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Tougher screening starts next month

Time running out for staff sgts. to update records

Jan. 20, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
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Tens of thousands of staff sergeants in-zone for February's promotion and retention boards have to act fast.

Tens of thousands of staff sergeants in-zone for February's promotion and retention boards have to act fast.

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Tens of thousands of staff sergeants in-zone for February’s promotion and retention boards have to act fast.

You have until Jan. 24 to submit record updates, corrections and other documents to Human Resources Command. It’s especially important this year that your record be accurate and up-to-date as rules have changed.

The Army has made it more difficult for noncommissioned officers to qualify for a standby advisory board review when documents are missing or inaccurate when reviewed by a regularly scheduled board. With fewer chances to get a standby board, or essentially a second look, failing to get it right the first time puts you at risk of getting the boot.

The rule, established this year, applies to all selection panels, but the upcoming sergeant first class boards are the first to see it in execution. Similar to policies for officers, NCOs must apply “due diligence” in assuring their personnel file, or Army Military Human Resources Record, is accurate when it goes to a selection board.

The Regular Army and Active Guard and Reserve (Army Reserve) sergeant first class promotion and Qualitative Service Program and Qualitative Management Program boards convene Feb. 4 at Fort Knox, Ky.

The SFC boards are the largest of the NCO and officer promotion panels conducted annually by the Army, with some 30,000 active and Reserve staff sergeants competing for sergeant first class chevrons.

Competition is tough, with selections over the past five years averaging 21 percent.

The promotion zone will include staff sergeants who have credit for Structured Self-Development III, and dates of rank of Feb. 5, 2011, and earlier, and basic dates of Feb. 5, 1995, through Feb. 5, 2008.

The SSD-III requirement reflects the new NCO promotion eligibility policies that took effect Jan. 1.

Soldiers who accept promotion to sergeant first class will incur a three-year service obligation. Staff sergeants who want to decline promotion consideration must do so by Jan. 24 using the online My Board File system.

Retention screening

Soldiers in the promotion zone, as well as several thousand other staff sergeants, also will be considered for possible involuntary separation under the QSP and QMP.

QSP boards are held in conjunction with NCO promotion boards and are targeted at soldiers whose primary specialties are overstrength or have promotion stagnation.

The QMP is a process for culling senior NCOs who do not measure up to Army standards, and whose official files contain derogatory information relating to an adverse action, such as letter of reprimand, relief for cause or legal proceeding.

The zone of eligibility for the upcoming QSP boards will include staff sergeants with dates of rank of Feb. 3, 2010, or earlier, and basic active service dates of Feb. 1, 1992, and earlier, and who will not be within one year of their retention control point or expiration of term of service date, whichever is earlier, on Feb. 4.

The zone of eligibility has been adjusted to account for grandfathering the staff sergeant retention control point from 23 years of service to 20 years on June 1, 2011.

Staff sergeants who are in promotable status, and who are on a recommended list for sergeant first class, will not be reviewed by the QSP board, regardless of their military occupational specialty.

Soldiers who meet the criteria for time in service and time in grade, and hold the following specialties, will be included in the QSP review:

Regular Army: All MOSs except 18B (Special Forces weapons sergeant), 18C (SF engineer sergeant), 18D (SF medical sergeant), 18E (SF communications sergeant), 29E (electronic warfare specialist), 35M (human intelligence collector), 35P (cryptologic linguist), 35Q (cryptologic network warfare specialist), 38B (civil affairs), 51C (contracting NCO) and 89D (explosive ordnance disposal specialist).

Active Guard and Reserve: All MOSs except 11C, 12B, 12C, 12H, 12N, 12Y, 15P, 15R, 15U, 15Y, 19K, 25B, 25C, 25F, 25L, 25Q, 25S, 25U, 25V, 27D, 31B, 31D, 31E, 35F, 35L, 35M, 35P, 36B, 37F, 42A, 46Q, 51C, 56M, 68A, 68J, 68K, 68R, 68S, 68W, 68X, 74D, 79R, 79S, 79V, 88H, 88L, 88M, 88N, 89B, 92A, 92F, 92L, 92S, 92W, 92Y, 94D and 94F.

Access to 'restricted files'

Under a new policy that applies to QSP boards that meet in 2014, retention screenings will include certain documents in the “restricted” folder of an NCO’s personnel file. Restricted file documents are not routinely provided to selection boards. 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

■Punitive or administrative letters of reprimand, admonition or censure.

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