Army officer promotion regulations

Written by liz frazier
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Army officer promotion regulations
Army promotion boards determine which officers are able to advance in their military careers. (Patriotic Statue image by La de Boheme from

The Army officer promotion process is regulated by the document AR 600-8-29. "AR" stands for "Army Regulation." AR 600-8-29 specifies, among other things, the policies for convening and conducting a promotion board. Promotion boards determine which officers get to advance and therefore it is the heart of the process. Information regarding promotion selection boards, in particular, are found under Section Four of AR 600-8-29.

Convening Boards

Second lieutenants are automatically promoted to first lieutenants as long as they have the appropriate time in grade and no disciplinary problems. For promotions to the rank of captain and above, however, a promotion board must be convened. Part 1-30 of Section Four specifies that the orders for convening such a board come from the Secretary of the Army. Officers of the same rank and category compete for available promotions. For example, an infantry captain would not compete for promotion against an infantry major, or a military intelligence captain. Finally, when convening a promotion board, a notice must be issued from the officer of the Secretary of the Army, informing all eligible officers of the date and time of their respective board.

Board Composition

Part 1-31 of Section Four outlines the personnel required to convene a legitimate promotion board. It is crucial that officers are evaluated by Army personnel who fully understand the criteria for promotion. For this reason the regulations stipulate that promotion boards must be made up of at least one officer who is one grade senior to the applicants and in the same competitive category as the applicants. If an infantry captain applies for promotion to major, his promotion board would have to have at least one officer above the rank of captain and one officer also serving in the infantry branch. When assigning officers to the promotion board, the Secretary of the Army designates one of them as president. The president of the board assigns administrative duties to other board members and makes sure the meetings stay on track.

Board Member Conduct

A guide for ethical conducts is spelt out in Part 1-32. Board officers have a duty to evaluate applicants fairly and not exert pressure on other members of the board. They also must keep the board proceeding confidential and be sure not to release the results before the formal announcement.

Promotion Documentation

Part 1-33 lists the documentation authorised to be submitted to the board for evaluations. These papers include Officer Evaluation Reports, academic evaluation reports, and the officer applicant's official military personnel file.

Below the Zone Consideration

Commanding officers may have a subordinate officer that has such outstanding performance, that the commander will want to recommend them for promotion before they have the required number of years at their current rank. This is called "Below the Zone Consideration," or BZC. Part 1-34 states the reasons and requirements for BZC and the percentage of promotions that can come from BZC recommendations--10 to 15 per cent.

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