RAF Mildenhall Education and Training Center starts eWAPS testing

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Katie Mullikin
  • 100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

ROYAL AIR FORCE MILDENHALL, England. – The 100th Force Support Squadron Education and Training Center rolled out the new electronic Weighted Airman Promotion System designed for promotion-eligible staff sergeants to kick off the 2024 promotion cycle from Feb. 15 - April 15 at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England.

The new system, eWAPS, replaces the pencil and paper method with an electronic format for promotion eligible senior airmen and staff sergeants. Test-takers are quizzed on topics such as AFSC skills, leadership and follower abilities, Air Force history and customs and courtesies.

“The WAPS test is crucial, and it ensures you’re ready to be promoted,” said Staff Sgt. Jesenia Landaverde. “It challenges us noncommissioned officers, as skilled technicians and mentors of the professions of arms, to be proficient on the ins and outs of our AFSC and as Air Force first-line supervisors.”

RAF Mildenhall prepared for three years to establish eWAPS. During that time, all Air Force education and training centers collaborated with the Air Force Personnel Center and planned the execution of the new system to meet U.S. Air Force requirements. 

“There were a lot of challenges and obstacles,” said Heather Ruppert, 100th FSS education services specialist. “We had to adhere to policies established by the Air Force and be consistent with cybersecurity guidelines.”

The first step of the eWAPS project was ordering the equipment needed for the testing room, including new desks, noise-canceling headphones, chairs, desktop computers, and commercial broadband. Once all the materials were obtained, the room was restructured to meet the required security and safety measures, as well as create a suitable testing environment for Airmen.

“The purpose of the room setup is for the test administrator to quickly assist anyone who has questions or technical problems during the test,” said Vita Evans, 100th FSS Education and Training Center chief.

The second step was to train the education and training staff by arranging webinars, video call meetings and online training. The sessions enabled discussion on how electronic testing will be controlled and the requirements that must be met before testing begins.

“We had to stay up late [because of the time difference] to attend online webinars and video call meetings,” said Ruppert. “But they were crucial so we could get answers for all our questions about the eWAPS.”

In preparation for the change in testing format, the 100th FSS Education and Training Center held three base-wide mandatory meetings for promotion-eligible Airmen to ask questions.

Additionally, two personnel per unit were assigned as eWAPS monitors to help accommodate the extra step of creating an online account and password by coordinating with test takers and the education and training staff.

Retired Chief Master Sgt. JoAnne Bass, the 19th Chief Master Sgt. of the Air Force, said that by providing a secure and innovative platform, the Air Force is taking action to provide Airmen a fair and equitable opportunity in promotion and career advancement.

“This advancement not only instills total confidence in our Airmen but also provides unhindered access, empowering them to reach goals with greater efficiency and effectiveness,” said Bass.