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As part of a new policy aimed at making job performance the primary factor in career advancement, Air Force leaders on Tuesday announced significant changes to the role advanced education plays in officers’ promotion. As of Dec. 1, an advanced degree will no longer be considered for line officers below the grade of colonel going before a promotion board, according to an Aug. 10 release. In addition, the method and year of completion will no longer be displayed on information material provided to promotion boards. However, an advanced academic degree still is required for promotion to colonel, states the release. “My No. 1 priority is taking care of people, and these initiatives will do just that,” said Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James. “Our intention is to set clear expectations and ensure that, where possible, we give time back to our officers,” said Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh. Changes do not preclude officers from obtaining advanced education, “which is important to officer development,” added Welsh. The changes also eliminate the requirement for Active Duty captains to complete the distance learning course to be eligible for selection for Squadron Officer School.