The new Army rule to ensure all eligible specialists and sergeants are considered for promotions will not only help the Army retain and maximize talent, but it will also help ensure fewer leadership positions remain empty.

The Army wasn’t able to fill open positions this year because there weren’t enough soldiers’ names on the list of those who were recommended for promotions. Under the new policy, a Dec. 7 directive signed by Army Secretary Mark Esper, more names will be on the list as all eligible soldiers’ promotions will automatically be included.

This will level the playing field with a more fair and visible process and give soldiers a stronger understanding of why they are or are not selected. The rule can help eliminate any insinuation of favoritism, which lowers morale, harms relationships among soldiers, and might even be the reason some decide to leave.

The rule essentially puts soldiers’ eligibility in their own hands by telling them exactly what it takes to get on the promotion-recommended list. While all soldiers who are on the list are required to appear before a promotion board, some soldiers who are not recommended by local promotion boards might attend counseling, which will help them understand how they need to improve their skills.

When the new policy works as intended, more qualified, talented and inspired soldiers will be in leadership positions, which will create a stronger Army today and will help ensure future soldiers grow with a better understanding of how to accomplish their goals as dedicated service members.

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