The BOT Guide was the go-to guide for active duty personnel to use to put together their application. The overall intent of this document is to give applicants ALL of the information they need to submit an application from starting the first paperwork to submitting it in SharePoint. On 19 Jan 17 the BOT guide was COMPLETELY overhauled. The intent of this post is to not reproduce the guide on my blog, but to point out the major changes of the process. It is YOUR responsibility as an applicant to become one with this document, live and breathe it, and use it to produce a finely polished final application.
Here are some things which stood out to me on my first review. Again, read the document for yourself because it goes into depth with how you should craft your application.
NOTE TO CIVILIAN APPLICANTS: Some of this will apply to you, and some of it won’t. Either way I would expect that you will see the applicable changes eventually trickle down from your recruiters. Email me if you have any specific questions or concerns.
“1.2. OFFICER INTERSERVICE TRANSFERS Commissioned officers currently assigned to a Sister Service, the Reserves, or Guard who are interested in Active Duty as an Air Force Line Officer should visit the Air Force Contact Center Website for the latest in inter-service transfer information. They may also contact Recall/Inter-service Transfers: [REMOVED contact information – Email me or ping the Facebook Forum if you need this.]”
- I was never really sure how this worked before. Perhaps if this applies to you, you can do some of the application process without a recruiter (which I am sure may help a lot.)
“1.3. OTHER COMPONENT ENLISTED MEMBERS Sister Service, Reserve, and Guard enlisted component members interested in applying for TFOT must apply through an Air Force Line Officer recruiter regardless of their current enlisted active duty status. Sister Service, Reserve, and Guard members can go to AirForce.com to locate the closest Line Officer recruiter.”
- Confirmation that you have to work through a recruiter if you are in this category.
“1.4. BOARD SCHEDULE INFORMATION – The Board schedule is located on AFRS AF Portal page under “Apply for a Commission via TFIT/TFOT (Active Duty Enlisted Airman)” link. The Board schedule has firm application cut-off dates. All applications must be complete and in place with AFRS/RSOCL no later than (NLT) 1600 hour Central Standard Time (CST). An application submission link will be activated two weeks before the application cut-off date. Refer to the Board schedule for cutoff dates. The first 125 applications will be processed to meet the Board. The link will be deactivated once 25 records are received. Those submitted pass the 125 max will be pushed to the next available same type Board.”
- This is HUGE, and I don’t know how I feel about this. For the first AD board for example you need to be one of those first 125. If 25 make it through before the link is deactivated that means for the next AD board you have to be one of the first 100 to submit because the 25 were carried forward.
- The reason the staff did this is because of the overwhelming number of applications received each board. I personally think if you have put all of the work in to putting together an application you should have the privilege to be actually considered by the board. If they truly do kick back any applications after 125 I consider this extremely un-fair. It is leaving too much up to chance.
- ***NOTE*** Be sure to read the comment on the 125 limit at the bottom of this post.
“1.6. BOARD SELECTION PROCESS – The TFOT selection Board is comprised of Air Force Colonels or Colonel (selects). There are 3 Colonels assigned per Board/subprogram. Each Board member will review and score each record on a scale of 1 to 10. The Board selection process is very competitive; therefore, it is important to pay close attention to details in all areas of the app-profile.”
- Key line, “therefore, it is important to pay close attention to details in all areas of the app-profile.” This reinforces my opinion that the Applicant Profile is an EXTREMELY IMPORTANT document.
“1.7. POST BOARD PROCESS
1.7.3. Reapplication – Applicants can only have one active application with AFRS at any given time. Each applicant can apply for up to three Boards, if eligible. If non-selected after the third Board, the applicant can reapply again after 12 months has transpired from the release date of the last Board.”
- Another big change. When I applied you had to wait six months between submissions but you could apply as many times as you wanted to. Then they removed the six month waiting period. Now you will just need to pay attention to your timeline if you are in this category.
“Diagram 3.1 Applicant Profile Change
Rated/Non-Rated Preference (pick one of the following below by initialing)
______ I wish to be considered for both rated and non-rated, in the event that I am selected
for both rated and non-rated, my preference is rated 1st and non-rated 2nd, if eligible.
______ I wish to be considered for both rated and non-rated, in the event that I am selected for both rated and non-rated, my preference is non-rated 1st and rated 2nd, if eligible.
______ I am only eligible or wish to be considered for non-rated only.”
- Now since the boards are separated by active duty vs. civilian instead of rated vs. nonrated you can now choose if you want to be considered for NR and Rated or only NR.
