The United States Air Force has announced an increase in the promotion rate for its highest enlisted rank, marking the most significant rise since 2016. This year, 506 out of 2,249 eligible senior master sergeants were selected for promotion to chief master sergeant in the 23E9 promotion cycle, translating to a selection rate of 22.5 percent. This rate surpasses last year’s figure and is notably higher than the recent low of 18.2 percent in 2021.
The chief master sergeant rank, one step below the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, is a position of significant influence within the service. Individuals promoted to this rank typically have over 20 years of service and are responsible for advising officers in command and managing quality-of-life issues across the force. Their role is crucial, serving as advocates for the Air Force’s largest constituency.
Under current regulations, chief master sergeants (E-9s) are limited to no more than 1.25% of the service’s enlisted personnel. Approximately 2,600 individuals hold this rank in the Air Force each year. The promotion to the top rank remains exempt from the Air Force’s ongoing efforts to restructure its enlisted corps, which aims to expand the lower grades and tighten access to mid-level positions. Despite these changes, set to complete by October 2025, the path to becoming an E-9 remains challenging.
The Air Force’s promotion announcement comes amidst speculation about the replacement for Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force JoAnne Bass. Gen. David Allvin, the recently appointed Air Force chief of staff, is expected to select Bass’ successor from the current pool of E-9s.
Senior Raters will gain access to the select lists via the Virtual Enlisted Promotion Release (EPROM) application on November 29. The full list of chief master sergeant-selects will be publicly available on the Air Force Personnel Center Enlisted Promotions website on December 1 at 8 a.m. Central Time. Additionally, members will be able to access their score notices on the virtual Military Personnel Flight via the AFPC Secure page upon public release.