In a sudden reversal, the Army has yet again extended temporary promotions allowing noncommissioned officers and specialists to progress to the next rank without previously required NCO academies, according to an internal service memo on Thursday that was reviewed by Military.com.
The extension into 2024 will make the third year that the COVID-19 pandemic-era policy has been in effect, as Army planners originally were set to scale back temporary promotions in January.
Now, temporary promotions will be the new status quo, putting into question the relevance of NCO academies that used to be prerequisites for promotion until late 2021. The schools train noncommissioned officers on key Army policies and programs and are attempts to standardize basic leadership expectations, but have also been seen by some in the force as a bureaucratic hurdle in the promotion process.
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“Currently, we've decided STEP will remain suspended and have not determined a timeline for reimplementation,” Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Weimer said in a statement to Military.com, referring to the Select-Train-Educate-Promote policy. “Our goal is to ensure our soldiers' careers do not suffer from factors outside of their control.”
Weimer added that soldiers should continue to go to school. Part of the concern over the policy is that a swath of NCOs were…