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Strained by war, U.S. Army promotes unqualified soldiers

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In essence, an Army policy implemented in 2005 and expanded this year lowered the bar for enlisted soldiers with the rank of E-4 to gain the rank of sergeant, or E-5, by diminishing the vetting process. According to more than a half dozen current and former Army sergeants interviewed by Salon, the policy has produced sergeants who are not ready to lead. In some cases, soldiers were promoted even after being denied advancement by their own unit commanders. While awarding a promotion once required effort on the part of a commander, those interviewed say, the Army's current policy actually requires effort to prevent a promotion, and has had negative consequences on the battlefield.

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