Despite the growth which resulted in a high of 570,000-members, the United States Army has actually reduced its size in recent years. Experts in fact predicts that the Army’s numbers will shrink to under 450,000 by the end of 2017. If the automatic budget cuts known as sequestration return in fiscal 2016 — as is currently the law — then the Army will shrink to 420,000. One of the many side effects to the lower numbers is that the Army will be offering less promotions in its ranks during the next few years.
This was confirmed recently by Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno and St. Major Raymond Chandler III during a virtual Town Hall meeting. When asked if there would be more promotions since deployment was down, Chandler replied that promotions are directly tied to the challenges the Army faces with reducing the size of the force. But the senior leadership has no plans to make changes to the current promotion system, Chandler said. “We have a good promotion system. I would compete the promotion system we have against any of the other services,” Chandler said during the Jan. 6 event. “We don’t just test cognitive abilities. We look at everything that person does to determine whether they’ve got the potential for future promotion.”
Surprisingly enough, Chandler was more than a little critical of the current system, which promoted many during the so called “boon” years of 2004 – 2012. “Frankly, I would make the argument that we were promoting people too fast because a lot of people were not qualified for the rank that they were getting promoted to. They didn’t go to the schools they were supposed to. They didn’t have the experience they were supposed to.”
Odierno concurs, and stated that, “making promotions more challenging will maintain high standards in the Army’s noncommissioned officer corps. What we want to do is promote the right people … so we maintain a strong Army,” he said. “The sergeant major and I fully understand that we cannot limit; we’ve got to have promotions people want to move forward … but it is not going to be as fast as it was five years ago.”
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