Comment from “AFEnlistedtoOfficer””Hello, Man this blog is awesome! Just wanted to shout out that the XXth AF A1/CC paid a visit to our base. I asked about the 125 enlisted applicants and (paraphrasing here) he said The “Air Force is looking to get bigger…the intent is to increase the force with civilian applicants”. Meaning, the civilian side may not be limited to the 125. Possibly looking to pursuit priors into the other commissioning programs ROTC/Academy for longevity sakes. Maybe us old dudes don’t have enough longevity post OTS? Just my speculation.”
When I was putting together my application I completely overlooked this attachment until about three days before the application deadline. Every time I would read this attachment I assumed it was meant for those who could not use SharePoint and would instead have to email their application to AFRS. My error almost prevented me submitting in time, and in turn, could have prevented me from being selected for my board (15OT02). In my opinion this should be the first attachment of the BOT guide because it provides a general overview of what is required for the application.
- The entire application is consolidated into what AFRS calls “packets”. Their terminology causes a lot of confusion for some, but it essentially means placing all of the required documents in a pile and scanning them into one PDF file. There are of course more high tech ways of doing this, but that is the general idea.
- The number of packets will vary from applicant to applicant, but AD applicants will have a minimum of three and no more than seven. I used four (three mandatory plus award source). The packet names are as follows:
- Board Application (mandatory)
- EPR (mandatory)
- Waiver Document (as required)
- Source Document (mandatory)
- Award Source Document (as required)
- Prior Service (as required)
- ALO Addendum (as required)
- In my opinion this is THE MOST IMPORTANT PACKET. I have no inside knowledge of the board process other than what I have heard, but my personal perception of the process is that the board reviews all information presented to them by the staff. The staff will either download or print your entire application and prepare the application for the board. When the board is doing their thing, they will review your record, give you a rating, and move on.
- The reason I think this is the most important packet is because I think this packet is the core source of the board’s information. In fact, I personally believe the board does not even see any other packets unless they specifically request for them. This is why I believe the most important document of your application is your OTS Applicant Profile, because you are essentially translating your record into a format which is most easily processed by the board. I will do a separate post on the OTS Applicant Profile.
- This packet contains the following documents:
- OTS Applicant Profile
- Page 6 of the AF56 (commander’s page)
- Letter of Recommendation
- If my theory is correct, do you see why I believe those documents are the most important? Equally important is how you present those documents within the packet itself.
- I used Adobe Pro to combine all of my EPRs into one document. The BOT guide stated to order them from most current on top to [oldest] on bottom.
- Here is what my BOT guide told me to include, and what I actually dide.
- Questionnaire 1 – deleted instructions and used actual digitally signed files).
- Questionnaire 2 – same as above
- AFOQT web printout – used the web site provided to download my scores a few days before submission.
- ABM web printout – I was a non-rated applicant so almost omitted this one, BUT DO NOT OVERLOOK IT! Go to the web site and plug in your AFOQT information and the web site will provide you with the document. Applicants who overlooked this for the 15OT02 NR board were contacted by AFRS and asked to send it in.
- PCSM web printout – I did not use this.
- Transcripts – I received a PDF transcript from my college and used that. Be careful because mine was so full of security features it almost added 10 mb to the file size. I did some techie magic to shrink it back down to normal.
- AF FM 56 – I scanned the entire document. Scanned because mine had wet signatures/initials.
- PPL/CPL – NA for me.
- vMPF Data Verification Brief – PDF’d a few days before submission. Now called Career Data Brief.
- vMPF Record Review Update – PDF’dda few days before submission.
- Commander’s Master PF/LPIF w/ AFPC response – Included. I did not include the letter from my commander requesting the Master PF review (as stated in the BOT guide).
- AF FM 422 – as downloaded from AF Portal.
- Rated Age Critical – NA for me.
- Approved Weather Officer – NA for me.
- ALO Addendum – NA for me.
- Here is what my BOT guide told me to include, and what I actually dide.
- The guide says only to include those not in EPRs and I complied with one exception.
- I have a AF Achievement Medal that did not make it into my EPR and I think it significantly added to my application, so I uploaded it. Because I uploaded one, I uploaded all (one other AFAM and two AFCMs).
- I had a few other awards/recognition’s which did not make it into my EPRs (Wing USR of the Quarter and BMT Most Outstanding Airman) so I went ahead and scanned those as well.
