Leadership: June 15, 2002


The Army is taking steps to get soldiers promoted faster to fill the gaps in the junior NCO ranks. It is debatable if the new junior sergeants are as good as the one who left the service five or six years ago at the height of the "NCO flight". Automatic promotion to Specialist (E-4) now comes at 24 months of service instead of 26 (unless a commander blocks it). Outstanding E-3s (Privates First Class) can be promoted at 18 months; up to 27% of E-4s in a given unit can be these "early waivers". Those E-4s (specialists and corporals) with only six months left in their enlistments could not be promoted to buck sergeant (E-5) until new changes, which now allow such promotions. This encourages some people to re-enlist, and lets a unit put people ready to lead into leadership positions, even if only for a few months. Soldiers leaving active service but going into Reserve or Guard units can keep the stripes (assuming they complete the Primary Leadership Development Course before, or within 12 months of, being promoted). Soldiers in various different career fields used to get different numbers of promotion points for completing their Basic NCO courses, but new rules provide an equal number of points for BNCOC.--Stephen V Cole


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