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Promotion slowdown: Longer wait for captains, majors

Apr. 15, 2013 - 07:27AM   |  
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Basic-branch officers of the Army Competitive Category will have a longer wait for their captain tracks and major leaves under a phased return to promotion pin-on points that were in effect before the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Promotion points, which are expressed in years and months of commissioned service, indicate when officers can expect to pin on new rank insignia after being recommended for promotion by a selection board.

Before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, “due course” officers of the Army Competitive Category were promoted to major at about 11 years of commissioned service, and to captain at about four years.

Officers are “due course” when their careers progress at the same rate as their year group peers — no below-zone selections and no nonselections from the primary zone.

Because the Army expanded following 9/11, it shortened the promotion points to meet increased requirements for captains and majors. The wait for major leaves shortened to about 9½ years, and the wait for silver tracks to slightly more than three years.

Simultaneous with the promotion point reductions, the Army increased selection rates to well above 90 percent for both ranks.

The 2013 ACC captain board that convened April 9 is scheduled to remain in session until May 1.

Barring an unexpected delay, the selection list should be available for release by midsummer.

Lt. Gen. Howard Bromberg, Army personnel chief (G-1), said first lieutenants selected by the board will be promoted to captain at 48 months of service, rather than the 38-month standard of recent years.

Bromberg said the promotion point for major, currently about 9.8 years, also will be extended, but over a two-year period.

“Major will go to about 10 years this year, and to 11 years next year,” he said.

As predicted by Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, select rates for promotion to the field grades are being returned to levels in effect before 9/11.

For example, the primary-zone rate for the 2013 ACC major board that met last fall was 83 percent, well below the rates of 97 and 98 percent during 2005 and 2006.

Longer promotion points equate to delayed pay raises for affected officers.

For example, under base pay rates now in effect, the monthly pay for a first lieutenant with four years of service increases by $662.80 per month upon promotion to captain.

Had the officer been promoted to captain at 38 months of service, he or she would have earned an additional $3,459 during the 10-month period it took to reach four years of service.

The monthly pay raise for captains advancing to major is $723, regardless if they have 9.8 or 11 years of service.

For officers who are promoted at 10 years of service this year, the pin-on point extension equates to a pay raise delay of $1,446.

For those advancing to major at 11 years of service, the extension will equate to a $10,122 pay raise delay.

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