Army makes big changes to centralized promotion board system (2023)

WASHINGTON -- The Army is revising its centralized promotion board processes to deliver "the right person, at the right job, at the right time," according to Army G-1 officials.

The Army will spend the next three to four years implementing an improved merit-based promotion system, said retired Sgt. Maj. Gerald Purcell, personnel policy integrator for NCO professional development with Army G-1.

The effort centers on a transition from time-based to merit-based policies and practices. Further, the change ensures that the best-qualified Soldier will be the first one eligible for promotion, Purcell said.

Soldiers in the active component and those serving in an Active Guard Reserve capacity will be impacted by the change.

"This is the first major overhaul to our enlisted centralized promotion board in the 50 years we've conducted them," said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Dan Dailey. "We will see a number of benefits with these changes, but the most important one will be the impact to readiness."

"We will retain our most talented NCOs, and better project force structure requirements by promoting the right people at the right time," he added.


Two years ago, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey sought to change the Army's centralized section board process, Purcell said.

"This change now truly rewards the most qualified Soldiers who are seeking advancement instead of simply promoting people based on seniority," Dailey said.

Dating back to 1969, centralization was designed to fill the Army's ranks with qualified Soldiers, provide guidelines for career progression, and attract and retain high-caliber personnel, according to Human Resources Command officials.

Under the current system, HRC could "forecast" the Army's force structure by anticipating the number of Soldiers leaving the force in all grades and career fields -- sometimes 24 months in advance, Purcell added.

(Video) SMA Q&A: Changes to centralized promotions

Long-range projections, however, failed to be an effective means to react to emerging requirements. The Army would have to wait for a new promotion cycle to identify and allocate additional personnel, he said.

Reductions or changes to the Army's force structure would result in a surplus of promotable Soldiers, Purcell added. Under the current system, if a Soldier was in good standing and identified as promotable -- annotated by a "P" status from HRC -- the force was required to promote.

"From a readiness perspective, we are creating a process that reacts to emerging requirements, and it stops us from creating skill and grade imbalances. It produces an environment where there is no promotion stagnation … or we are forced to separate people because they are in excess to requirements," Purcell said.


The original promotion system now generates an order of merit list, or OML, which is used to select Soldiers for promotion. The number of Soldiers promoted relied heavily on the Army's annually-projected force structure rate, Purcell said.

After the Army selected a Soldier for promotion, HRC would assign them a promotion-sequence number. The force would determine this number by a Soldier's seniority -- their time in grade, time in service, and date of birth, Purcell said.

"If the best candidate happens to be sequence No. 400 out of 500, based on time and grade -- that's not rewarding and recognizing talent," he said.

The transition to a new promotion system starts this fiscal year, with the master sergeant promotion board, he added, by changing how sequence numbers are informed by OML standings.

Eventually, under the revised system, the Army will conduct annual reviews of the NCO corps and maintain an OML for each grade and military occupational specialty, Purcell said, adding the OML will no longer be used to generate an annual promotion list.

Instead, the OML will evaluate the force and determine Soldiers who are "fully-qualified" to promote. From there, the Army will employ a merit-based rating system to order the OML sequentially.

"The vast majority of the NCOs are, in fact, fully qualified to promote," Purcell said. "Fully qualified is a retention standard -- it's not about promotion.

"I could have an OML of a thousand individuals, and 990 could be fully qualified," he added. "The promotion demand might be 40. In this case, the best 40 records … would be identified [for] promotion."

In turn, the Army will now be able to manage its talent better, subsequently improving professionalism and leadership development throughout the NCO corps, Purcell said. Further, the Army will use the OML to inform assignment decisions, such as crucial development and career broadening opportunities.

"We are calling this a talent management effort," he said.

(Video) Changes to the Promotion system

Additionally, Soldiers will have access to their OML standing by grade, career progression, and MOS through the Army Career Tracker website, Purcell said. This change should be available in the next few months.

"It will be a private and secure automated link from the Army to the individual, and no one else will have access to it," Purcell said. "Soldiers can go into the Army Career Tracker and can share that information with a mentor or a leader if they so choose, but they're not required."

