attrition, financial incentives are used to attract recruits to serve in understrength MOSs.
Soldiers entering a second term are generally at the level of corporal (E-4) or sergeant (E-5). Once a soldier reenlists for a second term, he or she is tracked by the U.S. Total Army Personnel Command, providing information on rank, time in rank, training, special skills, location, and time at location. These files are used in conjunction with information on spaces to be filled at each level, in each MOS, and at each geographic location to make decisions about promotion, training, and distribution of enlisted personnel. As soldiers continue their careers and meet criteria for promotion, they are placed on the appropriate promotion lists. Because there may be more individuals eligible for promotion than there are available slots, those on the list are ranked (according to a point system) for purposes of selection. The promotion process at the lower levels (E-1 to E-3) is decentralized, at the midrange (E-4 to E-7) it is partially centralized, and at the top it is centralized (E-8 to E-9). Critical aspects of this progression through the ranks are both skill training and leadership training. The U.S. Army Total Personnel Command maintains several data systems that provide the information needed to manage personnel throughout the Army.
As noted above, most officers stay for their entire careers in the branch they select when entering the Army. Changes are generally made when the structure changes and branches are downsized or when an officer in an overstrength branch applies for duty in an understrength branch. Officers progress through a promotion structure that generally requires time in rank as well as specific training and operational experiences. Above the level of first lieutenant, the promotion process is centralized. Adjustments in the size of the enlisted and officer force and the ratio of officers to enlisted personnel are made as budget and mission requirements change. There is a continuing need to reassess personnel distributions in order to provide the appropriate levels and types of skills in a sufficient number of troops to ensure readiness to meet projected missions.