Army suspends NCO temporary promotion policy

by Vern Evans

The Army announced today that it will suspend its use of temporary promotions for noncommissioned officers whose new rank was held up for unfinished education requirements.

NCOs currently on temporary promotions will see those promotions become permanent, beginning in June, according to the release.

The temporary promotion policy first began to accommodate pregnant soldiers and soldiers in postpartum following a pregnancy. The policy expanded to deployed soldiers on unit missions and widened further during the COVID-19 pandemic, which restricted travel and training.

The policy continued to expand as the service shifted from promotion selection boards to the NCO evaluation board process. Since January 2022 it has been used for all NCO promotions from sergeant through master sergeant.

Between December 2021 and February 2024, more than 112,000 soldiers were promoted through the ranks of sergeant to master sergeant. Half of those promotions fell under the temporary status, said Sgt. Maj. Jonathan Uribe, Directorate of Military Personnel Management sergeant major.

“Some of these Soldiers were still not able to attend school well after the 12-month requirement to obtain a permanent promotion,” Uribe said. “The policy created a lot of undue stress on the force that was often outside of the soldiers’ control.”

The Army is suspending the temporary promotion policy as it re-evaluates “the relationship between completion of formal (professional military education) and promotion eligibility,” according to the release.

As part of the re-evaluation, the service will “realign the required levels” of the NCO professional development system to advance soldiers to their next pay grade.

Both active duty and Reserve soldiers still must complete professional military education for their current rank before promotion to the next rank, according to the release.

The service will award additional promotion points for soldiers who’ve completed education requirements when competing for promotion to sergeant and staff sergeant.

The Army is keeping a provision for temporary rank promotions for pregnant and postpartum soldiers when the soldier has a back-to-back pregnancy and for candidates for the non-resident portions of the Sergeants Major Academy, according to the release.

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

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