By Staff Sgt. Inez Hammon | 14th Public Affairs Detachment
Editor’s note: The following was edited to include information from the U.S. Army Stand-To! published Feb. 14, 2020, on the U.S. Army Brevet Promotion Program by Army Talent Management Task Force.
While COVID-19 consumed much of the attention in all of 2020, the Army was making adjustments in favor of its Soldiers in early 2020. One change was the implementation of the Brevet Promotion Program, a program intended to alleviate critical shortages of officers to better leverage the talents of junior officers and to incentivize retention of those officers in whom the Army invested for education and experience.
Maj. Emily H. Spencer with 71st Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) was selected for a promotion to lieutenant colonel Sept. 3 through the program.
The brevet promotion program selects officers for temporary promotion to serve at the next higher rank in a critical billet and entitles an officer to be temporarily promoted to the next grade and avail the pay and benefits of the higher rank.
As authorized by the 2019 John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act, brevet promotion is one of the nine new authorities that provide the Army flexibility to determine the characteristics of a talent management system. The Army is authorized up to 770 brevet positions.
Spencer, a native of Henderson, North Carolina, was selected by the Army’s Talent Management Task Force to receive a brevet promotion.
“Being selected for this promotion is a humbling experience,” said Spencer. “I started my career in the Army being surrounded by a strong group of lieutenant colonels, and I always looked to them as being experienced and knowledgeable. It’s hard to think that I’m now in that phase of life … yet I still feel like I have so much to learn.”
Spencer recently returned from a deployment as a battalion executive operations officer, and completed operations at a higher skill level.
The new authority moves the Army toward more flexible career paths for its officers and allows the Army to fill critical shortages with officers who possess the right talent. Brevet promotions are just one of many important personnel reforms which will help the Army transform from an Industrial-era personnel system to a 21st century talent management system.
“Maj. Spencer is a top performer and already working at the lieutenant colonel level,” said Col. David K. Green, commander, 71st EOD. “The brevet promotion initiative has allowed the Army to reward her with a well-deserved early promotion.”
Spencer is currently filling the lieutenant colonel position as the 71st EOD operations officer in charge, but said she hopes to be selected for an EOD battalion command where she can continue to mold and strengthen the EOD community.
“My goal as an EOD officer is to continue learning and growing with respect to the field, and to never lose sight of who we are working for — that team leader who has to make the long walk,” Spencer said.