- Some people on the forums did a memorandum stating what all was included and why, but I did not. Two reasons:
- Time was short.
- I did not think it was worth the effort because I didn’t think the board would look at it.
- That was it for me. I did not use any other packets, I only submitted four.
- So what exactly do you do with these packets? I looked at each packet as a task to be completed prior to submission. The EPR and award packets were easy so I did them and didn’t review them again until the end. I used the other two to maintain the big picture on what I needed to work on.
- The final page of Attachment 9 tells you exactly how to name the packet file. Don’t be an idiot like me, 1234 on the example is the last four of your SSN. I almost messed that up.
- Mine were named:
- “LASTNAME, FIRSTNAME 1234 app.pdf”
- “LASTNAME, FIRSTNAME 1234 award.pdf”
- “LASTNAME, FIRSTNAME 1234 EPR.pdf”
- “LASTNAME, FIRSTNAME 1234 srce.pdf”
- Mine were named:
- One last comment I have is about the PDF quality of your documents. Regardless of if the board reviews digitally or by paper, the document you provide will be reviewed at the quality (or below) of the document you submit. For example, if you scan a clean document but your scanner adds smudges, the board will see smudges. Due to this I used the Lexus of scanners to create my packets. This is also why I used a lot of actual PDF files and patched them together with Adobe Pro.
- On the note of quality, I also used Adobe Pro to ensure my LOR and OTS Applicant Profile were searchable. I don’t know if it contributed anything but it is something I thought about and took time to do.
Attachment 6, Rated and Non-rated Subprogram Eligibility Criteria
- The purpose of this attachment is to define the bare-minimum requirements for the overall career field categories. For example if you want to be a pilot, this attachment will tell you the AFOQT score and GPA requirements. I pursued a non-rated, non-technical job so my requirements were very straight-forward.
- The major thing I learned for this attachment is my degree was non-technical. This attachment defined a technical degree as a degree from an ABET accredited university so degree limited me to non-technical positions.
- I looked at Attachment 6 as the general AFSC requirements and Attachment 7 as the specific AFSC requirements. This attachment was extremely useful because it spelled out the specific requirements for each career field. Here is the information which was useful to me for the jobs I was interested in.
- 17D1 Cyberspace Operations – I already had an SSBI so the only useful information was the degree list. My degree was on the list in the requirements so I didn’t need the 24 hours of technical courses. I was in the Cyber System Operations career field as enlisted so I wasn’t really worried about qualifying for this degree. This was my number one choice to begin with, but I switched to 13S.
- 13M1 Air Field Operations – Bare minimum requirements, but I wasn’t very interested in this job.
- 13S1 Space Operations – This became my first choice and 17D1 was my second. According to the attachment this field requires a STEM degree. I will do a separate post on STEM degrees because there is a lot of confusion, but the bottom line is don’t stress about not having a 100% accurate STEM degree.
- 14N1 Intelligence – bare minimum requirements.
- 63A1 Acquisition Manager – I had 24 credit hours of the listed fields so I wasn’t worried about qualifying.
- 64P1 Contracting – I met the requirements.
- 65F1 Financial Management – I met the requirements.
This attachment was fairly cut and dry for me. I have never had any physical or medical issues so as far as the physical was concerned all I needed was an updated AF Form 422. I actually called the MDG to request an appointment and they clearly informed me I did not need to see my PCM. The section within the MDG I had to talk to was “Medical Standards”, and there were one or two full time personnel who did this as their main job. They helped me out for almost the entire medical process and they were the ones I contacted if I had any issues.
Nothing in this section applied to me, but I read all of the references and AFIs just in case.
A5.1.1. Non-Rated Applicants
To obtain an AF 422 I had to contact medical standards. They were slightly difficult to get in touch with by phone so I ended up dropping by first thing in the morning. They also had training days and half day so sometimes it was a bit of a struggle, but I was almost always able to ask someone when they would be there.
I used the BOT guide and requested the form with the quoted verbiage and the first thing they needed from me before they would do anything was “something written saying I needed xyz.” They said it had to be signed, but they also said my flight commander could sign it. After consulting with my flight commander he went ahead and deferred to my unit commander though, so obtaining the signature took an extra few steps. I obtained the memorandum and returned to the MDG.
Once they had the memo they informed me I needed to do a depth perception test and a color vision test. The depth perception test involved a machine similar to what is used during an eye exam. Once you looked through the lenses several rows of five black circles on a white background were illuminated and I had to pick the one which was standing out. I remembered this from MEPS. It took me longer than I remember at MEPS, but I passed.
