Title 10 of the U.S. Code provides specific requirements for the composition of officer selection boards and the processes to be followed by officer selection boards.
10 U.S. Code § 611: Whenever required by the military, Service Secretaries will convene selection boards to select officers for recommendation for promotion, continuation, or early retirement.
10 U.S. Code § 612: Service Secretaries determine the composition of selection boards. Each board must contain at least five officers, all of whom must be from the same service as and in a higher grade than the officers being considered (but not below O4). If possible, the board must include at least one officer from each competitive category being considered. When Reserve officers are being considered for promotion, the board, if possible, must include at least one active-duty Reserve officer. If officers serving in, or will serve in, joint duty assignments will be considered, the board must include an officer currently serving in a joint duty assignment. This may be waived for a Marine Corps selection board.
10 U.S. Code § 615: SECDEF sets regulations about information available to promotion boards. Service Secretaries prescribe the maximum number of promotions to be made for each grade and competitive category. Service Secretaries also provide the names of officers to be considered for promotion, as well as guidelines for consideration, including skills needed and consideration of joint duties.
10 U.S. Code § 616: Based on guidelines provided by Service Secretaries, promotion boards shall select best-qualified candidates for promotion within their competitive categories.
10 U.S. Code § 619: Officers may, with approval of the Service Secretary, opt out of promotion consideration if the basis of the request is to complete a broadening assignment, advanced education, another assignment of significant value to the Department, or a career progression requirement delayed by the assignment or education.
10 U.S. Code § 624: Officers selected for promotion are placed on a promotion list in order of seniority or based on particular merit, as determined by the promotion board.
10 U.S. Code § 14101: Service Secretaries may convene selection boards to consider officers on the reserve active-status list (RASL) for promotion to grades O3 through O8, or for early separation.
DODI 1320.14: The CJCS shall propose guidelines for SECDEF approval to the Service Secretaries to ensure promotion boards give appropriate consideration to performance of joint officers. CJCS reviews promotion and special selection board reports that have considered joint officers, adding his or her determinations and comments.
Service Secretaries are responsible for establishing competitive categories to manage the career development and promotion of groups of officers with similar specialized education, training, or experience. Secretaries shall conduct random interviews of board presidents, members, recorders, and administrative staff to ensure boards are conducted in compliance with applicable law and policy.
Service Secretaries shall nominate to the CJCS at least two qualified and available officers as a possible joint representative for promotion boards that consider joint officers.
Service Secretaries may request permission from the SECDEF to limit the number of officers considered for promotion to O7. Officers may be excluded if they have not been selected for promotion to O7 at least twice or are not exceptionally well-qualified for promotion. No officer can be precluded from consideration except on recommendation of a "promotion screening board" composed of at least three officers in higher grades than those of the officer being considered.
A promotion screening board may not recommend that an officer be precluded from consideration unless the relevant Secretary provides the officer advance written notice of the convening of a screening board and of the military records considered by the board, and has given the officer a reasonable period before the convening of the board to submit written comments. The Secretary of the Military Department concerned will provide written instructions to promotion screening boards
The record of persons referred to special selection boards will be compared by the board to a sampling of records of officers in the same category as determined by the relevant Secretary who were and were not recommended for promotion by the original board.
This DODI contains detailed instructions regarding information provided to boards and shared with individual officers considered for promotion; reporting of board recommendations and board statistics; and board members and recorders.
Air Force Policy
AFPD 36-25: The Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Manpower and Reserve Affairs (SAF/MR) provides policy oversight of and advocates for the Air Force's military promotion and demotion programs, and interfaces with the Office of the Secretary of Defense staff concerning development of Department of Defense promotion and demotion program policy and legislative initiatives. The Deputy Chief of Staff, Manpower, Personnel and Services (AF/A1) develops, coordinates, and executes personnel policy and essential procedural guidance for managing appointments and promotion and demotion programs in collaboration with the Chief of Air Force Reserve and the Director of the Air National Guard. The Chief of Air Force Reserve (AF/RE) executes personnel policy and essential procedural guidance for appointments and promotion and demotion programs for Air Force Reserve personnel and oversees the Reserve force. The Director, Air National Guard (NGB/CF) executes personnel policy and essential procedural guidance for the promotion and demotion programs for Air National Guard personnel and oversees the Air National Guard force.
AFI 36-2501: The Secretary of the Air Force administers the promotion program for active duty officers through the Chief of Staff, USAF, and the Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel (DCS/P); issues written instructions to selection boards; establishes competitive categories, promotion zones, eligibility and selection criteria, promotion opportunity and selection rates; appoints and convenes selection boards..
AFI 36-2504: For Air National Guard of the United States (ANGUS) and United States Air Force Reserve (USAFR) commissioned officers not on the active duty list (ADL), the Air Reserve Personnel Center implements the promotion program approved by the SAF.
ANGI 36-2504: The promotion of officers in the ANG is a function of the State, as distinguished from Federal recognition of such promotions. Federal recognition of a promotion will be at the discretion of the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, acting for the Secretary of the Air Force (SAF). An officer will be promoted as a Reserve of the Air Force effective on the date upon which Federal recognition in the higher grade is extended.
