The schedule for fiscal year 2018 officer promotion selection boards was detailed in Marine administrative message 213/16, signed Thursday. The boards will cover the ranks of captains through major generals and chief warrant officers.
The number of officers expected to advance in each rank will not be known until personnel officials announce date of rank for promotion zones, which typically takes place 30 to 60 days before each respective board.
The numbers are likely to align with the last round of promotions, however, since the Corps is on track to meet its steady state authorized end strength of 182,000 by the end of this fiscal year. That stability was good news for prospective colonels last year, who saw in-zone windows expand by three months. Windows for those seeking a silver oak leaf opened by six months, while the numbers held steady for majors and captains — a welcomed change after years of personnel cuts.
Officers looking to pin on a star will need at least one year in their current grade to be eligible. Three years in grade are needed to advance to any field grade, though these minimums can be waived based on the Marine Corps' needs. There is no minimum time-in-grade to pin on captain.
The boards will convene at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, on the following dates:
- Major general, active: Sept. 15.
- Major general, Reserve: Sept. 14.
- Brigadier general, active: Sept. 27.
- Brigadier general, Reserve: Sept. 28.
- Colonel, active: Sept. 7.
- Colonel, Reserve: Oct 12.
- Lieutenant colonel, active: Aug. 23.
- Lieutenant colonel, Reserve: Jan. 17, 2017.
- Major, active: Aug. 16.
- Major, Reserve: Jan. 10, 2017.
- Colonel, lieutenant colonel and major, active Reserve: Oct 12.
- Lieutenant colonel and major, limited duty officer/active: Sept. 23.
- Captain, active: Feb. 7, 2017.
- Captain, Reserve/active Reserve: Feb. 8, 2017.
- Chief warrant officer, Reserve/active Reserve: Feb. 8, 2017.
- Chief warrant officer, active: Aug. 9, 2017.
Officers not eligible for consideration are those with separation or retirement dates within 90 days of the board's convening date, according to the MARADMIN. Captains who are not U.S. citizens will not be considered for promotion to major.
Stability has returned not only to promotion numbers, but also career designation, which this year returned to an optimum 85 percent from a low of 55 percent, seen when the service had to cut back from the 202,000 Marines needed during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Those rates, however, are not evenly distributed among the force. In 2015, aviation saw a 95-percent selection rate, while legal saw 85 percent and Marines in combat service support, combat arms and aviation support saw only 70 percent.
Continuation selection boards, if authorized, will be announced at a later date. The boards are convened based on the personnel needs; selection criteria varies from year to year.
Lance M. Bacon is senior reporter for Marine Corps Times. He covers Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Marine Corps Forces Command, personnel / career issues, Marine Corps Logistics Command, II MEF, and Marine Forces North. He can be reached at email@example.com.