Temporary NCO promotions going away

| September 19, 2023

For the last two years, the Army has been allowing promotions to NCO ranks without required service schools.

According to the memo from Lt. Gen. Doug Stitt, the Army’s top personnel officer, the change is meant to finally implement the service’s largely unrealized “selection, training, education, and promotion” or STEP, vision for enlisted talent management.

Beginning January 2024, active duty enlisted soldiers — and their permanent full-time counterparts in the Army Reserve — are ineligible for promotion to sergeant or beyond unless they’ve completed their professional military education, such as the Basic Leader Course. The Army National Guard and part-time Reserve troops will see the policy change begin in October 2024.

Army Times

Having a professional, educated NCO corps is at the heart of the modern US military and the core of what made us great. The fly in the ointment, at this particular point in history, is whether the NCO academies are actually teaching NCO skills or are they concentrating on pronouns, alternative genders, and other such tomfoolery. It should not happen – but there are too many other things the military has embraced which , frankly, seem more likely to get our kids killed rather than teaching them how to “kill people and break shit” like they should.

Of course, I am sure there are enough slots at the training schools to get the better candidates in classes? I remember USAREUR having a large backlog of such slots in the ’70s, wherein company-sized units might get one slot allocated to them a quarter. Held a lot of good kids back. I am sure the powers that be have made sure before promulgating the STEP policy that there are no such bottlenecks now, right?

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Feelings are going to be hurt now.


Demand everybody go but block it all up with nitpicky “seat” whining.


In West Germany having the correct ring and handshake was the secret to getting into NCOES.


Lots of “who you know” knob-slobbing– must not be corruption when it’s peacetime or something.


Now you’ve done it. You just painted a target on your back.

Top W Kone

Last year we were told in the Reserves that you could not go to school unless you were on the selection list.

Now you can’t get on the list unless you have the school…no word if they changed the prior standard.


Things that make you shake your head and mutter WTF.

Anna Puma

Bureaucracies are good at creating Catch-22s.


It’s the best catch there is!


Bring back Spec 5 and above.


The same money without the responsibilities. My choice was promotion board or a BNCOC slot, took the board and maxed it had the points for promotion.


Had an old Army Sergeant on a gov’t ship years ago who said the same thing, or the “technician” grades of the 40’s.


This, I’ve often stated that–while they were cool as hell in person–Musicians in US Army Special Bands (“Pershing’s Own, etc.) shouldn’t outrank the Old Guard Team Leaders they share Fort Myer with. They enlist as E-4s and are promoted to SSG within a few months of reporting to their respective bands. Using NCO ranks instead of Specialist paygrades also creates a disparity between the bands. The US Army Band has a bunch of SGMs and many more MSGs. While much smaller, the Fife and Drum Corps has only one SGM, with most FDC Musicians spending years as an E-6 and retiring as E-7s.

Spec ranks would open up higher pay for them by removing the necessity for them to fill a leadership position. These are professional musicians…most have advanced degrees, have released albums and toured with well-known bands, and could easily make much more money in a civilian orchestra: These are the 13 highest paid orchestras in the United States – pennlive.com (keep in mind this is a 7-year-old article).

One thing I like about the Marines is that they’re required to choose between Master Sergeant/Master Gunnery Sergeant and First Sergeant/Sergeant Major once selected for E-8. Being much larger, the Army could adapt this model for E-4 and higher, with a permanent NCO or Spec choice once selected for E-7.


Some MOS’ would naturally be top-heavy with senior Specialists, which would have the dual benefit of helping ensure only the best and most qualified are NCOs and that knowledgeable and experience Soldiers are retained and have upward mobility regardless of their potential (or desire in many cases) to be leaders. Most of us have known that SPC who’s the go-to guy for just about everything, but who will never make SGT and will instead get forced out at 8 years.

