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Part 2 Schools and Courses How to get promoted to SFC in the Army

Updated: Apr 12, 2021

You're tired of watching the Platoon Sergeant sit in the office watching YouTube and perusing Facebook while you slave away making sure that the vehicles are FMC and managing the priorities of the platoon put out in the morning meeting. What do they do anyway? You run all the reports for them.... all they do is go to meetings..... when they are there. You should be getting paid more than you are and you know you could make a difference and do it better. It's time to work towards promotion and here you will find out where to start and what you need to do to get promoted in the Army.

Here in part 2 we are going to discuss Schools and Courses. Hold tight because we are going to take a sneak peek into what schools, courses, and broadening assignments the Army prefers.

As you are preparing to be promoted as a senior noncommissioned officer, you must realize that promotions are now much more competitive than they have been before. For the most part, as a junior, you are competing against yourself for promotion. Here, you are being scrutinized by a group of people you don't even know and all they have is a digital file filled with things you have done to determine what they will ultimately score you and where you will end up on the OML for NCOES and ultimately promotion.

Broadening assignments are NOT required to be promoted to SFC by regulation but there may be requirements to complete a broadening assignment to stay competitive with the top of your Career Management Field (CMF) in order to be competitive in the Select, Train, Educate, Promote (STEP) system. If you are in a small CMF or MOS, it may be required just to stay competitive with your peers. You also need to consider what your recommended career path is and when you will have the opportunity to complete Key Developmental (KD) positions. Depending on your MOS, you may need to complete your KD positions, like Platoon Sergeant, before you go for a broadening assignment. This tells the Army that you are trained in the key positions they deem necessary to make quality leaders they want to promote.

Many aspiring Staff Sergeants are well informed and know that a broadening assignment will help them stand out against their peers and they turn their eyes to recruiting, instructing, or drill. If you really want to be as competitive as you can, DON'T do any of those! It's not because of the horror stories you hear about a career being flushed down the drain because someone either lacked discipline or just had a false claim pinned against them. In most cases I believe that if you know regulation, know what you are doing, and have the best interest of both yourself and the Soldier in mind, you will be fine.

When you hear of someone getting a broadening assignment to do something, what is it in? I would argue that 90% of the time or greater that it is in one of the three categories mentioned above. These assignments will make you more competitive and definitely help you out because not everyone gets them at the right time in their career, if at all, and even fewer get through the assignment with no derogatory marks on their record so overall they are still good assignments to get if you time them right and perform well. Think about it though, if you mostly hear of people getting these assignments for broadening then how do you top that to be even more competitive? What else can you do that will be more prestigious and get you a better spot on the OML? Think about nominative assignments that require an interview and have a much smaller pool of applicants who are qualified and get in.

This is why I looked into three different assignments all packet driven with interviews: IG NCO, Defense Attache, and Project Warrior. Okay so this may be my opinion but let's see what the Army has to say when they rack and stack the programs. Below you can see a recent update to uniform policy that allows you to wear multiple ID badges on your uniform. The Army put an order of precedence on the badges and therefore the schools and assignments that support those badges. This shows what they hold to the highest regard. See where your assignment would rank.

Not all broadening assignments come with their own badge but if you want to rack and stack yourself against your peers for future promotion, put yourself as high as you can on this list for an assignment that will benefit your career and land you a badge for your uniform. Looks like The Old Guard is the place to be with both Tomb Guard and Horseman opportunities.

There are several context clues throughout documents and regulation that show what the Army places higher priority on to guide you to be more competitive from how many promotion points they assign to a topic to how they assign order of precedence. Keep that in mind and plan your career accordingly. Out of 12 years in and 6 assignments, the Army has only chosen 1 for me. All the rest were carefully planned and orchestrated to meet mine and my families goals. Take charge of your career and be competitive!

Check our blog for insights into SLC and senior NCOES tips and expectations.

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