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Senior NCOs could face tougher QSP rules

Sep. 5, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
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New procedures that would allow certain documents in the restricted section of a noncommissioned officer’s official personnel file to be included in Qualitative Service Program retention screenings are being considered for implementation in fiscal 2014.

If approved by Pentagon officials, the new procedures would apply to the sergeant first class QSP boards that convene Oct. 22 in conjunction with the Regular Army and Active Guard and Reserve (Army Reserve) master sergeant promotion selection boards.

As with previous QSP boards, the October panels will focus on soldiers in overstrength military occupational specialties, MOSs with limited promotion opportunity or both.

As established in 2012, the QSP is a tool for managing force reductions during a drawdown by retaining soldiers with the greatest potential for future contributions.

In support of that strategy, the Army will incorporate the consideration of certain “within-grade” documents from the restricted folder of the Army Human Resources Record determined by officials to be accurate, relevant and complete.

Normally, such derogatory information is not provided to selection boards. Under the proposed change, such documents would be limited to items that have been placed in a soldier’s file during their current grade. Such procedures also will be used for the upcoming Selective Early Retirement Board for officers.

Documents to be included in the QSP changes are:

■ Article 15 and other Uniform Code of Military Justice actions that have not been set aside by proper authority.

■ Department of the Army Suitability Evaluation Board filings of unfavorable information.

■ Punitive or administrative letters of reprimand, admonition or censure.

The upcoming QSP screening for sergeants first class will be one of the largest yet conducted, with all but 18 of the 180 Regular Army enlisted MOSs targeted for downsizing. Specialties not included in the screening are from the priority career fields of Special Forces, electronic warfare, military intelligence, acquisition, medical, recruiting and ammunition.

The Active Guard and Reserve screening will exclude soldiers in more than 60 MOSs from these fields: engineer, aviation, armor, signal, military police, military intelligence, civil affairs, psychological operations, acquisition, medical, recruiting, transportation, mechanical maintenance, supply and electronic maintenance.

Sergeants first class with dates of rank of Oct. 23, 2009, or earlier, and service entry dates of Oct. 23, 1988, or later, and who hold one of the designated overstrength specialties, will be included in the QSP zone of consideration.

Because the zone of eligibility includes senior NCOs with more than 15 years of service, some soldiers selected for separation may opt for the Temporary Early Retirement Authority if they have at least 15 but fewer than 20 years of active service.

Soldiers who are approved for early retirement receive the same benefits as those who retire with 20 or more years of service, but their pay is reduced accordingly.

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