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Air Force recruiting continues to find ways to work around COVID-19

By Master Sgt. Chance Babin | Air Force Recruiting Service Public Affairs | Sept. 15, 2020

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas —

As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, Air Force Recruiting Service continues to find innovative ways to overcome obstacles. In conjunction with the Air Force Personnel Center, an electronic version of the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test is now available for the first time ever.

“The electronic Air Force Officer Qualifying Test, or eAFOQT, is the first electronic version of the traditional AFOQT,” said Senior Master Sgt. Aaron Akridge, AFRS’s superintendent of officer accessions. “Due to COVID-19 limiting opportunities for traditional AFOQT, AFRS, in collaboration with AFPC’s strategic research and assessments branch, or AFPC/DSYX, began working an alternate avenue for line officer candidates to take/complete this initial qualifying test.” 

The eAFOQT is not replacing current testing but is another tool for the recruiters to use when processing officer applicants.

“This tool specifically provides more capacity for testing along with flexibility for the applicant and recruiters,” Akridge said. “This new opportunity has been communicated with the three officer accessions squadrons and is able to be utilized as of Sept. 14, 2020.”

The traditional paper AFOQT was traditionally accomplished at one of three locations, the Military Entrance Processing Station, Air Force ROTC detachments or base education offices. 

“Due to health concerns related to COVID-19, MEPS facilities have limited testing and most ROTC and base education offices have canceled the test for our civilian applicants,” Akridge said. 

Akridge said working together as a collective was a great experience, especially knowing the solution would be a unique one.

“It was truly awesome working with a group of professionals and even more special to know that we are pioneering something that hasn’t been previously accomplished,” he said. “All of this hard work and collaboration is to better equip our line officer recruiters with the proper tools to inspire, engage and recruit.”

Each of the squadrons will have test control officers to assist with giving the test to applicants.

“Training guides were sent to all test control officers and additional training was accomplished via Zoom,” he said. “The mandatory training referenced the roles and responsibilities of TCOs in accordance with current instruction/guides. TCOs were selected by each OA squadron leadership team.”

The eAFOQT is a beta test at this time specifically for the regular Air Force. 

“Currently, we are in discussion with our Total Force partners to determine the feasibility of future expansion,” Akridge said. “We are continually learning at this time and always pushing to better refine this tool for all users.”

AFRS has relied heavily on innovation and flexibility during the COVID-19 pandemic and the eAFOQT was just another hurdle. 

“COVID-19 has presented plenty of challenges for our recruiting mission; however, it has also presented opportunities,” Akridge said. “Through collaboration and innovation, we are overcoming all obstacles and are poised to continue meeting all line officer requirements. We want to thank AFPC/DSYX for their herculean efforts and to all parties who have been involved with bringing this tool to fruition.”