The first tier of Structured Self Development, or SSD-1, becomes a hard-and-fast requirement for promotion to sergeant on Jan. 1, which means some 14,000 promotable specialists and corporals must have credit for the online course if they want to remain on the E-5 recommend list.
The new mandate is one of several policies to be implemented in 2014 that will link the completion of Structured Self-Development and professional military education with NCO promotion eligibility in the Regular Army, National Guard and Army Reserve.
Those policies, which also take effect Jan. 1, require that staff sergeants complete SSD-3 to gain eligibility for promotion consideration to sergeant first class, while SSD-4 will be a requirement for sergeants first class competing for advancement to master sergeant.
Those policies will apply to the Regular Army and Active Guard and Reserve master sergeant boards that convene in early December, and the sergeant first class boards that convene Feb. 4.
Under another policy change that takes effect Dec. 2, SSD-1 no longer will qualify soldiers for the award of 16 promotion points. This means soldiers who have completed SSD-1 will notice a decrease of 16 promotion points after that date.
Under guidance issued by the Human Resources Command Nov. 25, unit commanders should make sure that the specialists and corporals they recommend for a promotion board appearance or command list integration to sergeant have completed SSD-1, which like all Structured Self Development courses consists of 80 hours of online instruction.
The new requirement for sergeant takes effect with the promotion cycle for January 2014. Soldiers who do not have credit for the course by Jan.1, automatically will be removed from the E-5 list as being ineligible for promotion.
The change will not effect Dec. 1 promotions to sergeant.