Special Selection Review BoardOctober 4, 2021
The Special Selection Review Board (SSRB) was recently created and is being implemented, with little guidance for those affected. Essentially, The Army has created a new level of promotion screening, starting in June of 2021. The System was modified in the FY20 NDAA, which directs that substantiated adverse screening results are to be presented to the board of officers considering promotion to: MAJ-COL (Active Duty) and COL (Reserves).
All eligible board candidates will be screened for existing or pending adverse information. Importantly, this includes the Army Inspector General (DAIG) databases, the Criminal Investigative Command (CIC/CID) databases, and any adverse information (Court-Martial, GOMOR, Article 15, etc.) regardless of where filed. This means, that unlike previously, adverse information filed in the restricted section of an Officer's OMPF will now be shown to the board.
When an Officer's My Board File opens, the Officer in question will have the opportunity to review all information that will be presented to the Board. The Officer in question will be able to write a letter to the President of the Board, calling attention to any matter concerning the Officer which they consider to be important to their case. Any such letter must be received by HRC no later than 10 days prior to the convene date of the promotion board.
Furthermore, the Special Selection Review Board has been created to further screen Officers that are selected for promotion. If any such Officer has substantiated adverse information not shown to a previous promotion board, his/her case will be referred to a Special Selection Review Board. In this situation, an Officer's promotion will be withheld and a HQDA Flag (Code F) will be implemented. This is a nontransferable flag, not allowing the Officer in question to PCS without an exception to policy. The Officer will be notified of this delay in promotion and given an opportunity to respond. It is important that this response be worded carefully so as to not mention anything about the delay of the promotion or the additional screening. This is because of how the promotion review occurs, discussed more below. Essentially, it is in the Officer's best interest to not inform the Special Selection Review Board that his/her file is the one being screened.
The Officer's My Board File, along with their adverse information and the Officer's response, will be shown to a Board, along with the file of an equal number of selects and non-selects from their original promotion board. Board members will review and vote on all of the files. All files will be placed on an OML, and the Officer in question must score higher than all of the non-selects to have the original promotion selection validated. If an Officer's promotion is not sustained by the Special Selection Review Board, he/she will be removed from the selection list. If the promotion is sustained, the Officer will be promoted and should receive back-pay. It is also possible for the Officer to be removed from the selection list and be processed for elimination. The Army Officer Elimination Process, commonly referred to as a "show-cause" board or a board of inquiry, is explained more at this link.
The Special Selection Review Board IS replacing the Promotion Review Board for CPTs and above and CW3s and above; however, the implementation of the new system is pending. As it stands currently, AR 600-8-29 still devotes an entire Chapter (Chapter 7) to the Promotion Review Board. Furthermore, Special Selection Review Boards are often conducted in conjunction with Command Review Boards for Officers who also made the Command Selection List (CSL), which are explained more at this link.
Any Officer who is either writing a letter to the President of a Promotion Board, or corresponding with the Special Selection Review Board/Promotion Review Board, should consult an Attorney before doing so. The Officer in question is entitled to Legal Assistance from a JAG; however, the Attorneys available to assist are usually in their first term in the Army and are inexperienced. Officers in this situation have the option to hire a Civilian Attorney to assist them.
This Article was written by Attorney Matthew Barry.