This is off-topic but I am glad the NCO Corps will now slow their promotions.
A new NCO timeline Army redraws promotion path to sergeant major
By Jim Tice
The Army has redrawn the non*commissioned officer career road map, giving enlisted soldiers standard and predictable promo*tion waypoints to the ranks of sergeant through sergeant major.
Several policy changes to be fielded over the next two years include a new plan that envisions most soldiers being promoted to sergeant at about 4½ years of ser*vice, followed by advancements to the other grades every six years.
The goal of the new timeline is to move career-minded soldiers through the lower ranks into the sergeant major ranks at 24 to 25 years of service, and to provide them with an opportunity to serve a tour as a battalion command sergeant major before retiring at 32 years of service.
Soldiers who elect voluntary retirement upon reaching 20 years of service can count on retiring as sergeants first class.
Other changes will synchronize the various levels of the NCO Edu*cation System with promotions.
Fiscal 2013, which begins Oct. 1, will be a transition year used to educate the force on the new requirements, and to give soldiers and leaders time to react to require*ments tentatively scheduled for implementation in 2014.
Officials anticipate that the entire system, to include the stan*dardized promotion pin-on points, will be in effect by 2015.
A key component of the pending changes is the adoption of a select*train-promote concept already implemented at the rank of sergeant major, according to Ger*ald Purcell, a personnel policy integrator in the Office of the Army G-1 (Human Resources).
Under that concept, master sergeants with potential for service as sergeants major are selected to attend the Sergeants Major Course. Upon graduation from the resi*dent or nonresident course, sol*diers are frocked to sergeant major and promoted by seniority as vacancies occur in their military occupa*tional specialty.
When applied to the lower grades, “soldiers will be selected for pro*motion based on poten*tial, and, once promoted, the Army will train them, both in their units and in schools, which will lead to a recommendation for promotion to the next grade,” Purcell said.
Soldiers in the promotion pipeline will be trained by unit leaders through mentoring, coach*ing and counseling, direct experi*ences, and in schools through a combination of distance learning, such as Structured Self-Develop*ment, and the resident NCOES courses.
The leader development strate*gy will require specialists to be graduates of the Warrior Leader Course before they can be validat*ed as sergeants.
Upon completing their unit and institutional leader development regimen, sergeants will become eligible to be recommended for promotion.
The process then will be repeat*ed for service as a staff sergeant, except that the common core and technical phases of the Advanced Leader Course will be a valida*tion requirement for promotion to staff sergeant.
The Army has not yet deter*mined how it will formally vali*date soldiers at the various rank levels, but such a process is being researched by Training and Doctrine Command.
“Maybe this will be some kind of certification saying that a soldier is proficient at his or her current grade, and is eligible to be recom*mended for promotion,” Purcell said.
While the semicentralized pro*motion system for sergeant and staff sergeant will remain intact, qualification requirements will change.
“It is our intent that the various phases of the NCO Education Sys*tem and eligibility for promotion will be formally linked in fiscal 2014,” Purcell said.
For example, Structured Self-Development-1 will become a requirement for promotion to sergeant, SSD-3 for consideration to sergeant first class and SSD-4 for master sergeant.
Two years ago, Army leaders signed off on a memorandum that requires policies throughout the force to be shaped in such a way that they support the tenets of leader development.
“The only way we can be success*ful in building a system that sup*ports the tenets of leader develop*ment is to give soldiers enough time to complete institutional, opera*tional and self-development learn*ing experiences,” Purcell said.
The new NCO career timeline is based on the premise that soldiers will spend about six years in grade at the various NCO rank levels.
Under the current system, high*potential NCOs move between the rank levels every three or four years.
“Three years time-in-grade,” Purcell said, “is not enough time to develop operationally.” Under the new system, soldiers who want to serve a 32-year career will make it to sergeant major with enough time to serve at least one command sergeant major tour.
“If you want to serve a 20-year career, you will make it to sergeant first class, and will leave the service at that rank,” Purcell said. “However, you won’t have enough time during a 20-year career to make sergeant major. That should not be a goal that someone sets for himself because the system won’t allow it.” Purcell said under the new system, “a handful of people will receive accelerated promotions, because we need them. But, on average, we won’t need sergeants major who pin on at 20 years of service because that is not in the Army’s best interest.” A major asset of the new system will be its visibility to soldiers in the sense that the leader development template and career timeline will tell them what they need to do, and when, to be successful.
“Making staff sergeant in eight years is what we expect you to do,” Purcell said. “If you do your job, and you’re good at what you do, you are going to make staff sergeant in eight years.” However, what may appear to be a sim*ple process is complicated by the fact that each MOS has it own force structure requirements, which can vary greatly.
If an MOS has a timeline that averages nine or 10 years to make staff sergeant, the Army will use its new force-shaping tool, the Qualitative Service Program, to facili*tate losses at the senior grades, which in turn will increase promotion opportunities at the lower grades.