STAP Promotion List and Tips for Army National Guard NCOs

If you’re an enlisted Soldier serving in the Army National Guard, there’s a good chance that your state uses the STAP List and STAP program to manage all enlisted promotions for the rank of E-5 and above.  STAP stands for Select, Train, Assign, Promote.

Each year all E4s and above complete a NGB4100.  This worksheet identifies and adds up the promotion points a Soldier has.  Once the sheet is submitted through the unit and S1 channels it is sent to the G1 Office for processing.  The G1 Office takes all Soldiers in each MOS, by rank, and creates an Order of Merit List, which is essentially the STAP List.  The person with the most points is ranked # 1, followed by the person with the second most points, and so forth.

Normally the results are published once a year.  But sometimes a list might get published 2-3 times in one year.  This is known as an updated STAP List.  From the day a list is published any time there is a vacancy in a unit, the unit’s chain of command is supposed to refer to the STAP List and start contacting the person on the top of the list to offer them the job.  They will keep calling people on the list until someone accepts the job and the promotion.  That’s how the National Guard streamlines its enlisted promotion process.  Once again, it isn’t perfect, but it is a pretty good system.

It’s also important to note that Soldier’s can choose to be selected for a state-wide selection or unit-wide selection.  If they are open for a state-wide selection, they can be considered for an open slot anywhere in the state. I recommend this option to all Soldiers because it gives you more opportunities to get promoted.

On the other hand, Soldiers can choose the unit-wide selection.  If they choose this option, they will only be eligible for a promotion if there is an opening in their battalion.  Choosing this option really limits a Soldier’s ability to get promoted.  I never recommended this option to my Soldiers.  Even if they loved the unit, I told them to be smart and go with state-wide selection.

Although I am not a huge fan of the STAP List Program, it does have its merits.  What I like most about the program is that you can clearly see WHO has the most promotion points in the state and how far you are behind them.  This gives you a snapshot so you know what you need to do to increase your points within the next 12 months and be competitive.  Another great thing about the STAP Program is that it doesn’t play favorites.  It eliminates the local commander’s chance to promote their people into the NCO ranks.  This means you have a level playing field across the entire state to get promoted.

Of course, many Soldiers complain about the STAP List and STAP Program.  Some of the biggest issues are that the points are often incorrect or aren’t updated in time.  Another problem with STAP is that it takes away the Company Commander’s authority to promote a Soldier from inside his company into a unit vacancy.  I’ve always believed that the Company Commander and First Sergeant know their Soldiers the best and know who is most “qualified” for a promotion.  However, this can lead to “favoritism” claims.

Since the Army National Guard wanted to create a level playing field, the STAP Program does that.  If you are enlisted, I highly encourage you to educate yourself about the program.  I truly believe that it’s up to you to manage your own career wisely.  Once you know how the system works, you can’t blame anyone but yourself if you don’t get promoted.

On a side note, if you are familiar with the STAP List and STAP Program, I would love to hear your thoughts.  Please share your story or experience about the program with the rest of our community. Just leave a comment below to get started. Also if you have opinions about STAP, you can leave them, but please think before you type. Thanks for visiting.

P.S. I’m not sure what the regulation is that manages STAP, but if you know it, please leave a comment below to share it with us.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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23 thoughts on “STAP Promotion List and Tips for Army National Guard NCOs”

  1. Is there a way access the STAP or even a unit’s individual slot openings without going to S1 or other unit authority, since it seems to burden them?

  2. I always pass my apft and am never flagged but I am an E-4 trying to get my E-5. I am on top of the list for promotions but they chose to go battalion level instead of brigade. I talked to the Rediness NCO but was told they have the option of promoting within, instead of going through STAP.

    1. In my experience, company commanders do not skip the STAP Program. But there’s a loop hole. Like for my unit, they pick the favorite person, regardless of whether the person has a leadership ability or can get the job done. It doesn’t matter. All that matters is that the soldier should be lovable. What they with do is send the soldier to as many residence school as possible. In order to raise their points. Sometimes, organize a quick apft to make the person pass if that person has failed. They do all kinds of stuff man. It doesn’t matter how hard you work. You can volunteer all year long. That’s zero. But I love my unit.

  3. Hi I was wondering do the battalions have to go by the STAP program when enforced or do they have the option of promoting within. Also which AR has the details of this program. I am in the Texas National Gaurd and was skipped for promotion because they chose to do it Battalion Level instead of going by the TPL.

