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NEWS | Sept. 19, 2023

Army to once again require NCOs to attend school for promotions

By Josephine Pride

Beginning in January 2024, the Army will reinstate its existing Select, Train, Educate and Promote Policy, which requires noncommissioned officers to complete professional military education training courses before they can be promoted.

“Initial implementation of STEP was suspended due to temporary conditions, but those have passed, therefore we move forward, ensuring our Soldiers have the training and resources they need to succeed as leaders in our Army” said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael R. Weimer. “STEP will help ensure our NCOs are ready to train Soldiers to be brilliant at the basics and lead them through the reps and sets required to master the fundamentals needed to execute successfully as warfighters.”

In 2020, the Army initiated several exceptions for PME course requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which restricted travel and training. Instead, the Army adopted temporary provisions to continue promoting Soldiers regardless of their training completion status.

In order to sustain its professional NCO Corps, the Army will reinstate the training requirement and will only use the temporary provisions for Soldiers who cannot attend PME courses due to special circumstances, which include:

  • Deployment while serving in an imminent danger pay or hostile fire pay area, serving on an operational/rotational deployment projected for eight months or more, or serving on a contingency operation directed by the Secretary of Defense, including overseas mobilizations for Army Reserve Troop Program Units (TPU) Soldiers.
  • Pregnancy/postpartum while serving on a temporary profile due to pregnancy or postpartum.
  • Training while enrolled in the non-resident portion of the Sergeants Major Academy following graduation from the corresponding resident course, or while assigned to Army Futures Command and actively enrolled in the Software Factory or the Artificial Intelligence Integration Center training courses.
  • Readiness issues caused by specific military occupational specialties or grade combinations dropping below acceptable levels.

The enlisted evaluation boards of fiscal years 2023 and 2024 will establish the order of merit lists that will prioritize Soldiers for training. All implementation plans and rules for execution will be announced through a military personnel message later, and detailed instructions and answers to frequently asked questions will be posted to the Army Human Resources Command website.

The director of the Army National Guard will publish specific guidance, including implementation dates, for the Army National Guard, and the chief of Army Reserve will provide implementation guidance and instructions for USAR Soldiers.

NCO Training and educating is an Army priority, and the NCO Corps is an essential part of the Army's institutional success.

The Army established the STEP policy to develop an agile and adaptive NCO Corps by investing in professional military education through a deliberate, continuous, and progressive lifelong learning process.

The Army is committed to ensuring its NCOs receive training and education in order to enable their career progression and increase force readiness.

Reinforcement of Select, Train, Education, Promote (STEP) Policy for noncommissioned officer (NCO) promotions and limited application of temporary promotions