Soldiers must complete school before promotion

| August 21, 2015 | 0 Comments

Todd Lopez, Army News Service

WASHINGTON — Soldiers will no longer be promoted without first having successfully completed related professional military education courses, according to a recently signed Army Directive.

Soldiers will need to complete their schooling before they are allowed their new stripes.

Soldiers will no longer be promoted without first having successfully completed related professional military education courses, according to a recently-signed Army directive. (Photo courtesy of Army News Service)

Soldiers will no longer be promoted without first having
successfully completed related professional military
education courses, according to a recently-signed Army
directive. (Photo courtesy of Army News Service)

“By linking structured self-development and the NCO Education System to subsequent promotion, we better prepare NCOs for the complexities of today’s operational environment while reinforcing the benefits of a deliberate, continuous, sequential and progressive professional development strategy,” wrote Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh in Army Directive 2015-31, which was released Aug. 13.

Beginning with the January 2016 promotion month, pinning on the sergeant will require that Soldiers have first completed the “Warrior Leader Course.” For Soldiers who want to pin on staff sergeant rank, they must first have completed the “Advanced Leader Course.”

“Soldiers on the recommended list who are not graduates of the respective course will not be considered fully qualified for promotion pin-on, regardless of their accumulated promotion points,” the directive reads. “These Soldiers will remain on the recommended list in a promotable status, but they will not be selected for promotion pin-on until they become fully qualified by completing the required course, and a promotion requirement exists.”

Soldiers expecting to pin on sergeant first class as a result of a fiscal year 2016 selection board must first complete the “Senior Leader Course” before pinning on their new rank.

“Conditions are set so we can enforce a standard and a requirement for Soldiers to complete professional military education – that is the NCOES platform – before promotion to the grade in which it was designed to support,” said Gerald J. Purcell, personnel policy integrator within the Army G-1.

Purcell said that a Soldier who is otherwise qualified to be promoted from corporal or specialist to sergeant will be on the promotion list. But when that Soldier’s name is next to fill an Army promotion requirement, if that Soldier is found to have not completed PME – for a specialist seeking sergeant, this means Warrior Leader Course – then the Soldier will be passed up for that promotion.

“There will be a filter in place that takes their name off the list of fully-qualified names,” Purcell said. “They will get skipped. Even if they have more promotion points, they will not be considered to be fully-qualified to pin the grade of sergeant on.”

The Soldier who is skipped for promotion due to a lack of PME still stays on the promotion list. But once that Soldier gets the PME, he or she doesn’t automatically get stripes. Instead, that Soldier will be eligible to be promoted against a future requirement.

Since the 1980s, Purcell said, the Army has allowed “conditional promotions,” where Soldiers could get their stripes without having had the corresponding professional military education.

“We had NCOs walking around who weren’t school-trained, but they had to get it done or they were going to be reduced,” he said. “We are in a scenario now where the leadership believes there is an ability to ensure the Soldier has opportunity to go to training, complete the training and have all of the fundamental skills in place before they are asked to perform at the next higher grade.”

With the new PME requirement, a Soldier’s stripes will not just be an indicator of rank or pay; it will be an indicator that the Soldier has been trained as a leader, Purcell said.

“When you see a Soldier wearing a sergeant rank, you know that Soldier is going to have been trained formally through an education system to prepare him and give him the tools to succeed at that grade,” Purcell said. “So the Soldier is going to have all the tools in their kit bag to fully succeed at their grade.”

The new policy also similarly affects National Guard Soldiers. Additionally, the directive makes changes to the retention control point for active duty and Army Reserve Soldiers.

According to the regulation, effective Oct. 1, Soldiers selected for promotion to sergeant first class and master sergeant will not get an extended retention control point until they actually pin on their higher rank.

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Category: Army News Service, Leadership, News, Training

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