Air Force Senior Airman (E-4) Below the Zone Promotions

Opportunities for Promotion for Air Force Senior Airman (E-4)

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To provide an opportunity for exceptionally well qualified Airmen First Class (A1C) a one-time consideration for promotion to Senior Airman (SrA) is given. It's effective for six months prior to the fixed fully qualified phase point. Selection opportunity is 15 percent of the total time-in-grade (TIG) and time-in-service (TIS) eligible population.

Determining Eligibility

According to the Air Force, the Installation Military Personnel Flight (MPF), Personnel Systems and Readiness Section, provides an automatic quarterly end of month (EOM) output product to the MPF, Career Enhancement Element, within the first 10 days of the first processing month (i.e., Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct). The roster identifies all A1Cs who meet or exceed the time-in-service (TIS) and time-in-grade (TIG) requirements, regardless of promotion ineligibility conditions (i.e., on the control roster, PAFSC skill level too low, undergoing Article 15 suspended reduction, etc.), and whose grade status reason (GSR) (DIN GAD) does not equal code "5Q" (previously considered for SrA BTZ). The output product produces an MPF alphabetical listing and a three-part unit listing.

  • Part I identifies A1Cs with no quality indicators in their record.
  • Part II lists "questionable eligibles" (individuals with quality indicators) who may not be qualified for BTZ promotion.
  • Part III lists A1Cs who meet the TIG and TIS requirements but cannot be selected due to promotion ineligibility conditions listed in AFI 36-2502, Airman Promotion Program, Table 1.1.

Verifying Eligibility

Using the MPF listing, the commander/first sergeant verifies the eligibility of each individual to ensure they meet the TIG and TIS requirements and qualify control requirements.

Enlisted Performance Report (EPR) Requirements

EPRs are required for all A1Cs without an EPR who are promotion eligible for BTZ consideration. Commanders must review an airman's EPR(s), Personal Information File (PIF), and discuss consideration with supervisors/rating chain prior to making a nomination decision, to include if the airman will meet a unit or base selection process. A1Cs appearing on part III of the unit roster are ineligible for promotion according to AFI 36-2502, Table 1.1, and do not require DBH reports.

Approved Decoration

An approved decoration may be filed in an individual's Unit Personnel Record (UPRG) any time up until the date of the board. Supplemental consideration will not be given because a decoration was not approved or placed in the record when the board convened.


Quotas are based on 15 percent of the total TIG and TIS eligible population, regardless of normal ineligibility conditions (remove students and World Class Athletes from the eligible population). The MPF determines quotas and obtains host wing commander approval (may delegate no lower than MPF Chief) before distribution to units. Large units (7 or more eligibles) receive quotas and promote at unit level. Small units (6 or less eligibles) are combined into one pool of eligibles to form the central baseboard (CBB) population. Quotas are computed and distributed as follows:

  • Units may not aggregate at the group level. Example: Medical Groups are divided into four units, and each unit commander has promotion authority; therefore, they should not be considered by the group, but as individual units, and cannot be added together to make a large unit.
  • Units are notified if they are a large (7 or more eligible) or small unit (6 or less eligible) as soon as possible, but not later than the second week of the first processing month.

Large Unit Selection Procedures

Unless the host wing commander establishes written procedures, commanders of large units will establish written selection procedures that ensure the SrA BTZ program is fair, equitable, and provides timely promotion consideration. Once selections are made, large unit commanders underline the selectee(s) name, date, sign, and return the BTZ eligibility listing to the MPF not later than the last day of the selection month (i.e., Mar, Jun, Sep, Dec).

Small Unit Selection Procedures

The host wing commander will establish written BTZ selection procedures to include method of nominating, number of nominations, timetable to complete required actions, board composition, areas to be considered, scoring scale, announcing selections, and any other required actions necessary to ensure the SrA BTZ program is fair, equitable, and provides timely promotion consideration. The MPF, Career Enhancement Element, will ensure they have received all nomination packages from units with eligibles; if a unit is not going to nominate an individual, ensure a negative reply is received.