On the other hand, if Soldiers perform subpar and are unable to become fully qualified in their respected rank, the revised promotion system will provide them with a notice, Purcell said.

The first time a Soldier fails to become fully qualified, HRC will advise him or her that continued service may be at risk, he said.

Once a Soldier is found "not fully qualified" by a board a second time in the same grade, then the Army denies continued service. The Army will establish a mandatory separation, six months into the future.

If a Soldier is eligible for retirement, he or she will be allowed to retire, Purcell said. If ineligible for retirement, the Army will opt to separate the Soldier involuntarily.

This system is slated to be implemented by fiscal year 2021.

"There is a place for everybody in the Army as long as you are performing," he said. "At the point when it is determined that you are not contributing to the team and essentially drawing a paycheck, then we're going to inform you that your service is at risk. If it continues … then we are going to tell you your tenure with the Army is over. This sets conditions to eliminate archaic time-based retention control points."


Slated for fiscal 2021, the Army will post a 90-day promotion forecast for all NCO promotions, from sergeant to sergeant major, and implement a monthly-promotion selection process.

If a Soldier is fully qualified to promote by completing their mandatory professional military education -- and in good standing with the Army -- they can monitor these quarterly-promotion windows through the HRC website. Based on their OML standing, a Soldier can then estimate their date of promotion.

Further, HRC intends to announce the names of all Soldiers selected for promotion on the 15th of each month, with an "effective promotion date" on the first day of the following month, Purcell said. Announcing on the 15th will give Soldiers a two-week notice of their promotion selection.

Likewise, the biggest challenge will stem from the cultural shift created by the revised promotion system.

"In the past, when a Soldier was selected they were considered 'promotable,' assigned a sequence number, and waited to get promoted," he said. "Now, a Soldier's promotion will be based on their OML standing and needs of the Army."

(Video) 6 Tips for Writing a Letter to President of the Army Centralized Promotion Board Free Example Includ


To be eligible for promotion, Soldiers are required to complete the Distributed Leaders Course, Purcell said.

In the past, some Soldiers did not finish the online course before a board convenes. Currently, there is a Department of the Army policy to suspend promotion eligibility for specialists and sergeants who fail to complete this mandatory DLC training, he said.

By fiscal 2021, the Army will expand this policy to all applicable ranks through master sergeant.


Over the next three years, the Army is projected to implement its revised centralized promotion system. Below is a list of milestones the Army hopes to attain:

FY 2019

-- Integrate merit-based promotion sequence numbers for all ranks.

-- Use the OML to inform command sergeant major and sergeant major eligibility and slating.

-- Under Army Career Tracker, NCOs will be able to access their OML standing.

FY 2020

-- Use the OML to assist with assignment and training decisions.

-- Identify NCOs not fully qualified and notify them their continued service is at risk.

-- Under Army Career Tracker, Soldiers receive board OML feedback and OML ranking.

(Video) SMA Dan Dailey - Enlisted Centralized Promotion Board Policy Discussion (2019) 🇺🇸

FY 2021

-- Revise all policies, eliminating the use of "P" status for all NCO ranks E-6 and above.

-- HRC starts posting 90-day promotion forecast for NCO promotions.

-- Army moves away from annual promotion selection system and implements monthly promotion selection process for all NCO ranks.

-- Separation process started for Soldiers who fail to be "fully qualified" for second time in same grade.

-- With implementation of merit-based promotion system, Army plans to eliminate retention control points.

"If you excel at what you do, we're going to promote you," Purcell said. "Everything is predicated on everybody doing what they're expected to do -- leaders and Soldiers alike. We're trying to create an environment to facilitate all of that."

(For more information, visit the new G-1 website at

Related Links:

New G-1 webpage

Army News Service

Sergeant Major of the Army

STAND-TO! Enlisted Centralized Selection Boards

G-1 Facebook

U.S. Army Human Resources Command

(Video) SITREP: Centralized Promotions


What is the new Army promotion system 2022? ›

With the new Army promotion system 2022, that training and education program has been delayed. Now, an enlisted Soldier in the Army can get promoted now and go through the training and education process while they're already serving in the role. Think of it as a “buy now, pay later” type of deal, but for military jobs.

