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New, stricter junior NCO retention policy
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Junior noncommissioned officers who want to make the Army a career will have to meet higher expectations starting June 1, when new retention-control points take effect.
For the first time since 1993, the Army will raise its retention standards for lower-ranking noncommissioned officers, 3rd Infantry Division chief of staff Lt. Col. Stephen Aiton said.
Changes to these retention-control points will not affect senior NCOs in the ranks of promotable staff sergeant and above, Aiton confirmed.
He said via the 3rd ID’s Facebook page that the strengthened policy is “designed to align personnel and training policies to prepare leaders for challenges the Army faces after eight years of war.”
Changes to the RCPs will shorten service time for the following rank, according to Aiton: Staff sergeant will go from 23 to 20 years, promotable sergeants will go from 20 to 15 years, sergeants from 15 to 13 years, and promotable corporal or specialist will go from 15 to 12 years.
He emphasized the new RCPs should not affect soldiers who “make rank along normal timelines.”
On average, promotions occur at one year for private first class, two years for specialist, four and a half years for sergeant and slightly more than seven years for staff sergeant, Aiton said.
Aiton and 3rd ID command career counselor Command Sgt. Maj. Derrick Moodie said the retention policy revision is more about “raising the bar” in terms of an NCO’s leadership capabilities than it is about reducing troop numbers. Moodie said the Army will reduce itself through normal attrition, with soldiers retiring and the end of the Stop Loss policy.
Moodie said young NCOs should not wait to be promoted, but should more actively strive toward each promotion by working to score higher on promotion boards and physical fitness tests and take college courses when offered; in short, compete for promotions and not allow their military careers to stagnate.
“It’s more of an incentive to those who are lagging,” Aiton said.
Moodie stressed the new policy does not mean young NCOs will have to get out of the Army as of June 1; they can finish out their contracted obligation. He said the new RCPs “put them on notice” that if they don’t meet these higher standards, their Army careers likely will end sooner.
“There are also provisions in the new policy for soldiers who reach new service limits while deployed and for NCOs who exceed RCP while serving on indefinite reenlistments,” Aiton said on Facebook.
“This is all about (our soldiers) pushing and doing better,” Moodie said. “If we set benchmarks, our soldiers will attain them.”

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