Posted on Nov 4, 2014
SGM First Sergeant
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I can’t imagine it’s just my experience with the past few assignments that Soldiers feel they deserve a promotion with a waiver or recommended for a board in the secondary zone. NCOs that believe anything other than a 1/1 among the best NCOER is bad. At what point did we, as an army, stop counseling Soldiers on their performance and providing honest feedback. Do you see NCOs that are afraid to be the “honest broker” they’re supposed to be when writing NCOERs or counseling Soldiers on their promotion potential?

How many times have you seen an NCOER that states something along the lines of “solid performance from an up and coming NCO” or “promote with peers” and the NCOER have 1/1, or 2/1 in the overall performance and potential block for the senior rater? How many times do you see a counseling packet that gives clear milestones needed for a Soldier to earn a recommendation for promotion with waiver?

I’m often viewed as the bad guy because I won’t support a recommendation for promotion with a waiver for a Soldier or I kick back NCOERs that are written in a way to inflate the rated NCOs ego instead of depicting an honest assessment of their performance. Since when is it a given that a PFC with a 203 APFT, has not completed SSD1, hasn’t completed any military schools, does not participate in any type of professional or personal development, shoots marksman at the range, and the list goes on and on deserve a waiver to SPC? How often do you see Soldiers becoming NCOs, whether they deserve it or not, because you’re not getting 20 level replacements inbound and the answer is growing your own?

Here’s what I’ve done locally to implement change at my company.
- Started an aggressive NCOPD program focuses on counseling techniques.
- Started LPD sessions for PLs and PSGs on DA Pam 623-3.
- Mandated all raters and senior raters become familiar with DA Pam 623-3 and write NCOERs accordingly.
- Require 1st line supervisors counsel Soldiers on what is expected to earn a recommendation for promotion with waiver or recommendation for promotion board during initial counselings as well as when discussing promotion potential in monthly counselings.
- PSGs assign a numerical rating system for their NCOs and notify them quarterly during the counseling process of where they are ranked, i.e. you are 2 out f 6 SGTs I rate.
- Complete quarterly peer evals and discuss the results within the platoons.

What have you done at your unit that helps combat these issues?
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COL Strategic Plans Chief
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SGM (Join to see), we are going to come to the end to the horrible system that is the NCOER shortly...thank God. Finally, we are going to see mandatory block checks that actually mean something. Raters and senior raters will have profiles which force them to ACTUALLY pick the best and mark the rest as average or below average. There will be no room for interpretation or opinion. You are either the best (1 out of 6) 1SG or Platoon Sergeant, or you aren't. We talk a big game about real counseling that means something...now the NCOER will be held to the same standard as the OER.
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SGM First Sergeant
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LTC Robert Halverson, I agree that the new NCOER system will be a huge improvement over our current system. I only hope we don't pollute that system like some do the OER system. I don't know how many times I've talked with guys writing OERs and recommended they leave board cycles out of their thought process for top block ratings. I can't stand seeing someone that deserves a top block not get it because he/she have already been boarded and "don't need it" as much as someone that's getting looked at next year.
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COL Strategic Plans Chief
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Concur, 1SG. I'd say that everyone generally games the system. If someone drops their UQR and is going to get out, they aren't getting rated as #1 on the system. Even though they might deserve it. Multiple reasons for that.
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SFC Customer Care Representative
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SGM (Join to see),

I think it reflects the overall societal view that everyone is special and the fact that the younger generation in particular expects to have everything they want, right now.

I see the same thing all the time. Soldiers asking when they're going to get promoted, when they just get to the unit from AIT. I ask them "What have you done at your current rank to prove that you're ready for and deserving of the next one? Some look at me like I'm from another planet. They expect to get rewarded just for showing up. To me, simply staying out of trouble only keeps you from demotions or other forms of punishment.

I end up explaining to all the time, particularly those looking to join the NCO ranks, that the higher you go the less slots there are. Not everyone can make it, so you have to stand out by going above and beyond to earn my recommendation (or top of the line NCOER for my SGTs). Some still think I'm nuts, but the ones who buy in first are the ones in my section that end up being promoted first. After a while most of the others see the light and get with the program. The ones that don't, they won't even get my endorsement for reenlistment and don't make it to a second term. Either way, every new Soldier that comes into my section, I sit down with them and make sure they understand how our promotion system works, what it takes to get more promotion points to reach E-5 and higher, and that if promotions were easy nobody would respect them when they wear that next rank.
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SGM Senior Adviser, National Communications
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1SG Winberry--I see it more often here in civilian land than I did in the military....and yet I also hear it more from younger soldiers who want more medals, more money, but less deployments....
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