Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler III speaks to Soldiers Nov. 15, 2011, about what it means to be a professional during the Army Profession Junior Leader Forum at Fort Sill, Okla. Photo
by Marie Berberea
FORT MEADE, Md. (Army News Service, Jan. 23, 2012) -- The past 10
years of war assured many Soldiers an assignment or promotion with a
high degree of certainty, said an official with the Promotions
branch. That's no longer necessarily the case.
"It has always
been in the Soldier's best interest to ensure his or her personnel
file is up to date. But as history tends to repeat itself and the
Army scales back its force structure, having an accurate, updated
and complete service record is now more important than ever," said
Gerald Mayer, chief of DA Promotions Branch.
Soldiers need to
know how to present themselves to the board in the most positive and
professional manner, Mayer said.
All Soldiers need to be on
top of their personnel file at any given time because not only is
the file looked at for promotion boards, but it's also looked at for
assignments as well, he said.
"If it's not kept current to where you feel that you're
being best represented, then you might fall short
somewhere," Mayer said.
The U.S. Army Human Resources Command, Department of the Army
Secretariat convenes about 80 selection boards each year, for
promotions, command assignments, professional development and
schools for officers, warrant officers, and senior noncommissioned
But if a Soldier doesn't do his or her due
diligence, "the assignment that you want could go to someone else or
you could not get promoted," Mayer said.
The Army will
continue to promote its most qualified and experienced officers and
noncommissioned officers based on potential and performance, he
said. But he added this also means that boards will only select the
best qualified out of the field of fully qualified Soldiers.
"The Army recommends that every Soldier, at a minimum, should
maintain contact with their branch manager; check their DA photo,
with emphasis on the proper wear and placement of the awards and to
ensure that the data matches their officer records brief or enlisted
records brief, and what's filed in their Official Personnel
Management File, or OPMF, which is their electronic record
depository," said Randy Gillespie, chief of the Officer Promotions
Gillespie added that everyone should:
ensure that their assignment data on the ORB/ERB is accurate
-- ensure that all awards and badges are properly annotated on their
ORB/ERB and filed in the OMPF
-- confirm that all evaluations
are properly posted in their OMPF and that SSN, height/weight data,
and duty title/description are correct
-- review and certify
their "My Board File" promotion information is correct
don't fall short and think that if you don't put any emphasis on
your personnel file, which is kind of your resume and kind of your
handshake to whomever is looking at your file, because if it's not
up to date, this could send the message that you're not diligent
enough, or that you don't care what's happening to you in your
career. After all, this is a profession of arms, and it doesn't
speak highly of an individual if he or she presents themselves in a
way that is unprofessional or fails to show due diligence,"
Prior to a promotion board, DA Promotions
Branch publishes a military personnel or MILPER message that gives
Soldiers guidelines on what they should do to ensure they are
portraying themselves in the most favorable light.
Soldier takes the time to read the correspondence sent to them, they
are told exactly what to do and how to do it, and who may help them.
There's no guess work in this process," Mayer said.
Soldier, said Gillespie, should have the habit of updating their
records as they change. This makes sure they go down the right path
to get the right evaluation to ultimately show how they rate against
"It's not how you stack up against the Army
standards, it's how you rate against your peers because most boards
have a maximum selection objective that restricts the number to be
recommended for promotion based upon the needs of the Army,"
Gillespie explained. "If there's 100 people on that board and the
Army can only promote 80, even though they may all be top-notch
Soldiers, it's how they rank among themselves provided that they are
all fully qualified."
The Army, Mayer said, is an
organization that truly cares about its people, but it also knows
that not all Soldiers can be promoted. There's not that much room at
"So we don't want anyone to fall short and think
something is happening or there's an expectation when there's not.
Promotion is not a right or an entitlement. It must be earned," he
A Soldier, he said, may say he did all that's required.
"OK, you did all that's required, but how well did you do
it?" Mayer said. "Therein lies your efficiency report that talks to
a Soldier's potential for advancement to the next higher rank."
"So we're just trying to alert Soldiers that (their) record
could be looked at for just about anything, so just keep it up to
date and make sure there's a validating document to support whatever
entry is in (the) file," Mayer said.
and supervisors can assist by monitoring preparation efforts and
reviewing ORB/ERB, OMPFs, and DA photos prior to the board-convening
date. The boards will require complete record evaluations as
outlined in their respective MILPER Messages.
At a minimum,
these senior leaders should ensure that their officers have an
official DA photo on file, along with completed evaluations that are
processed by the established cut-off dates with emphasis on clear,
concise, quantified narrative comments that leave no doubts as to
where these Soldiers stand against their respective peers, Mayers
Finally, he said all Soldiers should view the detailed
Department of the Army Secretariat video on the actual promotion
board process to maximize success at DA boards and for their own
professional development. This video is available at https://www.hrc.army.mil/promotions.
By Rob McIlvaine
Army News Service
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