What is a centralized board Army? ›

The centralized selection boards is designed to improve readiness, leader and professional development of the NCO Corps. This maximizes the greatest potential of the NCOs and enables continuation of service decisions informed by structure requirements and individual performance.

How does the promotion system work in the Army? ›

Military promotions usually require a certain amount of time in service, time in grade, basic educational requirements, a physical fitness score, promotion test scores, performance evaluations, and then military occupational skills.

What is the purpose of the Army promotion Board? ›

A promotion board shall consider all in- or above-zone officers for promotion and shall consist of five or more active duty list officers of higher rank than the officers being considered for promotion. The competitive category of an officer being considered for promotion should be shared by at least one board member.

Can you be a sergeant without BLC? ›

(6) Soldiers promoted to SGT/SSG under this chapter, who have not completed BLC/ALC (as appropriate), do not require a waiver. However, the promotion is contingent on completion of BLC/ALC (as appropriate), within the time frame established in paragraph 1–28e.

Can you be promoted to SGT without BLC? ›

To SGT must graduate the Basic Leader Course (BLC) before they are eligible for consideration for promotion pin-on to SGT, IAW AR 600-8-19, paragraph 1-29 a (2). f.

Is the Army centralized or decentralized? ›

The Army uses a centralized, and the Marine Corps uses a decentralized system. The inherent differences in these two divergent methods may influence the attitudes of Army and Marine officer toward command selection and command selection systems.

What is a centralized board? ›

The centralized selection boards is designed to improve readiness, leader and professional development of the NCO Corps. This maximizes the greatest potential of the NCOs and enables continuation of service decisions informed by structure requirements and individual performance. Resources: U.S. Army G-1.

What is centralized selection list Army? ›

The purpose of the CSL process is to select the best-qualified individuals (COL/GS-15 and LTC/GS-14) for specifically identified acquisition command and acquisition key billet positions to meet the needs of the Army Acquisition Corps (AAC).

How many times can you go to a promotion board on the Army? ›

Answer: There is no limit. The CCDR may recommend Soldiers every month to appear before a promotion board. It's important to understand that the PZ is limited to a one-year period. The Army expects, by the end of the one year period, Soldiers to be integrated onto the PRL/PPRL.

What is the Army semi centralized promotion system? ›

A semi-centralized promotion process means that the unit/company plays a part in the promotion selection process, but it's the Army that decides who gets promoted. There are two promotion processes known as primary zone and secondary zone. Most enlisted are promoted in the primary zone.

Who decides promotions in the Army? ›

Promotion eligibility is determined by the DCS, G-1 and approved by the Secretary of the Army. For centralized promotion, eligibility is based on an officer's active date of rank (ADOR).

What Army regulation covers promotion boards? ›

Record Details for AR 600-8-19
Pub/Form NumberAR 600-8-19
Pub/Form Date05/16/2019
Unit Of Issue(s)EBOOK PDF
Associated AR
13 more rows

What is one of the Army's objectives of the enlisted promotion and reduction system? ›

Army Regulation 600-8-19: Enlisted Promotions and Reductions, helps to explain the ins and outs of all enlisted promotions. The purpose of the promotion system is “to fill authorized enlisted spaces with the best qualified Soldiers.”

Why did the Army get rid of specialist ranks? ›

Elder goes on to explain, "In 1968 when the Army added the rank of command sergeant major, the specialist ranks at E-8 and E-9 were abolished", because they were notional rather than actual.

How long do you have to be e6 to become E7? ›

E6 to E7 Requirements
Promotion to:Time-in-Gradetime-in-service
Sergeant First Class (E7)36 months9 years

How long is Army grade from e6 to E7? ›

There is no minimum time-in-grade (TIG) requirement for promotion to the Army SNCO ranks, but candidates must meet the following minimum time-in-service (TIS) requirements to be eligible for promotion: Sergeant first class (E-7) -- six years. Master sergeant/first sergeant (E-8) -- eight years.

Can an NCO be promoted to officer? ›

Normally, enlisted service members or non-commissioned officers cannot attain commissioned officer rank through regular promotion.

