The Air Force said today 5,564 were selected for promotion to technical sergeant — nearly 3,000 fewer than were selected last year, and the lowest since at least 2008.
This year’s 15 percent promotion rate is also the lowest in at least five years. There were 37,608 staff sergeants eligible for promotion this year — roughly the same as in 2012, when the Air Force promoted nearly 23 percent of eligible E-5s.
Air Force spokeswoman Lt. Col. Laurel Tingley said a higher retention rate likely led to the low number of selections this year.
“If people are staying and not getting out, there are fewer open positions to promote into,” Tingley said. She said she could not speculate why technical sergeants may be deciding to stay in greater numbers.
The average score for selectees this year was 340.17, 18 points higher than last year’s average score of 321.94. The average specialty knowledge test score increased considerably over last year, from 55.39 in 2012 to 63.40 this year.
Average promotion fitness examination scores for selectees fell, from 75.37 in 2012 to 72.63 in 2013.
Selectees’ average time in grade increased from 5.39 to 5.52 this year. And their average time in service increased slightly from 10.58 to 10.78.
The Air Force will release the promotion list Thursday.