Promotion Review BoardMay 24, 2021
[UPDATE} As of the summer of 2021, the Army has changed the Promotion Review process. A new board, called the Special Selection Review Board, now applies to all promotions except decentralized promotions (2LT to 1LT and WO1 to CW2). This article explains the Promotion Review Board, currently only in place for decentralized promotions. Click the link to learn more about the new process involving the Special Selection Review Board.
This article addresses the promotion review board process in the Army.
The Army promotion review board process is governed by AR 600-8-29, specifically chapter 7 (available at this link). Army Promotion review boards are only convened after an Officer has been selected for promotion, but before the promotion list has been approved by the President (or his/her designee). Essentially, after an Officer has been selected for promotion, but before he/she is actually promoted, sometimes the Secretary of the Army becomes aware of information that leads him/her to believe that the Officer in question should not be promoted.
The most common reasons for an Officer to have to respond to the promotion review board and have his/her promotion delayed are as follows:
- A referred evaluation report
- Punishment under Article 15
- A Court Martial conviction
- A permanently filed GOMOR
- Pending elimination proceedings
- Failure to make progress in the Army Body Composition Program
- A pending investigation
Furthermore, if an Officer is selected for promotion to the ranks of CPT - COL or CW3 - CW5, the CID database, the Department of the Army Inspector General database, and the restricted section of said Officer's OMPF, will be reviewed for any adverse information. Any information in these databases could result in referral to the promotion review board.
Any Officer whose promotion is being reviewed by the promotion review board will be flagged by HRC. This HRC level flag cannot be lifted by the local unit, and typically remains in place for approximately 18 months. The promotion review board is composed of at least five Officers, serving in a grade higher than the Officer whose promotion is being considered.
The Secretary of the Army has to give the Officer a reasonable opportunity (usually 14 days) to respond to the information that is being used as a basis to potentially remove him/her from the promotion list. After the board reviews all information furnished to it, including the Officer's response, they will vote on a recommendation. The recommendation is not binding on the Secretary of the Army, and he/she may remove the Officer from the promotion list, retain the Officer on the promotion list, and/or consider some other action (i.e. initiation of elimination).
An Army Officer's response to the information being considered by the promotion review board is critical. A good response can make the difference between being promoted and not being promoted, and potentially having to face elimination. Officers can receive assistance from the Legal Assistance Office on post, usually comprised of new JAG Officers with little experience. Any Officer whose promotion is being reviewed has the option to hire a Civilian lawyer to assist them in their response.
This article was written by Attorney Matthew Barry.