Reserve Officer Development Categories

  • Published
  • By Jaimi Chafin
  • Air Force Reserve Command Headquarters

In alignment with the new Air Force standard, the Air Force Reserve will begin using the new Line of the Air Force Developmental categories starting in October.

On October 21, 2019 the Air Force announced it formally established six officer developmental groupings for active component line officers that took effect in March 2020 for the lieutenant colonel promotion board which convenes in May 2020.

The fundamental promotion process will not change, what will change are the groups in which officers will compete for promotion.

The Line of the Air Force category will be expanded from one to six categories: Air Operations and Special Warfare, Nuclear and Missile Operations, Space Operations, Information Warfare, Combat Support and Force Modernization.

Category Composition
Air Operations and Special Warfare Pilot (11X), Combat Systems (12X), Air Battle Manager (13B), Special Tactics (13C), Combat Rescue (13D), Tactical Air Control Party (13L), Remotely Piloted Aircraft Pilot (18X)
Nuclear and Missile Operations Nuclear and Missile Operations (13N)
Space Operations Astronaut (13A), Space Operations (13S)
Information Warfare Information Operations (14F), Intelligence (14N), Weather (15W), Cyber Operations (17X), Public Affairs (35X), Operations Research Analyst (61A), Special Investigations (71S)
Combat Support Airfield Operations (13M), Aircraft Maintenance (21A), Munitions and Missile Maintenance (21M), Logistics Readiness (21R), Security Forces (31P), Civil Engineering (32E), Force Support (38F), Contracting (64P), Financial Management (65X), Historian (84H)
Force Modernization Chemist (61C), Physicist/Nuclear Engineer (61D), Developmental Engineer (62E), Acquisition Management (63A)

Lt. Gen. Richard Scobee, AFRC commander and Chief of the Air Force Reserve, recently announced that the Air Force Reserve will implement the new categories starting with the 2020 colonel board in October.

“Expanding the Line of the Air Force into multiple developmental categories is an important change,” he said. “It’s needed to unlock greater agility in developing our officers within their Air Force Specialty Codes and promoting the right mix of officers to accomplish the mission.”

Before this change, the LAF category was comprised of more than 40 different officer Air Force specialty codes, and accounted for about 80% of the officer corps. The LAF category has remained virtually unchanged since the establishment of the Air Force as a separate service in 1947.

Now, rather than competing for promotion against 40 different career fields with varied job requirements, officers will compete against officers in other fields that have similar progression milestones, experiences and mission area focus.

The new categories will allow each career field the freedom and agility to better tailor officer development to meet job demands without compromising competitive position at a promotion board.

“This change is about ensuring we maintain a winning team,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein. “The existing Line of the Air Force category has served our Air Force well and molded the excellent leaders we have today. As we look to the future of warfighting, we must have an agile system that allows for a wider range of development paths to ensure officers have the needed skills and expertise to fight and win. This sets us on that path.”

If needed the Secretary of the Air Force may employ floors (minimum promotion quotas) per AFSC based on the needs of the Air Force, otherwise the promotion potential won’t see much of a change from the current process.

Additionally, Career Field Briefs will be developed and managed by each functional community and will be made available to all officers and given to the promotion boards. The boards will be comprised of a mix of the AFSC’s represented in each category in addition to broader experience AFSC’s outside of the category.

Officers will have more options and flexibility as they move forward and plan their career paths within their AFSC under this new system.

Scobee said he feels this transformation will provide professional warfighters and joint leaders who will be better equipped to meet the current and future needs of the Air Force.

A list of the new developmental categories and associated Air Force specialty codes is available at the MyPers website.