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Department of Defense


NUMBER 1320.12

October 30, 1996


SUBJECT:  Commissioned Officer Promotion Program

References:  (a)  DoD Directive 1320.12, subject as above, February 4, 1992 (hereby canceled)

(b)  Title 10, United States Code

(c)  DoD Instruction 1320.13, "Commissioned Officer Promotion Reports (COPRs) and Procedures," June 21, 1996

(d)  DoD Instruction 1320.14, "Commissioned Officer Promotion Program Procedures," September 24, 1996


This Directive:

1.1.  Reissues reference (a).

1.2.  Updates policy and responsibilities for administering the commissioned officer promotion program in the Department of Defense under reference (b).

1.3.  Incorporates Reserve component policies and responsibilities resultant from the Reserve Officer Personnel Management Act under subtitle E of reference (b).


This Directive applies to:

2.1.  The Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the Military Departments.  The term "Military Services," as used herein, refers to the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Marine Corps.

2.2.  The selection of commissioned officers for promotion on the Active Duty List or Reserve Active Status List to the grades of captain through major general in the Army, the Air Force, and the Marine Corps, and lieutenant through rear admiral in the Navy.


It is DoD policy:

3.1.  To require that the Secretaries of the Military Departments ensure that all selection boards are conducted in full compliance with all applicable statutes and directives.

3.2.  To ensure the independence and integrity of selection boards by preventing unauthorized communications to selection boards.

3.3.  To provide careful consideration for all officers eligible for promotion, without prejudice or partiality, and to ensure each officer has an opportunity to review and comment on any information (other than information contained in the officers official military personnel file) furnished to the board regarding that officer.

3.4.  To provide an adequate officer inventory to meet projected manpower and skill requirements for each competitive category and grade.  That inventory should reflect the appropriate distribution of officers by grade, experience, and skill.

3.5.  To provide relatively similar promotion opportunities over a period of the next 5 years in each grade and competitive category.  It is recognized that promotion opportunity and timing, as determined by the Secretary of the Military Department concerned, may vary based on needs.  However, it is desirable that the promotion of officers serving on the Active Duty List be as shown in enclosure 2 of DoD Instruction 1320.13 (reference (c)).  For Reserve component officers, promotions are based on force requirements; the Secretary of the Military Department concerned shall determine the timing and opportunity variables for promotion.

3.6.  That the number of officers on the Active Duty List who may be recommended for promotion to the grades of O-4 through O-6, from among those being considered from below the promotion zone in any competitive category, may not exceed 10 percent of the maximum number of officers to be recommended for promotion in such competitive category.  If the Secretary of the Military Department concerned determines the needs of the Military Service concerned require additional recommendations from below the promotion zone, he or she may, with the approval of the Secretary of Defense, provide for the recommendation of a greater number.  In that case, the number of officers selected may not exceed 15 percent of the total number of the officers that the selection board is authorized to recommend for promotion.


4.1.  The Assistant Secretary of Defense for Force Management Policy, under the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, shall:

4.1.1.  Exercise cognizance and oversight of the DoD commissioned officer promotion programs.

4.1.2.  Exercise those authorities delegated or redelegated to him or her by the Secretary of Defense for officer promotions.

4.1.3.  Review reports of selection board proceedings and associated materials (e.g., convening notices, written instructions to selection boards) for compliance with law and governing DoD Directives and Instructions.

4.1.4.  Oversee the preparation of the Department's Commissioned Officer Promotion Reports.

4.1.5.  Approve, but not modify or disapprove, reports of boards selecting officers to grades below O-7.

4.2.  The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff shall:

4.2.1.  Ensure an officer currently serving in a Joint Duty Assignment (JDA) is identified to serve on any Active Duty List promotion selection board that will consider officers who are serving in, or have served in, JDAs.

4.2.2.  Review and provide comment on reports of Active Duty List promotion selection board proceedings that considered officers who are serving or have served in JDAs.

4.3.  The Secretaries of the Military Departments shall:

4.3.1.  Administer the promotion programs of their Military Departments, ensuring compliance with this Directive, DoD Instruction 1320.14 (reference (d)) and all applicable laws.

4.3.2.  Establish competitive categories, as required, to manage, in relation to the requirements of the officer category concerned, the career development and promotion of certain groups of officers whose specialized education, training, or experience, and often relatively narrow utilization, make separate career management desirable.

4.3.3.  Convene individual selection boards under Sections 611(a) and 14101(a) of 10 U.S.C. (reference (b)), as circumstances warrant, to fill existing or anticipated Service requirements in each competitive category.  Selection boards convened for different competitive categories or grades may be convened concurrently.

4.3.4.  Ensure that each selection board is composed in accordance with Sections 612 and 14102 of 10 U.S.C. (reference (b)).

4.3.5.  Appoint eligible, qualified board members who can perform their duties without prejudice or partiality and not appoint individual board members for the purpose of affecting the selection of any individual by the board.

4.3.6.  Ensure that no official, civilian or military:  Directs that a particular individual be selected or not be selected by a selection board;  Censures, reprimands, or admonishes the selection board or any member of the board with respect to the recommendations of the board or the exercise of any function within the discretion of the board; or,  Attempts to coerce or, by any unauthorized means, influence any action of a selection board or any member of a selection board in the formulation of the board's recommendations.

4.3.7.  Approve the appointment of officers in the grades of O-2 and O-3 on the Active Duty List.


This Directive is effective immediately for selection boards involving the promotion of officers on the Active Duty List and on October 1, 1996, for selection boards involving the promotion of officers on the Reserve Active Status List.

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