Army Officers to Face More Scrutiny as Promotion Boards Gain Access to Restricted Personnel Files

A new Army captain pins on
An officer is promoted to captain on Dec. 10, 2016. (Army photo by Sgt. Hector Rene Membreno-Canales)

Army officer promotion boards will have access, starting this month, to adverse information and restricted files when considering leaders for promotion, the Army said.

The change aligns the Army with Defense Department guidance mandating closer scrutiny of officers as they climb up the ranks, which took effect in December.

Similar changes are taking place in all Pentagon branches. In the Air Force, the new system went into effect in March.

In the past, sensitive or negative information was examined later in the promotion process, said Maj. Gen. Douglas Stitt, director of military personnel management for the Army.

Promotion boards previously only had access to information in an officer's performance folder. Now, boards will be able to see almost all substantiated adverse information and anything filed as restricted in an officer's human resource record, the Army said.

Those files would include guilty verdicts from courts-martial, letters of reprimand, relief of command and nonjudicial punishments. Boards also will be provided a summary of any substantiated investigations or inquiries.

"Officers will be notified of applicable adverse information and will be given an opportunity to submit matters for consideration by the promotion board," the Army said.

The change affects selection boards for the rank of major and above in the active component and the rank of colonel and above for the reserve components, the Army said.

Officers who have adverse actions in their record should be aware of it and consider submitting a rebuttal before going before a promotion board, Stitt said.

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