The Army is making significant changes in the way it does officer promotions.
U.S. Army Human Resources Command conducted its first officer promotion board incorporating a new initiative from the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) allowing promotion selection boards to recommend that officers of particular merit be placed higher on the promotion list.
When the Fiscal Year 2019 Army Competitive Category (ACC) Major Promotion Board convened, board members recommended select active duty officers serving in each of the Operations, Operations Support, Force Sustainment and Information Dominance categories for promotions to be sequenced by their board established order of merit rather than by their prior dates of rank.
Officers selected by this board with the highest order of merit scores as determined by board member voting, will be promoted at the very beginning of list execution.
Officers selected from the "below zone" eligible population will, in almost all instances, be among the officers at the top of the order of merit.
However, the percentage of the top tier will vary based on the size of the selected population, and the distribution of voting scores from board members.
"For years 'below zone' selection is what officers have hoped to achieve as a result of stellar performance. A paradigm shift in terminology is needed to recognize that 'merit' is the new gold standard. Merit promotions will allow selected officers to be promoted earlier in order to then learn and contribute in their new grade," said Brig. Gen. Robert W. Bennett, The Adjutant General of the U.S. Army.
That means Officers selected for merit promotion on the FY19 list will be promoted the first month after the FY18 list is exhausted, tentatively scheduled for July 31, 2020, followed by the remaining selected officers who will then be promoted by seniority based off of time in grade and time in service.
For this particular promotion board, officers in the top tier as determined by statistical evaluation, will be promoted in the first month of the execution of the list. Officers selected based on merit are identified by three asterisks while all other officers selected for promotion have a sequence number based on seniority.
This is one of many measures the Army is taking to acquire, develop, employ and retain its greatest asset - People. Changes to the officer promotion board process will continue to evolve well into the future to ensure that the Army maintains its most talented officers.
In the future, merit based promotions will apply to officers being considered for promotion to Major, Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel in select categories to be determined by the Secretary of the Army. This ensures that top performers are promoted sooner by being placed higher on promotion lists.
"We chose to do this for the Major grade initially because we felt that was the most critical officer developmental inflection point for field grades. We feel the result will be a dramatic return on the investment in early advancement," Bennett said.