Defense

Air Force taps the brakes on new career categories

employee data (kentoh/Shutterstock.com) 

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson announced delays to plans for new career promotion paths, including in cybersecurity. A trial run of several months will precede a final decision to revise occupational categories.

"We've been looking at it, and we think we have a concept we will roll out. But … we think that this is such a big change for people and their careers and lives that we may need to do a period of kind of a road show, a listening session out with the force to present this kind of concept and then go out and get feedback," Air Force Secretary Wilson told reporters following a May 13 event at the Meridian International Center in Washington, D.C.

"This would be one of the biggest changes we've done in 30 years in the way we manage people," she said.

A draft proposal would be rolled out and assessed throughout Air Force ranks over several months instead of a new policy put into effect this summer with other talent initiatives. Changes to how the Air Force assigns jobs in the talent marketplace will move forward this summer.

Wilson previewed new competitive categories that would include cybersecurity during an April 2 House Armed Services Committee hearing. The initiative would allow officers to compete for promotion against others in their particular field rather than across the force. The new categories would include cybersecurity, space and intelligence, among others that have not been named.

"We've probably made more personnel management process changes in the last seven months than we've made in the last seven years," Wilson said. "We don't always get the officers we need at different levels by having just one big category because there are so many specializations."

About the Author

Lauren C. Williams is a staff writer at FCW covering defense and cybersecurity.

Prior to joining FCW, Williams was the tech reporter for ThinkProgress, where she covered everything from internet culture to national security issues. In past positions, Williams covered health care, politics and crime for various publications, including The Seattle Times.

Williams graduated with a master's in journalism from the University of Maryland, College Park and a bachelor's in dietetics from the University of Delaware. She can be contacted at lwilliams@fcw.com, or follow her on Twitter @lalaurenista.

Click here for previous articles by Wiliams.


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