Beginning with the new year’s first enlisted promotion lists, the Army will vastly expand temporary promotions for all noncommissioned officer ranks.
Backlogs at required professional military education courses and issues with properly prioritizing training slots there led the Army to temporarily waive PME requirements for promotion, Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston explained in November.
Soldiers must have fulfilled all other promotion requirements in order to pin on their next rank.
Active duty soldiers will have a year to complete their PME after accepting a temporary promotion, or else they will revert to their previously held rank.
Decentralized promotions — sergeant and staff sergeant — will require soldiers to pass their unit selection board and have the required promotion points as set by Human Resources Command.
For master sergeant and sergeant first class, the service will select NCOs for promotion from their respective order of merit list for their military occupational specialty, regardless of their PME completion.
The Army first realized in October that it may need temporary promotions, but it took a couple rounds of review to grasp the scope of the issue.
The problem came to light, Grinston explained, when the Army noticed it was passing over a significant number of soldiers high up on the master sergeant order of merit list because they hadn’t done the Master Leader Course.
HRC had inadvertently used a seniority-based list to assign those seats, which are centrally-managed.
At the Association of the U.S. Army conference in October, Grinston promised “to do a quick deep-dive to see are there any other issues [and] make sure we get those right.”
That expanded review revealed the need to expand temporary promotions to all ranks.
In November, Grinston said the service is looking at how it can either increase school capacity or otherwise refine promotion rates to prevent pre-PME promotions from once again becoming the norm.
“Our goal is still to select, train, and then educate and promote,” Grinston said. “The whole reason why we have this policy is that we wanted NCOs to have the education and the training for the job they are doing right now.”
The Army will decide in September 2022 whether it will extend the temporary promotions into 2023.
Davis Winkie is a senior reporter covering the Army, specializing in accountability reporting, personnel issues and military justice. He joined Military Times in 2020. Davis studied history at Vanderbilt University and UNC-Chapel Hill, writing a master's thesis about how the Cold War-era Defense Department influenced Hollywood's WWII movies.