/A1. ANG members should check with their MPS. IRs should check with their program manager.

There are three enlisted promotion opportunities:

  • Unit vacancy. Airmen in grades staff sergeant and above must be the incumbent in a higher graded position and
  • Stripes for Exceptional Performers I (STEP I). Promotion to technical sergeant for IMAs and PIRR members (IMA staff sergeants in staff sergeant positions and PIRR staff sergeants who are not in a funded position who have 16 years of satisfactory years toward retirement).
  • Stripes for Exceptional Performers II (STEP II). Promotion to grades technical sergeant through chief master sergeant through a board process with quotas received from HQ AFRC/A1.

Important Factors

The supervisor and unit commander recommendation, as well as the promotion authority approval, are required for all promotion opportunities. Members eligible for promotion to staff sergeant, technical sergeant, master sergeant, senior master sergeant and chief master sergeant must complete professional military education and time in grade requirements before promotion.

A staff sergeant with 16 satisfactory years toward retirement meeting all other eligibility criteria, except for occupying the higher-graded position, may be recommended for an STEP I promotion.

Members promoted to master sergeant, senior master sergeant or chief master sergeant must sign a two-year Reserve service commitment contract before promotion.

An IMA’s unit commander makes the decision whether to over-grade based on manning and program manager.

PIRR members do not have authorized positions but are authorized promotion under this promotion opportunity.

STEP II promotions are for outstanding performers who are blocked for promotion under the unit vacancy program.

Supervisors should complete a submission package and submit it through their program manager to the Headquarters Readiness Integration Organization for IRs and through the Wing of the serving MPS for all TRs. Refer to calendar year STEP II guidance for current information.

STEP II quotas are received from HQ AFRC/A1 in the Spring of each year with the boards being held in the summer. The promotion effective date is Oct. 1 of each year. The guidelines for submitting packages can be found on the STEP II Guide located on the STEP II web page in myPers. To be considered for promotion, members must be eligible as outlined in the STEPII Guide.

Members in a non-pay program are only eligible up to technical sergeant through the STEP I or may be submitted for a STEP II promotion and must accrue at least 50 points during their retention/retirement year.

Promotion Cycle

Throughout the Reserve, enlisted promotions are made on the first day of each month. Promotion rosters are produced monthly identifying members for potential promotion. Commanders rein approval authority and sign monthly rosters.

IMA/PIRR Promotion Procedures

HQ ARPC sends the promotion eligibility roster to the HQ RIO Detachments, who then verify eligibility and send the roster to the member’s active duty unit.

The unit commander then reviews the roster and, with supervisor input, recommends or non-recommends promotion of their members. 

For each non-recommendation, the commander must indicate the reason for the non-recommendation.

Only the recommending commander or the detachment commander may remove an Airman from promotion consideration.

The active duty unit sends the commander-signed roster (and all promotion package contents) back to the HQ RIO detachment for final eligibility verification. 

The detachment then uploads the promotion roster and applicable Reserve Service Commitment to HQ ARPC/DPTSC by the 23rd day of the month.

If eligible Airmen do not show up on the eligibility roster or become eligible after the eligibility roster is published, the unit commander, with input from the Airman’s supervisor, may send a request to the detachment commander to add that Airman for the next promotion cycle.

Any applicable source documents showing completion of eligibility criteria must accompany the request.

Source documents must also be provided for Airmen being re-promoted to a grade after taking a voluntary demotion, so that a date-of-rank adjustment may be computed.

HQ ARPC/DPTSC will have the promotions orders out NLT than the first of the month. The promotion update takes places in the system on the first of the month.

The promotion order is then uploaded to the Airman’s personnel record, which is viewable in the Personnel Records Display Application.

Promotions are effective on the first day of the promotion month.

Notification of selection or non-selection is the responsibility of the member’s unit commander or detachment commander.