The Army could continue promotion to SPC at 24 months, but add a provision where after 3-6 months in rank the Soldier can be recommended for CPL. Infantry, for example, needs junior NCOs more than most other MOS’, so that CPL can go on to be an SGT, or if less than stellar as a leader, can take Spec-5 and move to the Training Room or Staff for further development.

On the flip side, an Infantryman who’s getting up there in injuries and age can go from CPL-SGT-SSG, before opting for Spec-7 and finishing up on the admin/support side. After Spec-7, potential leaders could go on to MSG and SGM, serving in the positions those ranks currently do, while SFCs could go on to 1SG and CSM.

There are some (maybe a lot of) flaws in the above, but typically units have an overabundance of PSG positions filled by SSGs, while Brigade is unable to get more SFCs due to the number on staff. I had to work the Unit Manning Report when we got to Afghanistan. Not sure why, I thought that was an S1 job, but I did so. From what I recall, Brigade S3 was authorized one MSG Ops SGT and two-each SFC and SSG Ops and Assistant Ops NCOs. At the time we had two MSGs, at least five SFCs, and about 10 SSGs. Take away the NCO rank to open up the MTOE for additional hard-striped E-7s, and let the permanent profile types revert to Specialists.


PLDC/’W’LC/WTFever it’s called today: how to; fill out a counseling statement and conduct PT to the Army Standard (which is so fucking retarded it hurts).

BNOC/ALC/Who cares: how to watch NCO’s do the above tasks by making the student write papers and do land nav.

Also, this is what your dress uniform looks like on a hanger class.

Priceless training, big gay Army.

You really make SMEs wanna leave the jobs they love?
Because this is how you do it.

SSG Douchecanoe.jpeg
President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

Having a professional, educated NCO corps is at the heart of the modern US military and the core of what made us great.

 The fly in the ointment, at this particular point in history, is whether the NCO academies are actually teaching NCO skills or are they concentrating on pronouns, alternative genders, and other such tomfoolery. “

Was just thinking the second sentence, as I was reading the first sentence.


I’m a graduate of PLDC (1990), BNCOC (1992), ANCOC (2004). PLDC was actually worthwhile, I learned a lot and refined what I already knew. BNCOC? Waste of 8 weeks, could’ve been compressed into 3. ANCOC? I cut more grass and buffed more floors than anytime in my entire career. My entire class was fresh out of Iraq, class ran from Memorial day to Labor day, spent weeks on equipment that was already out of the Army inventory and laughing at our 1SG that hadn’t left FT Gordon since 1991. Kinda hard to take his speeches about “going to war” seriously when he’d spent a career in the schoolhouse. Frankly, I think we all scared him a little. NCOES is a great idea poorly executed.

Dennis - not chevy

Your 1SG would have been a great friend to a civilian instructor whose class I once had to suffer. My buddy and I had just returned from a year’s tour at one of those remote cold war bases where Soviet fly-overs and “fishing trawlers” just off the horizon were common. We tried to keep straight faces as she prattled on about this how this form and that form had to be letter perfect. Finally the whole class lost it when she pled, “C’mon people this is serious, we’re talking inspection write-ups here!”


OH, Lordy. I do remember how serious the “lifers” took inspections. They would (and did) rather inspect than train.


“Certify, verify and validate”– um, you mean ‘check,’ dude?




“You should be more appreciative; some people go their whole careers without doing anything real-world,” a hoser like that told me in ’97– hope he liked 9/11 and thereafter.


On the flip side, I went to the Captains Career Course in 2013. I kept hearing instructors go on about how a combat patch equated to leadership experience. I know lots of officers with the right side patch that couldn’t lead a chiwawa on a leash.


IMHO, a “combat patch” equates to a “combat patch”. I have 4 from 11th Signal Brigade and 1 from 22nd Signal Brigade. I think I’m the only Soldier to have the full 11th collection. Sure, you get a lot of great experience on deployment. Doesn’t automatically equate to being the leader of the millennium.

