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Enlisted Promotions: Ethical Challenges

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[Technical Report, Research Paper]

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Army NCOs face an ethical challenge when it comes to the promotion of enlisted Soldiers. The biggest reason for this challenge is the operational tempo and requirements the Army faces today. Multiple deployments and rapid personnel turnover have put a strain on the personnel system that hasnt been seen in decades. This strain forces NCOs to make difficult ethical choices as they guide Soldiers through the promotion process. While personnel turnover is nothing new, many military occupational specialties MOS have lost a greater percentage of junior noncommissioned officers since the Global War on Terrorism began in 2001. Traditionally, NCOs spent several years training and mentoring Soldiers before recommending them for promotion. NCOs forced Soldiers to demonstrate that they could uphold the standards of the NCO Corps and lead others. Today, NCOs dont have the luxury of carefully observing Soldiers over a period of years and then culling the herd. Because of the holes in the junior NCO ranks, the chain of command often forces NCOs to send Soldiers to promotion boards who are either not ready to make that step or who have proved themselves incapable of being NCOs. This is the first of the ethical dilemmas in the process. Every NCO looks at the Soldiers in his or her unit and sees one or more that they believe will eventually make a good NCO. Likewise, every NCO looks at the same group and recognizes some Soldiers that should never become NCOs. The dilemma comes when the chain of command forces the NCO to send both groups to the promotion board.

Subject Categories:

  • Sociology and Law
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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[A, Approved For Public Release]