People are very excited about the 90% promotion opportunity for the recently concluded FY19 Staff Corps O6 promotion board. But it is easy to misinterpret this opportunity. It does not mean that 90% of CDRs will be selected for CAPT. Let’s review promotion board math…
Where Does the Promotion Opportunity Come From?
The short answer is from manpower projections. How many physicians are getting out or retiring? What is the current Medical Corps manning level for that rank? What are future needs anticipated to be? What is the size of the promotion zone?
The answers to all of these questions determines the promotion opportunity and guides PERS and BUMED when they are making their decision.
As you can see here, the promotion opportunity varies from year-to-year:
Historical promotion opportunities for FY13-19.
But as you can see here, the percentage who are promoted from the in zone group is substantially lower:
Historical percentage of in-zone candidates selected for promotion for FY13-18.
FY19 O6 Promotion Board Math
The FY19 lineal list shows that there are 74 CDRs in the FY19 zone. If you take the 90% promotion opportunity and multiply it by 74, you’ll see that they could have promoted 67 CDRs to O6 during the board:
90% opportunity X 74 people in zone = 66.6 (rounded up to 67) people they can pick for O6
These 67, though, could have been picked from CDRs who were below zone, in zone, or above zone. Usually, there is one person picked from below zone, and a number from the in zone and above zone categories. The exact mix won’t be known until they release the results in May.
The Bottom Line
I’d much rather have a 90% promotion opportunity for O6 than the 50% in FY16, but the actual percentage of CDRs who were picked from this year’s zone won’t be known until May. If I had to guess, the 90% promotion opportunity will lead to approximately 40% of those in zone being selected, but my guess could be way off. We’ll just have to wait and see.