Eric (The former OC Tanker)

Did the PNCOC course at the 8thID NCO academy Baumholder, FRG, as a very young SP4 in 1977. As a tanker, I was a bit confused because the POI weas weighted heavly towards infantry small unit skills (small unit leadership, patrolling, dismounted land nav (no GPS for this young troop). I got my chance to tote the pig over the hill and dale of BMTA (those who know, know). Did my BNCOC at Knox 1980 wile with 2-6 Cav. And then got orders for ANCOC and attended 1988. All the schoolhouse concentrated on was to graduate soldiers who where technically and tactically proficient. Ther was no room in the POI for any of the fruu-fruu crap.


PNCOC and PLDC are geared to learning leadership basics, regardless of MOS. BNCOC and ANCOC are MOS specific (theoretically). Didn’t have much fru-fru crap in my classes either, just the basic EEO stuff.

A Proud Infidel®™

I had to do WLC, Weenie-Lust Course (*OOPS!*, Warrior Leadership Course at Eastover near Fort Jackson not long after getting back from A-stan where at least 80 percent of the Students had Combat Patches versus the Instructors, maybe TEN damned percent of them had Overseas Combat Tours. They treated US like we were know-nothing Joes and Janes, and the whole thing was pretty much a damned JOKE in my view and YES, the awards given at the end were pretty much PC-driven and they allowed PT as well as height and weight failures to graduate as well where I remember in my AD days, a failure in either got one bounced from PLDC.


No fooling…no schooling = NO NCOing. The E-4 mafia (not that such a thing exists except in lore of old) either weeps or gives a *sigh* of relief.

Gonna agree and give credence to Odie, Sapper, and Anonymous’s comment. Some thing will never change.

Herbert J Messkit

Did my 13F ANCOC at ft will. Since our platoon all did well on initial pt test, we could do our own pt, but it had to be at 5 am. We found a field with lights and played softball. Classes in the morning, usually released after lunch. 3 day FTX. Rifle range and a road march, Then we aggressor the 13 Bs. Loaded us up in cadre povs to go to a country restaurant for chow. GoodTimes


We had to an overnight FTX, basically just the class setting up defensive positions, and waiting for the cadre to assault sometime during the night. Cadre came through to “check on us” shortly after chow, obviously noting our defensive setup. Sooo after they left, just before dark, we packed up and moved about 200M away, on a nice hill overlooking our former position. Right around 0200, here comes the cadre, sweeping through, burning up a ton of blanks, finding… nobody. Pissed everybody right off. Except the commandant. Who was my former Platoon Sergeant. She thought it was awesome, busted the cadre’s balls for days.


I love that story. That “cadre” was lazy and/or incompetent. I spent most of my last year in the Army at Benning playing “aggressor” like that cadre was trying to do. Unless your class was exceptionally well trained it is fairly easy to locate and infiltrate US troop positions at night due to the noise they make. It just takes patience and good ears. I found it very enjoyable. If there had been an “aggressor” MOS I might have even reenlisted.

When I was in RVN my company tried that tactic once. We had taken a couple of mortar rounds after we had stopped for the day, so the powers that be decided to move the company after dark to a new position. It was a complete clusterfuck, and only the absence of “aggressors” stopped it from being a disaster. Or maybe the NVA was just disabled with laughter. It’s a great tactic, but it takes training and experience to pull it off.


I was in 3ID as a Retention NCO following 6 years as a Recruiter. I was a SSG on the SFC list in the secondary zone with an ANCOC class date… Then they sent me to PLDC the month before my ANCOC class date in Indianapolis @ Ft Benjamin Harrison.

The PLDC instructors just told me to hang with them and help them out as needed. 😜 


“, wherein company-sized units might get one slot allocated to them a quarter”

I was in USAREUR in the ’60s, and it was the same, or worse in my company. We had a number of people promoted to E5 in my 18 months there, but only a couple went to the Div. NCO academy.