Army Officer Merit Promotions

Thursday October 31, 2019

What is it?

Army Officer Merit Promotions is a new policy in which the U.S. Army will promote top performing officers based on merit, rather than time-in-grade. Officers with the highest order of merit scores, as determined by board member voting, will be promoted at the very beginning of the list execution.

This policy applies to Army officers being considered for promotion to the grade of O-4 through O-6 (majors through colonels).

What are the current and past efforts of the Army?

Officers have traditionally been sequenced for promotion based on their date of rank. The Army will group and promote officers based on more narrowly drawn competitive categories and job specialties.

  • The Army will identify those officers who appear in the top tier of the promotion board results based on their performance and place them at the top of the promotion list.
  • The percentage of the top tier officers will vary based on the size of the selected population and the distribution of voting scores from board members.
  • Changes to the officer promotion board process will continue to evolve to ensure that the Army maintains its most talented officers.
  • Those officers who do not appear in the top tier will be promoted next, based upon their date of rank.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned?

The first promotion selection board to use this authority is the July 2019 Army Competitive Category Major board, with results released on October 29, 2019. This authority will be expanded to the remaining O-5 and O-6 ranks (lieutenant colonels and colonels) promotion boards.

Why is this important to the Army?

The new authority allows the Army to recognize and reward personnel based on their performance, rather than simply based on their time-in-grade. This will allow the highest quality officers to be promoted first. This is just one of the many important personnel reforms which will help the Army transition from an industrial-era personnel management system to an information-age system which manages people based on their talents. Merit-based promotions will help to modernize the officer management system and rapidly adapt the Army to shifting missions and new requirements.


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Focus Quote for the Day

Merit promotions will allow selected officers to be promoted earlier in order to then learn and contribute in their new grade.

- Brig. Gen. Robert W. Bennett, the Adjutant General of the U.S. Army

Army releases results of first officer merit promotion board


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