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Understanding the PRB Process

A Promotion Review Board (PRB) is convened to reconsider the promotion status of promotable officers identified or recommended for removal from a promotion list due to misconduct or sub-standard performance.  The PRB can come at the request of the officer’s command, at the direction of the Secretary of the Army, or HRC’s discovery of adverse documentation that should have been seen by a selection board that recommended the officer for promotion.

We usually see a PRB for adverse information identified during the post selection screening process.  HRC typically finds either a CID report or an IG investigation that references some adverse information against the Soldier.  Unfortunately, it does not seem to matter to HRC if the CID or IG report actually ended with no adverse action being taken by the command.  Instead, it is enough to generate a PRB if you have something adverse in your records that was not seen by the promotion board.

Once you receive the official notification of a delay of promotion and a referral to a PRB, you will typically have 14 days (if you are active duty) or 30 days (if you are a reserve soldier) to submit a rebuttal.  Your rebuttal needs to be organized in such a way to provide you with the best opportunity to be retained on the promotion list.  Our office has handled over 50 PRBs in the last year and a half.  We have consistently received positive outcomes based upon our ability to present the most persuasive arguments for our clients.  

Upon receipt of your rebuttal, a PRB will be convened to consider your records.  A PRB is usually conducted within 120 days of receipt of your rebuttal, but may take longer due to board composition and availability.  The board is comprised of six individuals who are all senior to the Soldier being reviewed.  The board will conduct a file evaluation and consider the basis for the PRB consideration.  After reviewing the Soldier’s overall record, the board will take a vote regarding its recommendation to either retain or remove the Soldier from the promotion list.  A majority of the members of the board must agree on any recommendation.

The board’s recommendation will be staffed through channels (G1, OTJAG, VCSA, CSA, and ASA) to the Secretary of the Army, who will direct the officer’s retention or removal from the selection list.  Unfortunately, the staffing requirements for a PRB means that the PRB process is not a quick one.  From initial PRB notification to final Secretary of the Army decision, you are usually looking at anywhere from 12 to 18 months.  

You will receive notification of the final PRB results in one of two ways.  If the Secretary of the Army retains you on the promotion list, you and your G1 will receive notification via official military email.  The email will have the memorandum from the Secretary of the Army and another memorandum that addresses your promotion and any back pay and allowances that may be due.  A request for orders will then be processed to effectuate your promotion.  If the Secretary of the Army removes you from the promotion list, your G1 will receive notification via official military email.  You will then be notified by the chain of command of the removal decision.  Any removal will count as a non-selection.  If you are removed, you will be considered by the next regularly scheduled selection board.  However, that reconsideration cannot take place within 30 days from receipt of your notification of removal.

Understanding the process of a PRB will help you as you not only prepare your rebuttal, but also manage your future assignments.  In the ideal case, the process will result in your retention on the promotion list, back pay, and ability to transfer onto your follow-on assignment without too much impact to your career. 

It is our sincere goal to help you present your best arguments for the PRB and the Secretary of Army’s consideration.  If you are facing a PRB, do not leave anything to chance, reach out to our office for a free initial consultation.