List of Approved Board Processes

The following is a list of "approved" board processes:

  • Host wings that wish to use a separate process must request an exception to policy through their MAJCOM to HQ AFPC/DPPPWM to ensure fair, equitable, and timely consideration.
  • Large units obtain their quota from the MPF and make a selection from the eligible airmen. Airmen not selected are nonselected, and this is considered their one-time consideration.
  • Small units nominate to the CBB. The host wing commander determines the maximum number of individuals meeting the board from each unit. Each unit may submit up to the maximum number.
  • The host wing commander convenes a "MAJCOM only board." This board consists of all eligibles falling within the host wing commander's MAJCOM. All eligibles from units not within the host wing commander's MAJCOM (tenant units) will meet a separate CBB. This means the host wing commander will be convening two boards, and the quota for each board is based on the number of eligibles meeting that board.
  • Units will consider all individuals meeting TIS and TIG requirements, even if they are TDY, on leave, PCA or have a report not later than the date (RNLTD) on or after the first day of the first processing month (i.e., Jan, Apr, Jul, and Oct) for that quarter selections. All individuals appearing on the eligibility listing must be "considered."
  • Alternates/first non-selectee of the CBB or large unit board are selected in the event someone selected prior is removed before the effective date due to an ineligibility condition (AFI 36-2502, Table 1.1) or infractions committed after selection. The use of past derogatory data not in effect on the date of the board or selection may be considered in the nomination process. However, it cannot be used as a reason for non-recommendation after an individual is selected.
  • After selections are made, unit commanders provide a written promotion recommendation prior to the promotion effective date. It may be accomplished by adding the name(s) to the monthly promotion selectees listing or completing a separate memorandum.
  • If an individual should have been considered during the current quarter board, and the error is discovered before promotions are announced, large unit commanders will consider the airman and adjust selections accordingly (this does not apply to airmen who are gained, and it has been determined they were not considered by their losing base—see supplemental BTZ consideration).
  • The CBB will reconvene to consider small unit eligibles and selections are adjusted accordingly. If discovered after selections are announced, supplemental promotion consideration procedures apply.

Guidelines for BTZ Procedures

The following procedures are guidelines and may help establish your BTZ procedures:

  • Nominees are required to physically appear before a board; however, when a nominee is unable to appear, you may reconvene the same board at a later date, or as a last resort, conduct a "records only" board.
  • Allow GSUs to use message and fax to transmit nominations when time does not permit normal mailing.
  • If selection folders are used, they will contain copies of all EPRs and decoration citations, the BTZ RIP, and letters (if letters to the board are authorized). Use the UPRG as an alternative to a BTZ selection folder. If the UPRG is used, place the letter (if authorized) on top of EPRs in Section II, inform board members and unit personnel that they are not authorized to access to any other part of the UPRG (i.e., Sections I, III, and IV), and do not deface the record jacket in any way (i.e., tape, staples, markings, etc.). Destroy or give selection folders to the individual when no longer needed. When assessing education levels, please take into consideration that depending on AFSC, training requirements, and work schedules, all A1Cs may not have the same opportunity to complete off-duty education.
  • Boards are not required to use the full quota.
  • The board report should contain a list of board members, board recorder, the order of merit (identifying total score and select/non-select status), and cutoff score. The report should be signed by the board president and board recorder and approved by the host wing commander unless the host wing commander is the board president, then only one signature is necessary.

Supplemental BTZ Consideration

Commanders may request supplemental BTZ consideration for individuals that should have been considered by a previous board, and the error is not discovered until after promotions are announced. After obtaining unit commander's recommendation, the MPF forwards fully documented supplemental requests to HQ AFPC/DPPPWM for consideration via email. It is imperative supplemental BTZ consideration is requested only when the unit commander concurs with consideration.

Additionally, if the basis for the supplemental request is because the individual did not receive fair consideration (or was not considered at all at their last duty station), contact the losing unit and MPF before requesting supplemental consideration, and forward this information along with the supplemental request. It will assist HQ AFPC/DPPPWM in determining if supplemental BTZ consideration is appropriate. DPPPWM will respond with further instructions. If selected, members may apply for a retroactive change to their effective date, according to AFI 36-2502, para 1.13.

It is the individual's, supervisor's, and commander's responsibility to ensure an individual has been properly identified as eligible, obtains the correct study references, is nominated IAW program policies, and, most importantly, the data on the BTZ RIP is accurate and complete.

Supplemental consideration will not be given for the following reasons:

  • Incorrect data reflected on the BTZ RIP
  • Denied BTZ nomination due to incorrect data reflected on the BTZ output products or in the UPRG
  • BTZ eligibility listing not returned to the MPF or individual was "overlooked" on the listing
  • Nomination package, additional EPR, or decoration not completed/turned in/approved in time to meet the board