    Thank You

    1. I’m not sure how or why you were skipped. Were you flagged? Was your PT and HT/WT current? Units aren’t supposed to/can’t just promote anyone, especially in the National Guard. The STAP list is the Order of Merit List and Soldiers are supposed to get promoted in order of ranking on that list. I know there are a few exceptions to the rule, like people who are on the list but failed the APFT. Or, people who don’t want to travel outside of a certain distance. But other than that, a unit can’t just promote anyone. I’m sure violations to STAP happen from time to time, but I know during my time in Company Command I wasn’t allowed to promote Soldiers above the rank of E-5. It was all managed by STAP. Just my two cents.

  4. I have a question about this process. I myself was an active duty soldier who ets’d before I received my E5. My husband is in the National Guard and has been for 8 years now. He missed his deadline last year to submit his points for promotion. However, this year he was ready and submitted everything on time and had well beyond the most points for promotion.

    He was very diligent and meticulous and kept in constant contact with the AGR/Readiness team as they worked together on post. When the TPL came out, he noticed that he had dropped from #1 on the list to #10 and that over 90 points were missing. He has copies of everything he turned in but the Readiness NCO/AGR team is claiming not to have his file at all.

    He is suspicious that someone may have tampered with his file, is this possible? He said there is no way to prove it and if he filed a complaint with IG it would just backfire because you dont cross the readiness team. To me its completely unfair and there should be a way to track who does what.

    1. If he has copies of the paperwork, he can just resubmit them. If the Readiness Team is jerking him around, he could go up the chain of command to the 1SG and Company Commander. If that doesn’t work, I would escalate it to the next higher chain of command. An IG Complaint would be my last resort, and yes, that could backfire.

  5. This system is interesting. Similar to Active Army promotions in that once you are promoted you often come down on orders to fill a slot elsewhere. But with this system the soldier has some control over the promotion he or she would be willing to take. This puts more control to the soldier, which sounds like a good thing for the National Guardsmen.

    1. I think the STAP Promotion process is pretty awesome. I wish they did the same thing for Officers. With STAP you compete on points alone. And you know what your competition has for points. That means you know EXACTLY what you need to do to get promoted. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

      Just my thoughts.

  6. I can see both sides of this argument. On the one hand, your own commander is clearly the person who knows his soldiers best and can decide who to promote, so taking the responsibility away from him is tough. On the other hand, having a level playing field and fighting against favoritism is important for the sake of morale. Ideally I’d want the promotions to be decided by the commander, but I can see that the STAP List Program is important to prevent abuses and ensure fairness.

  7. No system is perfect, and no system is completely immune from “gaming,” but the current enlisted promotion system is reasonably good. I agree that it removes the opportunity for unit command teams to promote from within, but that also keeps “fresh blood” circulating through the organization (battalion/squadron and brigade). The main area still subject to some manipulation is the leadership appraisal process, which contributes 400 of the 1,000 possible points. A few years back nearly every 11B at the top of the promotion list was from one particular battalion…imagine the odds. Fortunately they didn’t use that to take NCO slots in our battalion; I suspect they were trying to ensure that certain individuals got promoted within that battalion. Nevertheless, the state headquarters came down the next year and issued a policy that any appraisal scored unusually high or unusually low would require an accompanying memo of justification. Did it work? Well, sort of….

    1. You are right, Daniel. No system is perfect. There’s always someone trying to manipulate the system, even the STAP Promotion List. But in most cases it does serve its purpose and keep new blood coming into organization. Thanks for the comment.


  8. Thanks for explaining the promotion process in detail. My husband is in the Army and I still don’t understand everything he talks about, but it’s started to make more sense after reading these articles. Just goes to show how important it is to maintain merit points.

    1. For a civilian, the STAP Promotion List or Enlisted Promotions System could seem a bit confusing. But once you get a little experience working with it, it’s not so bad or difficult to understand. Thanks for the comment.


      1. The STAP Promotion Process is pretty good. It gives everyone a fair chance to get promoted. Of course, there are still ways to play favorites, but generally speaking it makes sure the people with the most points get promoted first.

        1. So is the STAP promotion plan gauranteed or do they still have the option to promote within? What AR is this regulation under?

          1. From my experience, when there is an opening in a unit, the chain of command has to start by calling the STAP list beginning with # 1. The first person is given the opportunity for the slot. If they do not accept, the unit calls the next person on the list. Some folks refuse the promotion if they have to travel to far. To the best of my knowledge, in the National Guard anyway, a unit cannot promote from within. That is the whole purpose of STAP in the first place: to give everyone a fair chance. I’m not sure which regulation covers STAP. Maybe someone else can chime in here.

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