Can a sergeant be promoted to a lieutenant? ›

A promotion may also be accomplished between Detective and Sergeant. Promotion from Sergeant or Detective is to Police Lieutenant; from there on, there is only one promotional ladder. Successive rungs of the promotional ladder are Police Captain, Police Commander, Police Deputy Chief, and Chief of Police.

Can I pick up e5 without BLC? ›

No. You must have completed BLC. In my day (80s) I had to complete Primary NCO, Basic NCO, and Senior NCO courses as I made my way up the ranks.

What is the difference between centralized and decentralized military command? ›

In a purely academic sense, Centralized Command (CC) is maintaining authority over a group while providing direction or giving orders on how to operate or function. Decentralized Execution (DE) is distributing authoritative power to various local authorities, allowing action based on current knowledge.

What is the difference between centralized and Decentralised? ›

In centralized organizations, strategic planning, goal setting, budgeting, and talent deployment are typically conducted by a single, senior leader or leadership team. In contrast, in decentralized organizations, formal decision-making power is distributed across multiple individuals or teams.

What is the difference between Centralised and Decentralised system? ›

Centralization is the systematic and consistent concentration of authority at central points. Unlike, decentralization is the systematic delegation of authority in an organization. Centralization is best for a small sized organization, but the large sized organization should practice decentralization.

How does a centralized organization work? ›

In a centralized organization, decisions are made by a small group of people and then communicated to the lower-level managers. The involvement of only a few people makes the decision-making process more efficient since they can discuss the details of each decision in one meeting.

What is a centralized structure? ›

What is a centralized organizational structure? A centralized organizational structure relies heavily on top-down decision-making. One person or an executive team is responsible for approving all relevant decisions, which they communicate through various levels of management.

What is a Centralised organizational structure? ›

A centralised structure is where business decisions are made at the top of the business or in a head office and distributed down the chain of command .

What is a centralized recruitment? ›

Centralized recruitment

That means one corporate human resources (HR) department has sole decision-making authority regarding recruiting. For organizations with centralized recruitment, this group is exclusively responsible for standardizing and overseeing the whole recruitment and hiring process.

Is the US military centralized? ›

A well-worn adage in the Army is that “one can delegate authority, but never responsibility.” Though U.S. Army planning is largely centralized, with ample input from senior NCOs, execution is nearly always accomplished in a decentralized manner.

What does Centralisation of recruitment mean? ›

What is centralised recruitment? With centralised recruitment, all staff pass through a central HR office which uses a single hiring system. This means that the recruiters all follow the same procedures and ensures that there is consistency in both the methods and values applied to decisions.

How do Army officers get promoted fast? ›

Gain promotion points, learn new skills, and acquire excellent study habits by taking military correspondence courses and by enrolling in college courses during lunchtime or evening classes, using tuition assistance. Volunteer for the tough jobs in your squad, platoon or detachment. Learn by doing.

What is an 8K bar Army? ›

What is IMREPR code 8K? IMREPR 8K used to identify those Soldiers who have failed to complete their Structured Self Development (SSD) for SPC/CPL and SGTs. HQDA will be releasing a Policy message outlining the Career Counselors responsibilities to inform their Chains of Command.

Can you get promoted to e4 in basic training? ›

TIS and TIG Requirements

You become eligible for promotion to E-4, whether corporal or specialist, when you have spent a full 24 months in the service, and have been a PFC for at least six months.

What is decentralized promotions? ›

Decentralized promotions are used for Soldiers eligible for grades E2-E4. The legacy process consists of a 24-step back-and-forth exchange of paperwork and manual entry of information between commanders and HR professionals, and HR professionals and the finance office.

What is Army Strategic management system? ›

The U.S. Army selected Spider Impact to power the Army Strategic Management System (SMS). SMS provides a framework/methodology and an automated tool to deliver strategic assessment capability and to support the Secretary of the Army and all subordinate organizations and commands.

What is below the zone promotion Army? ›

Below the zone (BTZ) is a competitive early promotion program offered to enlisted U.S. Air Force personnel in the grade of Airman First Class/E-3. This early promotion opportunity is restricted to exceptional Airmen who stand out from their peers and perform duties at a level above their current rank.