The color vision test involved a small laptop with a mouse. Basically I covered one eye and different colored, dimly lit letters would appear and I had to click out of 10 choices what the letter was. I need glasses but don’t wear them so I had to work harder on this one, but I passed this as well.
After I passed both tests the standards section informed me they would generate the AF Form 422, obtain signature from the doctor, and upload it to my PIMR. After three weeks or so it wasn’t done so I followed up (I think the original turnaround I was given was two weeks), and they took care of it the next day. I started the process early enough that it didn’t matter.
A5.1.2 Air Liaison Officer (ALO), Combat Rescue Officer (CSO and Special Tactic Officer (STO)
N/A for me.
A5.1.3 Rated Applicants
N/A for me.
A5.1.4 Rate Age Critical Applicant
N/A for me.
A5.2 Commander’s Master Personnel File and Local Personnel Information File Reviews
So on this one the overall premise is AFPC checks your master PIF from Randolph for derogatory information and informs your commander of the result. Your commander does a local PIF review, and if all checks out your commander does a memo stating all was complete and no derogatory information was found. Here is how I did it:
1) I did up the Quality Force Review Request for the Purpose of BOT Application memorandum on squadron letterhead and included instructions for my commander. He signed and emailed to dpsomp.incoming. About a week later he got an email back from AFPC with another memorandum stating no derogatory information was found. I kept it in my binder and then drafted the Commander’s MasterPF and LPIF Quality Force Review Letter. My commander signed this one as well, and I stored all memos in my binder (see post on organization). You don’t need the memos again until you actually start putting together your “packets” for formal SharePoint submission.
This was very straight forward because I was done with my degree. I contacted my college, ordered the transcripts IAW their procedures, and kept the soft copy in a safe place until I was ready to make my “packets”.
Be careful on the size of the PDF if you order electronic transcripts. Mine was extremely large so I used Adobe Pro to shrink the file so it did not bog down SharePoint on submission day.
Technically the PDF transcript was not “official” because I ordered it myself, but it still worked. I think as long as it is official as it gets you are fine, they just want to identify if there is anything shady going on with your transcript.
A5.3.4 AFRS IMT Form 1413
N/A for me.
A5.5. Assignment Availability Code 05 (AAC)
This is a code placed on your official profile which flags you as an OTS applicant in AMS. Basically if you are hot for an assignment, there is some sort of check in place where your name will be flagged if you have this code. This code does not guarantee you will not get an assignment, it simply adds another layer of validation during the assignment process. If you have the code, get an assignment, and get selected for OTS, they will cancel the assignment. If you have the code, get an assignment, and do not get selected, you will still need to take the assignment.
The MPS (assignments section I believe) does this update for your record. I had to do a memo for this as well signed by commander, and I simply emailed it to the correct work center at MPS. Luckily I got the right guy on the phone so he actually made the update that day.
Take note to not do this too early, especially since AFRS has a track record of pushing boards back. This will prevent complications. Bottom line if you applied to OTS, DO NOT PCS. It will most likely render you ineligible to apply and your application will be pulled.
I accidentally did this around 35 days prior to submission instead of the 30, but no-one noticed and it did not cause any problems.
Be sure you check your vMPF RRU and/or CDB to ensure the code is on your record.
I have heard a rumor that AFRS pulls this code off your record if you are a non-select (sometimes before results are released), but I have been unable to confirm this. Mine remained for the entire period.
A5.6 Virtual MPF Record Review Update (RRU) and Career Data Brief (CDB)
Again I constantly went line by line through both documents to ensure I was good to go. It takes time to make updates so be sure you start early. If something is incorrect, talk to your orderly room or education center depending on the problem.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this post is relevant from the BOT Guide downloaded 2 May 2015.
- Don’t miss the tips and tricks in the main PDF of the Basic Officer Training Guide. It includes some very general information, but it also includes a list of COMMON ERRORS AFRS sees and FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS. I found both very informative and I actually used this when I was finalizing my AF Form 56 to make sure I wasn’t repeating any common mistakes.
- This attachment is a basic outline of all the requirements for your application. The attachment is very straight forward but the one thing I did relates to the vMPF Record Review Update (RRU) and the Career Data Brief (CDB). You can download both from vMPF and I went ahead and printed both of mine at the very beginning of the process. I went through both line by line and highlighted any corrections which needed to be made. In my case I had to upload a PME certificate and I had to have the Education Center update my second CCAF. Everyone will be different, but be sure you plan enough time for MPS or the Education Center to do their thing because it can always end up being a long, drawn out process.
