Posted on Nov 28, 2013
MSG Sr Maintenance Supervisor
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Are promotion boards a fair promotion potential predictor? Does memorizing a bunch of questions or confidently answering questions (right or wrong) determine a great leader? Do you agree with this traditional system or what would you recommend be better for promotion to SGT and SSG?
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SSG Maintenance Supervisor
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I think that the Army needs to move to a job knowledge test.
That encompasses skills needed for MOS and also pay grade.



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SPC Signal Support Systems Maintainer
SPC (Join to see)
9 y
At one time the Army did have a skills test included in the points system. It had 100 questions on general military knowledge and 100 MOS related on it (the 200 missing points in the system). In the early 1990s there was an outcry because of the issue with some technical MOSs having multiple systems that some Soldiers had never worked on or even heard of. The Army's response was to just drop it completely, first for E-5 then soon after for E-6 promotions.
Since then we now have a little thing called the internet that allows those actually interested in their field to stay informed and up to date. I agree that it is past time to add a test to ensure those getting promoted actually know what they are doing.
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LTC Instructor
LTC (Join to see)
9 y
CSM Maynard, great comment! I don't know your background, but I did want to ask what you think of involving practical exercises in promotion boards. If NCO promotion boards are about leadership, and I agree that they are, then do you believe that previous NCOERs sufficiently demonstrate the leadership qualities of the candidates? Does the recommendation of the chain of command sufficiently show leadership proficiency?

I'm very interested to see how the NCO field receives this. 
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CSM Mike Maynard
CSM Mike Maynard
9 y
MAJ Kile - Practical Exercises are great!

In fact, at our last promotion board, one of my 1SGs pulled out an M16 Zero card with 6 shots and asked the candidate - your the coach, now what? Great way to determine if a Soldier knows the basics on what constitutes a "good" shot group and how to determine adjustments.

It's those kind of Practical Exercises that help boards determine whether a Soldier is ready to lead Soldiers.

As to your second question - no doubt, the NCOERs are "helpful", but are not sufficient in determining potential to lead NCOs. That's what we're asking SSGs to do - lead/train NCOs and also to graduate from leading individuals to leading teams/sections.


So, I believe it's necessary to have them appear before a board to determine if they are ready for that next level.
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SGT Michael McMahon
SGT Michael McMahon
9 y
No, the boards does not, as it can be the old who you know situation.  I think that there needs to be a combination of factors to determine the promotability of an individual. Tactical knowledge, technical knowledge, general knowledge, and investing in bettering one self educationally, but I have seen individuals not being sent to the board, who were more than qualified, while others, who were lesser qualified being sent, because of who they knew or who they go to "the club" with.  There needs to be a means to ensure that everyone has a fair chance to get promoted, as I would rather see someone who is taking college courses in their off duty time go to the board, rather than those who do nothing but be a brownie.
 
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CW3 Air Ambulance Pilot
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There's something to be said for scenario based evaluations. Take all your "promotables" and give them a team/squad/platoon and a series of tasks to lead the group through. Throw in some obstacles along the way to see how quickly and effectively they react. This can be MOS specific; gun-crew for the 13Bs, a convoy for the 88Ms, etc...  The non-MOS specific stuff can be evaluated pretty easily. "Private Snuffy" comes in and says "My wife cleaned out the bank account and took off with the neighbor's cousin. I'm broke, Sergeant! What do I do?!?"  See if this prospective NCO has any idea how to take care of that Soldier; Finance Office, Legal, AER, etc...
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SSG Home Mechanic
SSG (Join to see)
9 y
Chief, that is what i'm talking about right there. There are ALOT of NCO's in the Army now who don't know what to do with an issue like that; let alone a junior Soldier. Alot of the comments posted here are right, some Soldiers are book works and can spit out the answer, while others, as soon as the door closes might get 6 correct. Study for a test and see if you get a high score for the next rank? Ok, How meny, type, t-f, multipul choice questions? "My mother opened a bank account in my name and credit cards while we were deployed Sergeant! What do I do?" Chief, it might be a can of worms here, BUT, thats what an NCO needs to know! Thanks for bringing that one to light.
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CPT Sccc Student
CPT (Join to see)
9 y
Has anyone participated in the Field Leader's Reaction Course?  This is where a Soldier is given a small team of Soldiers 5-6, some basic items like a 50 gal drum and two 2x6 boards, and told to accomplish a basic mission with a limited amount of time.  Great opportunities to evaluate someone's leadership abiliity
   Another method would be a scenario training exercise leading a team or squad of Soldiers to accomplish a mission.  
  It is not so much it they accomplish X in X time but how they handle themselves and lead others during that stress test. 

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SFC Christopher Walker, MAOM, DSL
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Promotion boards are fair if they are used correctly. A Soldier is sent to the promotion board based off his/her chain of command recommendation. If the the COC believes that the Soldier has the potential for more responsibility at the next grade, then going to the board is valid. My issue isn't the board, it's some of the lazy COCs that send every single Soldier that are eligible by time in service regardless of their potential. Promotions start with proper counseling. Every Soldier should receive a counseling every month based on their promotion potential. Also, it should have details on how to improve or overcome their setbacks. 
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SFC Platoon Sergeant
SFC (Join to see)
9 y
SFC Walker, I couldn't agree more. I honestly cannot even tell you how many times (in multiple units) I have heard from the CoC, "I need 2 Soldiers from 'x' Platoon and one from 'y' Platoon to go to the promotion board". Never mind that there are only 2 SGTs and 3 SPCs in the entire Company, and never mind that these 5 individuals are not prepared for promotion... for whatever reason (too new to their current position, disciplinary problems just shy of UCMJ, etc...). But we get forced to send them anyway.
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CSM Mike Maynard
CSM Mike Maynard
9 y
SSG Davis, that is absolutely sad and wrong. I rely entirely on the NCO Chain recommendations.

I could care less how many are there and I would never direct anyone to send someone to the board - unless it's AIL, they should appear before a board if you are going to recommend then.

But, if I was to start to see a trend where none of my eligibles were being recommended, then I'd start to wonder about the leadership.

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SFC Platoon Sergeant
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9 y
and understandably so CSM. It has, at some times, been obvious (ETS short-timer attitude...) , but at others it takes looking into those counseling statements. When the CoC requires a monthly performance counseling AND a promotion counseling, it should be easy to spot the problem, whether it's the Soldier, or the leader.
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SFC Stephen Carden
SFC Stephen Carden
>1 y
I was forced to take a SGT to the promotion board for consideration for promotion to SSG that I did not think was ready. I counseled her monthly, and I counseled her to explain why I did not think she was ready. The 1SG called me in to his office to find out why I wouldn't recommend her, and I showed him the paperwork. He overruled me and made me take her. When the CSM asked me, as her sponsor, why I thought she would make a good SSG, I told her that I didn't think she was ready yet. The CSM asked me why she was even there, and I told her that I was ordered to send her to the board over my objections. The CSM and the rest of the board members (my 1SG was not sitting on the board) concurred with me by the end of the board. She did not get recommended for promotion. Bottom line: if a 1SG trusts his subordinate leaders, and the counselings have been done, then trust their recommendations for who should go to the board and who shouldn't!
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