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Officials: Predictable promotions crucial despite drawdown

Nov. 17, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
On the road to the south
The Army may cut at least 40,000 soldiers in the active component by 2015, and possibly an additional 70,000 by 2023. (Spc. Zane Craig/Army)
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The Zones

Projected zones of consideration for Army Competitive Category promotion boards:

Above zoneAug. 31, 2009, and earlierAug. 31, 2010, and earlierAug. 31, 2011, and earlier
Promotion zoneSept. 1, 2009-Aug. 31, 2010Sept. 1, 2010-Aug. 31, 2011Sept. 1, 2011-Aug. 31, 2012
Below zoneSept. 1, 2010-Aug. 31, 2011Sept. 1, 2011-Aug. 31, 2012Sept. 1, 2012-Aug. 31, 2013
Lieutenant colonel
AZSept. 30, 2007, and earlierOct. 1, 2008, and earlierAug. 31, 2009, and earlier
PZOct. 1, 2007-Oct. 1, 2008Oct. 2, 2008-Aug. 31, 2009Sept. 1, 2009-May 31, 2010
BZOct. 2, 2008-Aug. 31, 2009June 1, 2010-May 31, 2011
AZJan. 30, 2008, and earlierJan. 29, 2009, and earlierJan. 31, 2010, and earlier
PZJan. 31, 2008-Jan. 29, 2009Jan. 30, 2009-Jan. 31, 2010Feb. 1, 2010-Jan. 31, 2011
BZJan. 30, 2009-Jan. 31, 2010Feb. 1, 2010-Jan. 31, 2011Feb. 1, 2011-Jan. 31, 2012
AZMarch 31, 2012, and earlierMarch 31, 2013, and earlierMarch 31, 2014, and earlier
PZApril 1, 2012-March 31, 2013April 1, 2013-March 31, 2014April 1, 2014-March 31, 2015


While the Army is trimming the force by tens of thousands, predictability for promotion opportunities is a high priority, Pentagon sources said.

Despite calls for cuts of at least 40,000 soldiers in the active component by 2015, and possibly an additional 70,000 by 2023, there is no indication that the Army will suspend or modify annual promotion boards for officers and noncommissioned officers, as has occurred infrequently in the past.

Officer promotions during the coming drawdown years of 2014, 2015 and 2016 will continue to be based on the familiar year-group construct, according to projected zones of consideration for Army Competitive Category advancements to the ranks of captain through colonel.

Pentagon sources say that while force-trimming actions, in the form of involuntary early retirement and separation boards will be used during the coming drawdown, predictable promotion opportunities must be retained, as they are a key ingredient to a quality volunteer force.

For the coming fiscal year, four officer boards are scheduled for the Army Competitive Category beginning with a majors board that convened Nov. 4. Originally slated to begin deliberations Oct. 21, the convening date was delayed two weeks because of the government shutdown.

The promotion zone for the ongoing majors board includes captains with dates of rank of Jan. 31, 2008, through Jan. 29, 2009, a cohort composed primarily of officers in year group 2005. The sequencing for future PZ considerations will move forward one year at a time.

During the coming drawdown, the Army will move the average pin-on point for promotion to major from slightly less than 10 years of service to about 11 years.

Captains who are passed over to O-4 by this board will not be considered for selective continuation, and will be involuntarily separated from active duty.

Under the revised Intermediate Level Education system adopted last year, ACC captains who are recommended for promotion automatically will be considered for attendance at the 10-month resident Command and Staff College Course, or the 14-week satellite ILE course that begins in January 2015.

Fiscal 2014 selections for promotion to lieutenant colonel will be made by a board that meets Jan. 22-Feb. 13. ACC majors with dates of rank in fiscal 2007 will be in the promotion zone. Most of these officers are members of year group 1998.

The below-zone category for this board will include majors with dates of rank of Oct. 2, 2008, through Aug. 31, 2009, a one-month expansion to the previously announced eligibility window. The Army has not indicated if a selective continuation review will be conducted by this board. If a SelCon is authorized, sources said selections would limited to a few officers in priority, understrength specialties.

Most officers selected for promotion by this board can expect to pin-on lieutenant colonel insignia at about 16 years of service.

The 2014 ACC captain board is slated for April 8-29.

The projected promotion zone will include first lieutenants with dates of rank of April 1, 2012, through March 31, 2013. A below-zone category is not authorized, which is typical for captain boards.

Most officers selected by this board can expect to pin on to O-3 at 48 months of service, a standard that is expected to remain in force for the next several years.

ACC promotion selections for fiscal 2014 will round out this spring with the colonel board that meets May 5-22.

The promotion zone will include lieutenant colonels with dates of rank of Sept, 1, 2009, through Aug. 31, 2011.

The below-zone category will include one year group of officers with DORs of Sept. 1, 2010, through Aug. 31, 2011.

The current O-6 pin-on point of 22.1 years of commissioned service is not expected to change during the drawdown.

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