Sgt. Maj. Rayon Hughes
Sergeant Major, 25th Infantry Division
The Army imposed the enlisted Qualitative Service Program, April 1, which consists of three boards: the Qualitative Management Program Board that we are all familiar with, the Over-Strength Qualitative Service Program Board and the Promotion Stagnation Qualitative Service Program Board.
This program’s main purpose is to identify noncommissioned officers for involuntary early separation from service.
The mission is simple: maintain the best quality NCOs possible to lead the NCO Corps.
This new system will allow Soldiers to continue to serve their country and for some to receive their “pink slip” and a one-way ticket to “Fort Living Room.”
In other words, to stay in the Army, NCOs’ duty performance and potential for continued service will be evaluated carefully to ensure that they are among the best quality of Soldiers the Army has to offer.
Many Soldiers have come to me to vent about their concerns of this new program and wonder what will happen if and when their name is called. Some Soldiers have already anticipated their separation by not buying certain items, like a new car. While no board has convened and no list has been published, it’s amazing the effect this program has had. I guess it’s because of the simple fact that individuals who will be considered will have no control over their future in the Army.
For my fellow comrades currently sitting in an over-strength military occupation speciality, the Over-Strength Qualitative Service Program has been mandated to lower the number of service members in select MOSs that are basically “sitting on top of each other.”
Junior NCOs will still have the opportunity for reclassification into a shortage MOS. However, some of my fellow senior NCOs will not be afforded the opportunity to continue to serve.
I encourage all NCOs who will fall in this category to ensure that your records are up to date. You have to envision/prepare for this board as if it was a senior promotion board. Your records will have to speak for you; if you do nothing to prepare your records for this “elimination process,” so to speak, and then the board will do the same and send you home.
The Promotion Stagnation Qualitative Service Program determines separation when an MOSs promotion timing objectives exceed the desired Army average (promotion pin-on rates, measured in years of service). Again, this is not a board that you can physically appear before. Your records have to speak for you.
I can’t stress this enough; your records have to be updated. If you have an old Department of the Army photo with the old Army Green Class A uniform, then you are out of regulation. Give yourself a fighting chance. You should already have the new Army Service Uniform. Also, make that appointment with your personnel shop to review of your enlisted record brief to ensure that it reflects what is current.
However, for some Soldiers this is a wakeup call and an end to an era. Many of us already know our records may have some infractions that may have occurred over the years, such as a senior NCO driving under the influence, that will land us on the chopping block.
We have to understand and accept some of our previous mishaps may come back to haunt us and no longer allowing us to serve our country If this is the case, then please start preparing now for a life outside the Army.
You have served your country well, but the Army is moving in another direction and it needs a strong force to survive.