WASHINGTON — In response to the COVID-19
outbreak, the Army has initiated several policy
exceptions that will impact enlisted promotion
cycles scheduled until the end of this fiscal
year, unless terminated sooner, G-1 officials
Due to the recent restrictions placed on travel
and training, the Army is altering its approach to
semi-centralized promotion boards, along with
changing the training requirements required for
promotion eligibility, said Sgt. Maj. Mark A. Clark,
the Army G-1 directorate of military personnel
management sergeant major.
The exception will impact the active-duty and
Army Reserve force, with many of the alterations
taking effect during the May promotion month,
Clark said. The National Guard will produce
guidance at a later date.
As the COVID-19 environment continues to
evolve, the Army will continue to review its policy
exceptions every 30 days and make any
necessary changes. The modifications will be in
place until Sept. 30.
Commanders are now authorized an alternative
means to evaluate personnel during a monthly
unit promotion board, Clark said.
With the exception to policy, commanders can
conduct a promotion board within a virtual
environment. It will be up to the command team
to determine their proper means of
In addition to the virtual boards, leaders can also
rely on their battalion command sergeant major
to make promotion recommendations based on
their “one-on-one interactions with an eligible
Soldier,” Clark added. Battalion CSMs can
obtain input from their chain of command or
through the NCO support channel to make an
informed decision about an eligible Soldier.
PROFESSIONAL MILITARY EDUCATION
Starting in May, the Army will temporarily
its PME course requirements for staff sergeants
and sergeants first class who need to complete
the Advanced Leader Course or Senior Leader
Course, respectively, Clark said.
The temporary suspension of PME will not waive
the PME requirement, Clark said. Soldiers will
be required to complete the course at a later
date and will be prioritized first in the training
ensure they meet this training requirement.
U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command has
distance learning options for Soldiers attending
the Basic Leader Course, Master Leader Course
the Sergeants Major Course, therefore negating
a need for an exception to policy for these
respected ranks, Clark said.
AFPT, WEAPONS QUALIFICATIONS
The Army Physical Fitness Test will continue to
be a promotion eligibility requirement, officials
said. However, Soldiers will be able to use their
last recorded APFT for promotion
and pin-on, regardless of when the fitness test
The policy exception also prevents Soldiers from
falling off of the promotion standing list because
an expired APFT, Clark said. Further,
commanders cannot flag Soldiers for failing to
take the APFT during this time.
Soldiers who previously failed the APFT will
remain flagged until they can successfully pass
their fitness evaluation. Additional guidance will
be published at
a later date, officials said.
Beyond the APFT, the Army is also providing
the same extension to weapons qualifications,
Until the exception of policy is lifted, a Soldier’s
promotion points will be based on their most
recent weapons qualification, regardless of
when completed, officials said.