Army to revise promotion point system for some NCOs
WIESBADEN, Germany — The Army will revise its enlisted promotion point system June 1, overhauling the criteria that determine promotions to the ranks of sergeant and staff sergeant.
Changes include the elimination of commander’s and promotion board points, and the addition of points for deployments. Points will also be distributed differently for promotions to sergeant than for staff sergeant.
Other major changes include the awarding of two points for each month a soldier is deployed (30-point maximum for promotions to sergeant and a 60 point maximum for staff sergeant) and the elimination of points for professional development correspondence subcourses. Soldiers will only receive points for completing an entire course.
Points calculated for promotion to sergeant will focus on soldier skills such as rifle marksmanship and the physical fitness test, while those for staff sergeant will emphasize leadership, with a point scale weighed more for awards and education.
For example, under the current policy, troops looking to be promoted to sergeant can receive a maximum of 100 points for military training. Under the revised system, up to 340 and 255 points can be awarded for proposed sergeant and staff sergeant, respectively.
The 800-point format will still be used, but gone are the maximum of 150 commander’s points and the 150 possible promotion board points. Soldiers will still need their commander’s recommendation to be promoted, and must still attend a promotion board.
Almost 90 percent of soldiers had been receiving the maximum number of commander’s points under the current system and more than 65 percent received more than 145 promotion board points.
“The commander’s points weren’t being used properly,” said Sgt. Maj. Debra Sturdivant, chief of enlisted promotions with the U.S. Army Human Resources Command.
One Wiesbaden-based soldier applauded the elimination of the commander’s points, which, he said, in some cases were given by a commander who may have had little contact with a soldier.
“Right now, the points are in the commander’s hands, when it should be in the soldier’s hands,” said Sgt. Angelo Eury with the 1st Armored Division’s Special Troops Battalion.
There isn’t a grandfather clause for the new system, so correspondence subcourse points, as well as commander’s and promotion board points, will be taken away.
Sturdivant said a new automated point calculation system will go online May 2, but that soldiers shouldn’t wait to update their Enlisted Record Brief — or ERB — and training records through the Army Training Requirements and Resources System.
Army officials say the new system also will reduce the workload of administrative personnel and allow soldiers to better monitor their own status.
Sgt. 1st Class Damon McKenzie with the 102nd Signal Battalion in Wiesbaden has taught classes about the change to junior enlisted troops and said they show concern about the revisions.
“A majority feel like they’re going to lose points … they feel they were close, [but] now they’re taking two steps back,” McKenzie said.
He added that many troops hear talks of pay freezes coupled with the recent announcement of revised retention control points, and they think they’re all tied together.
Sturdivant conceded that a majority of troops will lose points with the changes, but she said the cut-off scores will also lower, meaning the same number of soldiers should get promoted each month.
Reed Foster, an analyst with Jane’s security and defense, said the changes make it more of an individual-based promotion program.
“They want higher-quality soldiers. They’re making sure their message of what they’re looking for is communicated,” said Foster.
McKenzie said it will probably take two to three years to judge the effects of the revisions, but in the end he thinks it will be better for the Army.
“I think the end result,” McKenzie said, “is qualified soldiers getting promoted.”