Military Benefits

Army officers, warrants face additional screening before promotion

All Army officers and warrant officers seeking promotion to the ranks of colonel and below will now undergo additional screening before they can advance to the next higher grade.

According to a new directive signed by Army Secretary Eric Fanning, the Army will start screening selection lists for all officer and warrant officer ranks from colonel and below for "adverse and reportable information."

In the past, this screening was conducted primarily only for personnel who qualified for command selection lists and nominative positions.

The new policy expands that to all centralized promotion boards and establishes a similar process for decentralized promotions to first lieutenant and chief warrant officer two.

This will "enhance the Army's process to certify exemplary conduct and promote leaders of the highest quality," said Paul Prince, an Army spokesman.

The move will also build "greater confidence and trust" in the Army's promotion system and in Army leaders, he said.

"Previously, the Army did not systematically screen all officers recommended for promotion or federal recognition for adverse or reportable information prior to nomination or confirmation," Prince said. "Consequently, some officers confirmed by the Senate were not discovered to have adverse or reportable information until just prior to appointment."

The post-board screenings will include, but is not limited to, information filed at Army Criminal Investigation Command, the Army Inspector General, and the restricted portion of the Army Military Human Resource Record, according to the directive, Army Directive 2016-26.

Examples of adverse information include sexual assault-related offenses, domestic assault or child abuse, driving under the influence, a positive urinalysis, a pattern of misconduct, ongoing investigations or cases under review by agencies such as CID or the inspector general, or a flag on the officer's file.

What happens to an officer or warrant officer who is found to have adverse information and is then removed from a selection list will vary, Prince said.

"Each soldier's case is unique due to a variety of reasons, and, as such, each case would be reviewed on its individual merit," he said. "Additionally, not all cases where soldiers are removed from a promotion list will result in immediate separation."

However, officers who are not recommended for promotion to first lieutenant or chief warrant officer two, or who are disapproved for promotion to those ranks by the Army secretary, have 180 days to separate from the Army, Prince said.

In light of this new directive, Army leaders and soldiers are "encouraged to continue the practice of reviewing their personal records well in advance of promotion boards," Prince said. "By doing this, individuals with adverse or reportable information in their records may be able to mitigate unjustifiable information through the Army Review Board Agency process."

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