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NCO promotions will be linked to Structured Self Development
By Sgt. 1st Class Jason Stadel – July 11, 2013
NCO Journal

Secretary of the Army John M. McHugh released Army Directive 2013-15 on July 1, which established Army
policies that link completion of structured self-development (SSD) and professional military education courses
with promotion under a newly defined “select-train-promote” methodology. The directive applies to Active
Army, Army National Guard and the Army Reserve.

Effective January 1, 2014, specialists and corporals cannot be promotable until they complete SSD-1.
Soldiers are automatically enrolled into SSD-1 upon completion of initial entry training. The directive outlines
the differences between all Army components.

In the Active Army and Army Reserve, specialists and corporals will be eligible for the promotion board to
sergeant once they complete SSD-1. In the Army National Guard, they must complete SSD-1 before attaining
eligibility for promotion against a valid promotion vacancy.

Also taking effect January 1, commanders will no longer have the ability to waive the Warrior Leader Course
requirement prior to a sergeant being promoted to staff sergeant. In the past, if circumstances allowed
(deployment, etc.), commanders could allow promotable sergeants, who hadn’t yet completed WLC, to
advance in rank and grade to staff sergeant with a waiver, provided the newly promoted staff sergeant would
successfully complete WLC after redeploying. That authority has been rescinded. Now every sergeant, in
each componet, must complete WLC prior to being promoted to staff sergeant.

The Army Directive also said all staff sergeants must complete SSD-3 to attain eligibility for promotion
consideration to sergeant first class. In addition, all sergeants first class must complete SSD-4 before they
are considered eligible for selection to master sergeant.

Learn more about SSD ------ Army Directive 2013-15
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New Retention Control Points (RCP) See also Current RCP as of July 2013
There are two human resource policies that support NCO leader development.  The two policies are promotion
timing (pin-on points; measured in years of service) and the Retention Control Points (RCPs) for each grade.  
These two policies establish the periods of “TIME” – which arguably is the most critical aspect in leader
development – in order to achieve the necessary accumulation of training, education, and experiences within
each rank.  

The Army began shaping RCPs for the NCO Corps in 2008.  The first adjustment was to extend the overall
career from 30 years to 32.  Concurrently, the E9 RCP was established at 32 (with service up to 35 for
Nominative SGM/CSM), the E8 RCP to 29 years, and the E7 RCP to 26 years.  In 2011, a second change was
instituted that established the E6 RCP at 20 years, E5(P) at 15 years, E5 at 13 years, E4(P) at 12 years, E4 at 8
years, and E3 at 5 years.

A final adjustment will now be made that eliminates the extended periods of service allowed for both E4 and E5 in
a promotable status.  All E4 – regardless of (P) status – will be limited to 8 years of active federal service.  All E5
– regardless of years of service – will be limited to 14 years of active federal service.  These policy changes will
be announced in the next iteration of AR 601-280 (Army Retention) and be effective 30 days after publication
(anticipated in about Oct 13).  The policies will be grandfathered.  Any Soldier who exceeds the new RCPs will be
otherwise allowed to serve until their existing ETS date.

This final adjustment allows the Army to develop and retain the highest quality Soldiers who have the greatest
potential for continued service.