Big change in Army officer promotions

There was a time when having adverse information in a restricted folder in the official record meant something in terms of lasting effect of that information.

Over time that changed if the officer was selected for promotion. A post-selection screen was then made of everything before forwarding the officer’s name for promotion.


Army officer promotion boards will be provided more adverse information when considering leaders for promotion starting this month, according to the Army’s director of military personnel management.

The new, standardized rule aligns with Department of Defense Instruction 1320.14, which was updated to comply with the fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, or NDAA.

According to Maj. Gen. Douglas Stitt, the update is a change in sequence for the Army more than anything else, because it will allow promotion boards to have access to restricted files earlier in the decision making process. The latest DOD guidance, which became effective in December, required every military branch to make the change.

Prior to this, “we screened officers and warrant officers after promotion boards to ensure the ones selected met the standards of exemplary conduct for the secretary of the Army to certify them forward to our elected officials,” Stitt said.

In the past, promotion boards were only provided the information in an officer’s performance folder. Promotion boards will now be able to see almost all substantiated adverse information to include anything currently filed as restricted in an officer’s human resource record.

This make it even more important to make efforts in the investigative or decision-making stage when actions are taken on allegations of misconduct or poor performance. A whiff of trouble may lose a promotion.

The Army, as the other Services continue the zero-defect approach to leadership.

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