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Selection stats generated by the 2012 Army Competitive Category colonel board show improvement over last year but still are well below the record-setting promotion rates of the past decade.
The 2012 ACC colonel nomination list, which is pending Senate confirmation, contains 518 names,sorted under the three functional categories of Maneuver, Fires and Effects, Operations Support and Force Sustainment.
A review of the selection stats shows that 377 officers, or 37.7 percent of the 998 lieutenant colonels in the primary zone, were recommended for promotion.
That compares with a PZ rate of 36.4 percent in 2011, and the record rates of 59 percent to 61 percent during 2005-07, when the Army increased end strength.
This year's colonel board selected 50 officers from below the zone, which accounted for 9.6 percent of selections, noticeably higher than the 4.6 percent rate in 2011, and above the average of 7.5 percent for 2001 to 2011.
The above-zone select rate was 7.4 percent, with 91 of the 1,226 AZ candidates recommended for advancement, an increase over the rate of 4.1 percent in 2011.
Statistics from the 2012 board also show a noticeable increase in selection opportunity, a term used in the Defense Officer Personnel Management Act to track promotion flow in the military services.
Selection opportunity is calculated by dividing the number of primary-zone candidates by the total number of above-zone, primary-zone and below-zone officers selected by a board.
From 2001 to 2011, selection opportunity for advancement to colonel in the Army Competitive Category averaged 64 percent, while the select rate for officers in the primary zone averaged 54 percent.
Selection opportunity for colonel began tightening in 2011, when the rate dropped from 58 percent to 39.9 percent.
Overall selection opportunity this year was 51.9 percent, which is slightly above the DOPMA standard of 50 percent, and more in line with rates seen before the Afghanistan and Iraq wars.
The objective DOPMA rates for the other officer ranks are 70 percent for lieutenant colonel, 80 percent for major and 90 percent for captain.
DOPMA rates generated by this year's boards are 94.8 percent for lieutenant colonel, 99.1 percent for major and 92.6 percent for captain.
Early this year, Gen. Raymond Odierno, Army chief of staff, told senior leaders that the Army would return to the selection opportunity levels that were in place before Sept. 11, 2001.