Soldiers can expect a delay in monthly promotion announcements, Human Resources Command officials said recently.
The delay is being created by the coronavirus pandemic, which has already caused some significant shifts in how promotions and reenlistments are being carried out.
“Yes, most likely there will be a slight delay in identifying soldiers for promotion selection and pin-on," reads a frequently asked questions notice circulated by the command recently. "HRC will do their best to accurately identify soldiers for promotion and release that information as quickly as possible.”
The delay in promotions could be caused by the shift to telework, which makes the system work slower, said HRC spokesperson Fonda Bock. But soldiers will still be promoted on the first of every month.
“Currently, Army Human Resources Command is on schedule to post the junior promotion lists and cutoff scores on time for May, and the staff is working diligently to release the senior promotion lists for May by the end of this month,” Bock said.
In late March, the Army announced new reenlistment and promotion policies that will last until Sept. 30. Those policies include short-term reenlistment opportunities, virtual promotion boards, a suspension on military education requirements and extensions to weapons and fitness test qualifications.
Travel restrictions have limited the ability of troops to travel for promotion boards, so the Army already told battalion commanders to conduct virtual personnel boards instead of in-person meetings.
Battalion command sergeants major are also able to determine, instead of physically conducting unit promotion boards, whether a soldier should be placed onto a promotion recommendation list based on one-on-one interactions with an otherwise eligible soldier.
Distance learning is also being conducted for troops in Basic Leader, Master Leader, and Sergeants Major courses, the Army previously announced. Training for the Advanced Leader Course and Senior Leader Course was halted, however, and soldiers who were supposed to attend will have to enrol at a later date.
“During this period of suspension, soldiers are eligible for promotion to the rank of SSG/E6 and SFC/E7 without regards to PME [professional military education] completion, provided they are otherwise fully qualified,” the FAQ document reads. “This temporary suspension of PME does not waive the PME requirement for promotion pin-on to SGT/E5, Master Sergeant/E8, or Sergeant Major/E9. Basic Leaders Course (BLC) and Master Leaders Course (MLC) can be conducted via distance learning."
Army leaders have also suspended the plan to start shift to the new Army Combat Fitness Test as its test of record this October. All ACFT diagnostic tests, which the entire force was supposed to take before it officially rolled out in the fall, were suspended in late March.
All current passing APFT scores have been extended until further notice.
Kyle Rempfer is an editor and reporter whose investigations have covered combat operations, criminal cases, foreign military assistance and training accidents. Before entering journalism, Kyle served in U.S. Air Force Special Tactics and deployed in 2014 to Paktika Province, Afghanistan, and Baghdad, Iraq.