Promotion to Senior Airman Below the Zone (AFI 36-2502)
Purpose: The BTZ program affords superior performing A1Cs a one-time opportunity for early advancement to the grade of SrA. Commanders select the number of A1Cs for early promotion based on the number of eligible A1Cs.
Timing: If promoted to SrA below-the-zone, the ratee’s promotion effective date would be six months before their normal “fully qualified” date. This date occurs when the ratee has 36 months TIS and 20 months TIG as an A1C, or 28 months TIG as an A1C, whichever occurs first.
Procedure: Varies by organization. Typically involves completion of AF Form 1206, records review, and/or meeting a board. The board makes recommendations to the commander, who has the actual promotion authority.
Things to remember:
BTZ consideration is a “one-time” opportunity for early promotion. Explain to the ratee the benefits of early promotion: In addition to putting extra money in their pocket six months before their peers are promoted, they could also be eligible to test for promotion to SSgt earlier than their peers.
Explain that if selected for early promotion, they’ll be on their way toward establishing a trend of sustained superior performance. Although they’re not thinking about it now, when they compete for promotion to SMSgt, a “10-year lookback” takes place. This early promotion could very well be contained in an EPR the board reviews.