Who needs an Enlisted Development Plan?

  • Published
  • By Chief Master Sgt. Bryan A. Payne
  • 934th Airlift Wing command chief
Enlisted Development Plans - to many SNCOs this is a new term. Across the Air Force, Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard members are scratching their heads a bit and asking what is an EDP and why should I have one.

Both are good questions, and need good answers. Suppose you are a SNCO, and you want to get a Senior Rater Endorsement, promotion, or further your military education in a formal school. Then you need one. What about new Airmen, and mid grade NCOs you might ask? They need them too. Every enlisted member needs to have an EDP.

A new Airman needs an Enlisted Development Plan to help them navigate the newness of being a reservist, to help them map out their first few years. The EDP will help guide them through not only what they need to accomplish in their AFSC, but also keep them focused on their PME at the same time. Using their EDP as a tool during mentoring, the Airman can get feedback from their supervisors, peers, and others they look up to. Whether the Airman's goal is simply one enlistment to help pay for college or job training, or they are already looking at earning the reserve retirement pension, having an EDP and updating it as they reach each milestone, will help that Airman achieve their success.

As Airmen are promoted into the ranks of NCOs, these staff sergeants and tech. sergeants benefit from having clearer guidance, as their focus begins to move from doing tasks and being the technical expert about their career field to being the supervisor, and troubleshooter. The EDP allows the NCO to map out what their next career move is, and how to get to the next step. For some it is becoming an officer, and for others it may mean going to a different assignment. Some will choose a new career field, and many will focus on becoming the first line leaders in their chosen career field training those who come behind them.

All the NCOs have one thing in common - they are working to a goal. Utilizing the enlisted development plan as a tool to reach the goal enables members to revisit the map to the destination or outcome they desire from the Reserve, and avoid unnecessary steps along the way. The NCO uses the EDP as a tool to mentor others under their supervision, while also using their own as a tool to help boost their own career.

Our Airmen continue to do great things. They become proficient in their AFSC and when they have met the requirements for promotion to master sergeant, a whole new world opens. As SNCOs, Airmen, NCOs and even officers look up to them. They are managing people and processes toward mission accomplishment. They pull out the enlisted development plan to keep their career on track. The EDP helps define where they want to be stationed, what assignment they want next, and then gives the member a chance to define forward looking midterm and long term goals. As the SNCO progresses toward the rank of Chief, they keep adapting their EDP while also using it as a road guide. It allows them to keep focus on their own goals.

An EDP is a very valuable tool. It allows the member to design a simple plan of how to reach their goals for their time in uniform, and out of uniform. The plan helps members define the what, where and why of their Reserve career, and still leaves room for ever changing "What's Next?" to be set in place (and then changed as needed). The EDP tool is easy to access, right from the Air Force portal, and it's easy to share with mentors in specific roles like supervisors, and unofficial ones, like the folks who a member holds in high regard right in their own shop.

Every enlisted member of the Air Force Reserve should have an Enlisted Development Plan, and should share it with their supervisor, first sergeant, and anyone else the member wants mentoring from. This living document will help guide the member along, keeping them focused on their mission.