WASHINGTON -- Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael A. Grinston announced the Army will expand its temporary promotion policy to all non-commissioned officer ranks, giving Soldiers more time to complete required training schools.
“Our goal is to develop every leader for promotion,” Grinston said during a media roundtable Monday. “This select, train and educate promote system is still the right way to do that.”
The program expands the existing temporary promotion policy, which gives eligible Soldiers up to a year to complete professional military education or enter proof of graduation into the service’s backend personnel system.
Beginning in January 2022, the policy will include all NCO ranks between sergeant and master sergeant, said Sgt. Maj. Mark Clark, the Army’s senior enlisted advisor for personnel. There will be no change to the existing temporary promotion policy for non-resident Sergeants Major Academy students.
The promotions will use the order of merit list, or OML list to determine which Soldiers will be promoted first, if there is a need.
“You may not even have to catch up too much,” Grinston said at the Association of the U.S. Army Annual Exposition and Meeting last month. “We’re also going to increase the slots and authorizations so we can get ahead of the OML so that you will get to school, and we don’t have this issue in the future.”
In September, Grinston said a high number of NCOs were passed over on the OML for promotion to master sergeant. A closer study found that some Soldiers did not qualify for promotion because they were never scheduled for their required professional military education courses.
The temporary promotion requires the promoted NCO to complete professional military education within one year to fully qualify at the higher grade. Unit leaders are still responsible to ensure that Soldiers are ready for their military education courses, Grinston said.
Soldiers who do not complete their professional military education before the one-year deadline will revert to their original rank. They will not be required to pay back any pay or allowances earned during that time.
“Each year you will get your records looked at,” Grinston said. “We will publish a new OML, and then based on where you are at on that year’s OML, based off the requirements we need for the Army, this would apply.”
This policy will be in place for one year before it is re-examined in September 2022 to assess the need to continue it.
“We have to see how many people come in the Army; how many people get out of the Army in those ranks,” Grinston said.
After the initial year and assessment of the program, Grinston said the Army can look at its need for additional training but explained that is not the only way to bolster the program.
“Right now, we believe because of the work we did a few years ago, that we could meet the capacity issues of the school slots,” he said. “But there's also other things we could do. We could add more school slots across the year if we’re not meeting those requirements.”
More instructors could be brought into the professional development courses if the need is there, he added.
“Our goal is still to select, train, and then educate and promote,” Grinston said. “The whole reason why we have this policy is that we wanted NCOs to have the education and the training for the job they are doing right now.”