Today, I want to talk about the downside of fast promotions in the Army, to include the USAR and ARNG. Ever since 9/11, Soldiers have been getting promoted faster. This applies to enlisted Soldiers and officers alike. Minimum time in grade requirements have been drastically reduced to meet the huge demand to fill certain ranks. Officers now reach Captain in about three years time and I’ve even met E-7’s with less than 8 years of service. And I’ve met Soldiers who reached the NCO ranks with less than three years in the military.
While most Soldiers who get promoted are good Soldiers, good leaders and good people, I personally believe that fast promotions causes MAJOR long-term problems in the Army. The major problem I have with fast promotions is that the Soldiers (enlisted or officers) do not have the experience or maturity that they should have. And trust me, there are few things more important than experience (competence is the only thing I can think of).
For example, a Soldier that gets promoted to E-7 at 14 years of service has TONS more experience than an E-7 who makes it at eight years. I’m not saying that the NCO who gets promoted with 14 years in service is a better leader, but I am saying they have more military experience and in most cases are BETTER qualified to fill that assignment.
Let’s face it; as we get older and spend more time in the military we get wiser. We learn how the system works. We experience good things and bad things. We get combat experience. We complete more training exercises, deployments and tough assignments. We learn from our mistakes. In addition, we get LIFE EXPERIENCE. All of these things round out our leadership experience and prepare us for current and future assignments.
If it was up to me, I wouldn’t let anyone become a NCO with less than five years of service. And I definitely wouldn’t let someone reach the Captain rank with less than five years either. These are all important positions and we need to make sure that our leaders have enough experience so they can do their job correctly.
What are your thoughts? Do you think that the fast promotions in the Army are creating any type of problem (long-term or short-term)? If so, what type of problems do you see? Please share your thoughts on this topic by leaving a comment below. I look forward to hearing from you .