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Briefings scheduled to explain new EPR, OPR process

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- Vandenberg's personnel experts are set to hold five briefings to explain changes the Air Force has recently made to the Air Force officer and enlisted evaluation processes.

Three are set to be in the base theater from 10 a.m. to noon July 27, 30 and 31. Another is set be held in the 381st Training Group auditorium from 2 to 4 p.m. July 30, and the final brief is set to be in the base theater from 2 to 4 p.m. July 31.

"This refocus will streamline the process and save time for the raters," said 2nd Lt. Jason Ross, officer-in-charge of the Military Personnel Flight customer support. "It also addresses the problems with the performance reporting system that we've had to deal with in the past."

By Aug. 15, officers, chief and senior master sergeants, and airmen basic through senior airmen will see changes to the administrative tool that helps commanders decide who to promote. Other ranks will be phased in conjunction with their promotion cycles, said Chief Master Sgt. Trenda Voegtle, chief of enlisted promotion and evaluation policy, as quoted in Air Force Times.

Gradual introduction will have raters using the same forms to appraise all Airmen in the same promotion cycle.

One of the biggest differences Airmen will find in the new system is the addition of their physical fitness test results included on their Enlisted Performance Reports, and Officer Performance Reports.

In the new form, Airmen will either be marked as meeting the standard (with a score of 75 or above), not meeting the standard (with a score of 74.99 or less) and exempt (if they are on a waiver from all four aspects of the test). Those Airmen marked as "does not meet" in this category will face a referral EPR or OPR.

With the new process, Airmen can review and sign a performance report before it's processed. Ratees have at least three days to discuss the report with the rater before it goes on file.

Digital signatures became another breakthrough in the new evaluation system. The rater, additional rater, reviewer and ratee will digitally sign the new EPR and OPR forms using their common access cards. Once signed, all comments and ratings will be locked in and the form will be auto-dated.

Some instances require a "pen and ink" signature, including on referral EPRs and OPRs and instances where at least one evaluator does not have access to a CAC enabled computer. Those members receiving referral performance reports will be notified face-to-face and given 10 days to rebut.

The electronic routing process will remove the military personnel flight completely from the evaluation process and shift the responsibility to group orderly rooms.

Under the new process, a unit's commander's support staff will notify a rater that an evaluation is due. The rater will in turn complete the evaluation form, obtain digital signatures from the additional rater and ratee and electronically send the form to the CSS. After obtaining the reviewer's digital signature, the CSS then uploads the form into the case management system, from which, the Air Force Personnel Center uploads it into the Automated Records Management System. The ratee can then access their EPR or OPR through ARMS via the Virtual MPF.

Although many changes affect both the EPR and OPR system, a few are grade specific. New performance feedback worksheets (AF Forms 931, 932 and 724), are currently in effect for enlisted ranks.

Perhaps the biggest change for the enlisted is what Airmen will find on the forms. The "recommend for promotion" sliding scale is gone. Now raters will be asked how an Airman's performance meets standards.

As far as OPRs are concerned, all field and company grade officers will be evaluated through the same paperwork.

In addition, redundancies in officer evaluations have been eliminated. A rater to check only one box if the ratee meets standards in all seven categories.

The current implementation timeline requires senior master sergeants to come online with the new performance reports starting Aug. 1; followed by all officers, airmen basic through senior airmen and chief master sergeants Aug. 15. Master sergeants are to begin using the new forms starting Oct. 1, followed by staff and technical sergeants Jan. 1, 2008. The implementation schedule is based on the promotion eligibility cutoff dates for each grade. CSSs are also scheduled to take over the process starting Aug. 1.

For additional information on the new officer and enlisted evaluation processes, visit http://ask.afpc.randolph.af.mil/hotweb/EvalForms.asp.