AR 600-8-29: The Secretary of the Army (SECARMY) is the senior official on matters concerning officer promotions. Unless otherwise specified in this regulation, the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) (ASA (M&RA)) is responsible for exercising the HR authorities of the SECARMY, pursuant to Department of the Army (DA) General Orders (AGO) 2019—01. The Chief, National Guard Bureau (CNGB) and the Chief, Army Reserve (CAR) will recommend desired changes of promotion policy to the Deputy Chief of Staff (DCS), G—1. The DCS, G—1 will—— (1) Serve as the senior Army policy official for the officer promotion system and will provide Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA) supervision of officer promotion policy formulation, procedures, goals, architecture, and standards. (2) On behalf of the DCS, G—1, the Commanding General (CG), U.S. Army Human Resources Command (HRC) will conduct and supervise officer promotion functions prescribed in this regulation. The Judge Advocate General (TJAG) will, upon request, review DA promotion policy to verify the legality of inquiries and proposed changes. The Surgeon General, TJAG, and the Chief of Chaplains, as appropriate, will jointly supervise with the CG, HRC the consideration, selection, and promotion of officers assigned to their respective competitive categories.
Whenever the needs of the Service require, the SECARMY will convene selection boards to recommend officers for promotion to the next higher grade according to 10 USC § 573 or 10 USC § 611. The boards will select commissioned officers for promotion to CPT, MAJ, LTC, COL, BG, and MG, and CWOs for promotion to CW3, CW4, and CW5. A separate selection board will convene for each competitive category and grade for commissioned officers; such boards may be convened concurrently. The SECARMY will establish competitive categories for promotion. Officers in the same competitive category will compete among themselves for promotion.
Mandatory selection boards
Mandatory selection boards will convene each year. These boards will consider ARNGUS and USAR officers on the RASL for promotion to CPT through LTC. They will also consider USAR WOs to grades CW3 and CW4 in an active status, not on the ADL. These boards will consider officers for promotion without regard to vacancies in the next higher grade.
Consideration for promotion to colonel
Selection boards will convene at the discretion of the Secretary of the Army. They will consider ARNGUS and USAR officers, in all competitive categories for promotion to COL. These boards will consider and recommend only those who are in an active status.
The Secretary of the Army will: (1) prescribe the minimum TIG for an officer for each competitive category. (2) Require that the name of each officer with the prescribed TIG be placed on the appropriate competitive category list. (3) Prescribe the maximum number of officers to be recommended for promotion from each competitive category (APL, CH, AN, DE, MC, MS, SP, and VC). (4) Announce zones of consideration for promotion to COL on the RASL in all competitive categories.
SECNAVINST 1401.3A: The Secretary of the Navy convenes selection boards for promotions, selective continuation, and selective early retirement/removal. A promotion board shall consider all in- or above-zone officers for promotion and shall consist of five or more active duty list officers of higher rank than the officers being considered for promotion. The competitive category of an officer being considered for promotion should be shared by at least one board member. If reserve officers are being considered for promotion, then the board shall, if possible, include one or more qualified Naval Reserve officers on active duty.
Marine Corps Policy
MCO P1400.31C W/CH 1: A five-year officer promotion plan (updated annually) for each competitive category by grade is prepared by the Manpower Plans and Policy Division (MPP) and approved by the Secretary of the Navy at least 30 days prior to the convening date of a selection board. The plan serves as a planning tool for the development of each board. The plans contain selection opportunities, zone sizes, numbers authorized to select, and any skill guidance for each grade and competitive category. SECNAVINST 1420.1C provides specific guidance on the requirements associated with promotion plans.
Officer promotion boards are based on a fiscal year schedule. In the second quarter of each fiscal year, the Commandant will publish the board schedule for the succeeding fiscal year. At least 30 days prior to the date the board is convened, the CMC must provide (through Manpower and Reserve Affairs (M&RA)) general written notice to eligible officers.
Board composition: M&RA will annually publish membership requirements for selection boards and will coordinate with commands to ensure only highly qualified officers are nominated to serve as members. Once the board adjourns, the board precept, the legal document that orders selection board convening, is released.
To be considered for an active duty selection board, commissioned officers must be on the active duty list (ADL), have completed the minimum time-in-grade requirements, and be identified in the promotion plan for an opportunity for selection. To be eligible for consideration by a Reserve selection board, commissioned officers must be on the Reserve active-status list (RASL), have completed minimum time-in-grade requirements, have continuously performed service on the ADL or RASL for a period of one year, and be identified in the promotion plan for an opportunity for selection.
Board specifics and follow-ups are included in MCO P1400.31C (OFFPROM).
A five-year officer promotion plan (updated annually) for each competitive category by grade is prepared by the Manpower Plans and Policy Division (CMC (MPP)) and approved by the Secretary of the Navy at least 30 days prior to the convening date of a selection board. Each plan serves as a planning tool for the development of each selection board. Each plan contains selection opportunities, zone sizes, numbers authorized to select, and any skill guidance for each grade and competitive category.
Joint Officer Policy
CJCSI 1330.05: Joint Officer Management Program Procedures. For all active component O4 through O6 and reserve component O5 through O6 promotion selection boards that are considering officers who are currently serving or have served in Joint Staff JDAL (Joint Duty Assignment List) positions or are Joint Qualified Officers (JQO): The CJCS will appoint an officer to represent the joint community as a member of the promotion board, and review promotion select board reports to determine whether boards gave appropriate consideration to the performance of officers who are now serving or who have served in Joint Staff JDAL positions or are JQO designated. Officers currently or formerly in JDAL positions, designated as a JQO, or within the OSD are expected, as a group, to be promoted to the next higher grade at a rate not less than the rate for officers in the same Service in the same grade and competitive category.