All Soldiers Must Now Serve as Corporals Before They Can Be Promoted to Sergeant

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The Army on Thursday revamped how junior soldiers will move up to leadership positions, requiring all enlisted soldiers to first pin on the rank of corporal before they can become sergeants.

All soldiers with the rank of specialist who complete the Basic Leader Course, or BLC, and are recommended for advancement by a promotion board will be promoted laterally to corporal, according to new Army policy announced last month. BLC is a required Army school to transition troops from the junior ranks to noncommissioned officers.

Current corporals will need to qualify for promotion and complete BLC or else they will be reassigned as specialists.

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The new policy, originally announced in early June and put in place Thursday, is the most dramatic overhaul of how enlisted promotions work since the Army implemented NCO evaluation reports in 2016. Making corporal a required rank to hold impacts all junior active-duty soldiers and won’t take effect for reservists and guardsmen until Oct. 1.

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