Armed Forces News

Newly promoted U.S. Army Sgt. Timothy Simmons, left, and Sgt. Nathan Painter, center, have their previous ranks "washed" from them as they salute after a promotion ceremony in Baghdad, July 25, 2009. The two were promoted from specialist to sergeant. They are assigned to the West Virginia Army National Guard's 150th Armored Reconnaissance Squadron, 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team. (Army photo by Spc. Gregory Keys)

The Army is expanding its temporary promotion policy, which allows soldiers between the ranks of sergeant and master sergeant to wear higher ranks and draw pay at those levels for one year while they complete required training. The change takes effect Jan. 1.

Promotions will use the order-of-merit list (OML) to determine which soldiers are promoted first.

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Soldiers who do not complete the professional military education training within one year would revert to their original rank, but would not have to forfeit the pay or allowances they earned at the higher rank.

“Our goal is to develop every leader for promotion. This select, train and educate promote system is still the right way to do that,” said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael A. Grinston.

He added that a number of sergeants first class did not qualify in September for promotion to master sergeant, largely because they were never scheduled for the required professional military education courses.

“We’re also going to increase the slots and authorizations so we can get ahead of the OML so that you will get to school, and we don’t have this issue in the future,” Grinston said.

With the change, Grinston said, soldiers’ records will be examined and a new OML will be published each year. Decisions would be based on both where each soldier is on the OML and the Army’s needs.

“Our goal is to still to select, train, and then educate and promote,” Grinston said. “The whole reason why we have this policy is that we wanted NCOs to have the education and the training for the job they are doing right now.”