About 52,000 noncommissioned officers in the Army have been promoted over the course of more than two years under what the service initially billed as a temporary pandemic-era policy allowing soldiers to move up in rank without attending leadership academies, data provided by the service shows.
The Army data obtained by Military.com also shows 20% of those soldiers — 10,588 — had not yet attended those schools, highlighting a concern service leadership has quietly raised behind the scenes. NCOs are supposed to lose their new rank if they don't attend the proper schooling within a year of their promotion, but Army planners don't want to demote front-line enlisted leaders en masse.
The one-year deadline may cause a challenge for many NCOs who have a difficult time scheduling their schooling. Limited slots for some military occupations, a constant string of deployments and long-term training rotations have made it difficult for some units to send their troops to school. Most courses can be a month, or longer.
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In the National Guard, soldiers also have to balance civilian obligations and are not entitled to child or pet care, which can make leaving home for an extended period of time to complete schooling a significant challenge.
“Our goal is to ensure our soldiers' careers do not suffer from factors outside of their control.”…