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Faster drawdown spurs new QMPs, early-outs for NCOs

Nov. 9, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
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The Army's newest NCO
Soldiers who stay in uniform during and after the drawdown will find the Army has revised their career timeline for making the next rank. (Sgt. Rex Tran/Army)
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Retention Control Points

Pending changes to retention control points will eliminate the extended periods of active service authorized for specialists, corporals and sergeants who are on sergeant and staff sergeant selection lists and in promotable status. Retention control points, which set maximum service limits for enlisted soldiers, as of Jan. 1:

Rank Total Yrs. Service*
Pvt/Pfc 5
Spc/Cpl 8
Sgt 14
Staff Sgt 20
Staff Sgt (P) 26
Sgt 1st Class26
Sgt 1st Class (P) 29
Master Sgt29
Master Sgt (P) 32
Sgt Maj/CSM 32
*Note: The new RCP alignment will be included in an upcoming change to Army Regulation 601-280 (Army Retention). Soldiers who exceed the new RCPs will be grandfathered and allowed to complete their current terms of service.

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Under a policy designed to keep soldiers with the greatest potential for future service, Qualitative Service Program screenings will now include certain documents in the “restricted” folder of a noncommissioned officer’s personnel file.

QSP screenings are conducted in conjunction with senior NCO promotion boards, and are targeted at soldiers in overstrength specialties and specialties with promotion stagnation.

New drawdown programs include:

■QSP screenings for sergeants first class. The new policy will apply to sergeants first class in the QSP zone of consideration for the Regular Army and Active Guard and Reserve (Army Reserve) master sergeants boards that convene Dec. 3 and Dec. 4, respectively. These boards previously were slated to convene Oct. 22 but were rescheduled because of the government shutdown in early October.

Under the new policy, “all QSP boards will be provided with within-grade information that is accurate, relevant and complete from the restricted folder within the Army Military Human Resources Record,” or official personnel file, according to information provided by the Office of the G-1.

Items in the restricted folder that now will be provided to QSP boards include Article 15s and other Uniform Code of Military Justice actions that have not been set aside; Department of the Army Suitability Board filings of unfavorable information; and punitive or administrative letters of reprimand, admonition or censure.

G-1 officials also said the Army is considering several changes to the Qualitative Management Program to reinforce the notion that performance, conduct and/or potential for promotion will, as determined by a central board, be denied continued service.

Under current policy, retirement-eligible senior NCOs sergeants first class and above are referred to a QMP board when derogatory information is placed in their AMHRR.

■QMP screenings for staff sergeants. A plan is being proposed to expand QMP eligibility to all staff sergeants and above, including soldiers who have fewer than 20 years of service and are not eligible for retirement.

“Because commanders do not have access to the AMHRR, past matters of indiscipline or (poor) performance that occurred during a previous assignment or under a different commander, are not taken into consideration when new instances occur,” according to information provided by the Office of the G-1.

“This lack of visibility may inadvertently result in retention of NCOs whose conduct or performance is inconsistent with the profession of arms, and an expansion of QMP may prove to address that issue,” a G-1 official said.

Other potential changes to QMP include a plan to deny continued service to staff sergeants and sergeants first class who fail to qualify for continued promotion eligibility by completing the requisite NCO Education System courses for their grade.

Under the new NCO leader development timeline that will be implemented in 2014 and 2015, soldiers are given a 48-month period to prepare themselves for promotion consideration. The expectation is that staff sergeants will complete the Advanced Leaders Course and sergeants first class the Senior Leaders Course within that time frame, personnel officials said.

Those who fail to complete their respective course in time would be subject to denial of continued service under the proposal.

Included in the QMP proposals is a policy change that will prompt a QMP screening when derogatory information is placed in the performance folder or the restricted folder of the official personnel file.

■Early-outs for some soldiers. The Army also is considering a policy that would authorize early-outs of up to one year for certain soldiers assigned to the brigade combat teams and other units that are being inactivated because of the drawdown.

These early-outs would be made under the Enlisted Involuntary Early Separation Program, established last year.

As units inactivate during the drawdown, some soldiers will not have sufficient time remaining on their enlistment contracts to be eligible for reassignment.

To deal with such cases, the Army is looking at possibly expanding the Enlisted Involuntary Early Separation Program to include soldiers in inactivating units, according to information provided by personnel officials.

If approved, soldiers would be offered the opportunity to re-enlist or extend. Those who do not would be subject to involuntary early separation, in that they will not be required to complete their enlistments.

In addition to the involuntary program, the Army is considering implementing a separate voluntary program for soldiers who decline to re-enlist or extend by authorizing early-outs of up to 90 days for the express purpose of accepting employment.

“The intent would be to offer early separation in support of the Army Transition Assistance Program where [an early-out] would facilitate acceptance of a full-time position, and a delay would cause a hardship,” said a G-1 official.

No decisions have been made on this proposal, officials said.■

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