How many promotion points for e5? ›

When competing for sergeant, E-5, Soldiers can earn up to 340 promotion points in military training, Uribe-Huitron said, and that includes weapons qualification and the Army Physical Fitness Test. They can earn as many as 125 points for awards and decorations.

Who is in charge of promotions? ›

Promotions managers are responsible for planning and managing campaigns to promote their company's products and services. Promotions can help increase short-term sales and improve the results of other marketing programs.

Can you skip ranks in the military? ›

Is it possible to skip ranks in Army? Not in the modern army. Closest thing to this is enlistment options that allow you to start out at a higher pay grade. This works for both officers and enlisted personnel.

Can I promote to e5 without BLC? ›

No. You must have completed BLC. In my day (80s) I had to complete Primary NCO, Basic NCO, and Senior NCO courses as I made my way up the ranks.

How do I promote from e5 to e6? ›

Army E-5 to E-6 Promotion Points
  1. Opportunities for Army E-5 to E-6 Promotion Points. So, the total promotion points available for soldiers going from E-5 to E-6 is 800. ...
  2. Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) ...
  3. Weapons Qualification. ...
  4. Awards, Decorations, and Achievements. ...
  5. Military Education. ...
  6. Civilian Education.

How long does it take to get promoted to E-4 in the Army? ›

You become eligible for promotion to E-4, whether corporal or specialist, when you have spent a full 24 months in the service, and have been a PFC for at least six months.

Can an E7 be a first sergeant? ›

Sergeant First Class (SFC) is the seventh enlisted rank (E-7) in the U.S. Army, ranking above staff sergeant (E-6) and below master sergeant and first sergeant (E-8), and is the first non-commissioned officer rank designated as a senior non-commissioned officer (SNCO).

How much does a retired E6 make after 20 years? ›

After 20 years in the Army, your pay is $3,310 per month, or $39,726 per year as a basic, three-stripe sergeant. If you've moved up to an E-6 staff sergeant, it's $3,944 per month, or $47,328 per year.

How old is the average E7? ›

Sergeant First Class (E-7) - 32 (join + 13.6 years) Master Sergeant/First Sergeant (E-8) - 35 - (join + 17 years)

Is Army BLC worth promotion points? ›

NCOPDS courses such as the Basic Leader Course (BLC) and Advance Leader Course (ALC) are not eligible for promotion points since completion is a requirement in order to be recommended to E-5 and E-6 respectively.

How many points is BLC worth? ›

Promotion points are received for academic excellence in BLC, however. You can receive 20 promotion points for achieving commandant's list status and 40 promotion points for achieving Distinguished Honor Graduate of the Distinguished Leadership Graduate.

Can the army force you to go to BLC? ›

Discussion. If you are not flagged or otherwise inedible for BLC (example on profile, fail to meet any standard required for BLC). You cannot be stopped from attending BLC.

How much does a 10 year E6 make? ›

Factors That Affect Military Pay

Meanwhile, a more senior enlisted person with a paygrade of E-6, who has more than a decade of service, will earn an estimated $4,171.03 monthly. Officers are paid more.

How long should a soldier be an E-4 to E5? ›

Unit commander nominations indicate a soldier's leadership potential. Highly accomplished specialists can be nominated by their commanding officer for promotion to sergeant, after only four months at the E-4 pay grade, if they have been in the service for 16 months or longer.

Can you make E5 in 4 years? ›

If someone enters the US Army as a specialist, what is theoretically the fastest they could expect to be promoted to Sergeant? The minimum time in service requirements to be promoted from E4 Specialist to E5 Sergeant is 18 months.

How much does SGT first class get paid? ›

The estimated total pay for a Sergeant First Class at US Army is $78,609 per year. This number represents the median, which is the midpoint of the ranges from our proprietary Total Pay Estimate model and based on salaries collected from our users. The estimated base pay is $78,609 per year.

How much does E-4 make a year? ›

Rank<2 Years Experience8 Years Experience
Private First Class(E3)$4,745.79$5,349.96
Specialist or Corporal (E4)$5,257.35$6,382.53
Sergeant (E5)$5,733.63$7,682.85
Staff Sergeant (E6)$6,259.05$8,488.62
2 more rows
Aug 8, 2022

How long can you be an E5 in the army? ›

14 years


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