- These are firm requirements which are not currently waiverable, but don’t stress, they are basic questions such as are you a U.S. citizen or are you on a control roster. Go through every question and make sure you are good.
- Here are a few thoughts that ran through my head as I went through the questionnaire:
- Are you eligible for enlistment? I freaked out at first because I was so far out from my ETS, but don’t. As long as your vMPF says you are eligible for re-enlistment I think you are good to go.
- Rated (flying) Age – I left this one blank because I filled out the non-rated block.
- I read this at the beginning just to make sure I would be good but I didn’t sign it until the final week prior to my submission. I used Adobe Pro to delete the instruction pages with the AFI references.
- These are requirements that are waiverable. Much of this document is about career timing so I could see how many would have problems with it (DEROS, SRB, etc.) Again I went through this at the beginning but didn’t route to my commander until a few weeks prior to my submission (per my commander’s direction).
- It is important to note this document requests a digital signature. At some point I recommend talking to your commander’s administrative personnel to see if seeking a digital signature will be a problem. I don’t think a wet signature would be a deal breaker or anything, but the form asks for an digital signature so that’s what I did. My commander had some signing problems but in the end we worked it out.
- The only item I had on this which was item 17. The guide for me read, “Are or have you received an IEB/SRB within the present enlistment and have not served at least half of the term of enlistment?” I had barely served one half, so I answered no. Apparently this was incorrect (according to the forums) but I never heard anything about it from AFRS. I will do a separate post on the SRB wavier process.
Your second stop in SharePoint should be to download the Active Duty BOT Guide, as this contains ALL of the information you will need to submit your application. People in forums or on the internet, or even people who help you personally, may have information about how they did their application, but this guide will be the most up-to-date info straight from AFPC on how to complete your application.
The guide itself is a PDF file a.k.a. portfolio which simply means it contains many other PDF attachments. Each attachment will give you a different type of information, and some information will apply and some will not.
Here is the basic layout as of May 1, 2015:
- Attachment 01, Am I eligible – This gives you the basic requirements for your OTS application. Take a look and see if anything major comes up.
- Attachment 02, BOT Questionnaire 1 – These are requirements or qualifications which are not waiver-able, at least at this time. Read through and see if anything jumps out at you. Don’t worry about signing until closer to your application date.
- Attachment 03, BOT Questionnaire 2 – These are requirements which are waiver-able. This one requires your CC’s signature so read it to make sure you are good, but don’t worry about signatures until later.
- Attachment 04, AFOQT and PCSM Information. The AFOQT is mandatory for all applicants. PCSM I believe is only for rated.
- Attachment 05, Physical_ Master_PFLPIF Review_ Transcripts_AFRS IMT 1413 etc – This one provides information on doing your physical, PIF review, and education certification (AFRS IMT 1413).
- Attachment 06, Rated and Nonrated Subprogram Eligiblity Criteria – Specific additional requirements for a few jobs.
- Attachment 07, Entry Level Line Officer AF Specialty Criteria – A list of AFSC you can apply for.
- Attachment 08, Instructions for Completing AF FM 56 and Letter of Recommendation – The most important part of your application. Well almost.
- Attachment 09, AD BOT Electronic Application Updated 24 Jun 0800 hrs CST – Only used if you can’t use SharePoint.
- Attachment 10, BOT Applicant Contact Sign-up Form – Only used if you need to ask AFPC a question. I never had to.
- Attachment 11, Air Liaison Officer (13L1) Addendum – More info if you want to be an Air Liaison Officer.
- Attachment 12, Weather Officer Classification Waiver for Enlisted Weather Members – More information specific to the weather field.
I strongly recommend printing out the entire guide and putting together a 3-ring notebook. Keep the notebook with you at all times and any time you need to reference something you can easily pull the tab, reference, and replace. I will do a separate post on how I kept organized later. I work in a secure area so paper copies were absolutely necessary.
Edit 9 Aug 15: I have had a hard time accessing the SharePoint lately (I am probably doing it wrong) but here is the AF portal link to the BOT guide. Use the AF Portal link to the home page and click the BOT Guide link on left. Common Access Card required!!! Be sure you cross reference the latest updates with the SharePoint.
AF Portal: http://journeytoairforceots.blogspot.com/2015/05/air-force-portal-basic-officer-training.html