Technological glitches and delays continue to plague the Air Force’s attempt to launch new performance evaluation software after struggling for nearly a year to get the program up and running.
Some fear the problems will ultimately hurt Space Force aviators and guards, who rely on the routine assessments to open up new job and promotion prospects.
The Air Force and Space Force wanted the new myEval system to replace an older version, known as vPC, as a more automated, cloud-based database for performance reviews.
It would offer features that have become standard in commercial software, such as click-to-sign functionality. The system is also said to automatically retrieve information from the central human resources record system and other programs such as myFitness, which tracks aviators’ fitness test results.
The service first opened up myEval to aviators and guardians in February. By the end of May everyone should have started using it to log performance reviews.
However, the problems persisted throughout the summer. MyEval was not properly beta tested beforehand and was clunky, slow and confusing to navigate. Promised features did not materialize.
“I’ve … spent countless hours learning the system, which has no manuals, vague instructions, endless errors, and little to no capacity to meet our needs,” said someone claiming for the Air Force Personnel Center to work, on Wednesday in an anonymous post on the popular Air Force amn/nco/snco Facebook page.
“If you’re wondering why retention rates are so low, please refrain from going any further,” they continued. “It’s decisions like these that really impact Air Force culture and make individuals make choices to leave or to stay.”
Senior Air Force leaders promised in September that an improved “myEval 2.0” would replace the first release on October 1st. This date also came and went without significant changes.
Now the Air Force wants to be content with a “simplified” version of myEval 2.0, which is to appear “in early 2023”, said service spokesman Tech. Sergeant Das said Deana Heitzman on Tuesday.
“At the moment, [the Air Force’s personnel branch] is working on the IT infrastructure to ensure a successful rollout,” said Heitzman. “The simplified version will be more user-friendly and intuitive.”
She declined to answer what the intermediate version won’t offer that the full version would.
Airmen have complained about the complications on online forums and raised the issue in a recent question-and-answer session with the service’s chief crew chief and deputy chief of staff.
A defense attorney on Facebook, Richard Hart, commented that anyone who had instead submitted review papers through another platform — known as the Case Management System — would have had them ready in time for the various selection panels that decide who moves on to new opportunities.
Others just threw up their hands.
“I’ve reached the stage of acceptance,” Facebook user Anna Daily commented on the anonymous Facebook post. “I will not fight with the system. I’ll wait for someone to tell me what they want from me. I’ve had enough stress in the last 16.5 years.”
The issues have prevented the Air Force from making further changes to how its members are evaluated for their jobs.
It was planned to require troops to write their self-evaluations in full paragraphs alongside the launch of myEval 2.0 on October 1st. This move away from bullet list validation occurred while myEval was lagging behind.
So-called “flying skills” will become a criterion for performance evaluations in the same timeframe as the release of myEval 2.0 next year, Heitzman said.
In February, the Air Force announced that it would establish a schedule for conducting job evaluations by rank. The new review criteria will apply to Colonels from February 2023 and to other officer ranks throughout the year thereafter and to Chief Master Sergeants in May 2023, with other enlisted ranks to follow.
Airmen online continues to raise similar concerns about other software initiatives such as myDecs, myFitness and myLearning. These each aim to replace legacy systems for human resources management, physical fitness testing data and online training.
“If we built airplanes like this [my Force Support Squadron], myEval, myDecs was built, our pilots would be dead,” the anonymous Facebook post reads. “I beg and beg… please stop!”
Rachel Cohen joined the Air Force Times in March 2021 as a senior reporter. Her work has been published in Air Force Magazine, Inside Defense, Inside Health Policy, Frederick News-Post (Md.), Washington Post, and others.