Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Some noncommissioned Army officers who have been selected for promotion will be able to advance to their new ranks before completing required pre-promotion courses, per a new policy which will go into effect in the new year.
The policy change is meant to streamline the promotion process for deployed soldiers and pregnant soldiers, giving the latter a path to promotion even when their pregnancy keeps them from attending professional military education.
Under the new policy, soldiers who are selected for promotion and meet every other requirement apart from professional military education courses can still move up to their next rank, provided the only barrier to that education is deployment or pregnancy.
"These scenarios like starting a family or deploying in a combat zone ... should not be a reason that soldiers' careers should be put on hold," said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston. "Listening to our soldiers, it's something routinely people have said, especially for pregnancies, they're saying, 'Hey, when do I start a family?'"
Prior to the policy change, deployed soldiers could obtain an exception that allowed them to temporarily skip military education courses, but that allowance was not available to pregnant soldiers.
The policy only impacts a few hundred deployed troops currently, but Grinston said the policy was crafted with the understanding that if combat operations scale up, the Army would need a more fluid promotion system.