So you want to know about the cutoffs scores of the U.S. Air Force. Each year, the Air Force promotes enlisted airmen to the ranks of Staff, Tech, Master, Senior Master, and Chief Master Sergeants to fill vacancies due to retirements and separations. The Air Force is directed by legislative law that it can only have 1% of the enlisted active duty force as Chiefs and 2% Senior Master Sergeants at any time. Therefore if the enlisted end-strength is 200,000 airmen, only 2,000 of these airmen can be Chief Master Sergeants and 4,000 can be Senior Master Sergeants. In addition, the Pentagon must meet the Total Objective Plan for Career Airman Personnel, TOPCAP, of 45% of the enlisted force being first term airmen and the remaining force have re-enlisted at least once.
After taking into consideration the fiscal budget, the Air Force Personnel Center, AFPC, divides the number of airmen it needs by the number of eligible airmen to get the overall promotion rate for each pay grade. The Air Force Personnel Center then applies the promotion rate evenly to each AFS/CEM code of the enlisted rank.1 For example, AFSC 2P051 has 250 eligible Senior Airmen and the promotion rate is 20% for Staff Sergeants. AFPC can at most promote 50 airmen in this Air Force Specialty Code. After totalling all of the Weighted Airman Promotion Systems (WAPS) points for these airmen, AFPC selects the top 50 (20%). The 50th airman's score becomes the cutoff score. In the event there is more than one airmen with the same exact cutoff score, they are all selected for promotion. In some AFSC's, there may only be one airman promoted. It should be noted that cutoff scores can not be determined prior to calculating the WAPS points nor before the promotion testing begins.