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Can I be rated by a leader that is junior to me by time in grade or date of rank?

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The Short Answer is “Yes”

IAW with AR 623-3 paragraph 2-5a which states: The Rater will normally be senior to the rated Soldier in grade or date of rank.

The keyword in this reference is normally This allows flexibility and the ability for a Junior Leader with regard to time in grade and/or date of rank to rate Senior Leader.


AR 623-3 paragraph 2-5c states: DA Form 2166–9 series rater eligibility. The military rater will be a SGT or above and senior to the rated NCO by grade or date of rank (see AR 600–20).

Therefore there is a conflict in the regulation that needs to be sorted out before a decision of this nature is considered.


In my opinion the likelihood of this exception occurring is rare and would only be used in the most unusual circumstances.

Example 1: A Senior Leader has been found to be lacking in technical skill requirements to perform certain duties. The Junior Leader is a technical expert. In this case the chain of command might find it necessary for the Junior Leader to rate the Senior Leader. The goal would be for the Junior Leader to train the Senior Leader. There is a potential that the Senior Leader will not improve their technical skills and they could receive poor marks on their evaluation report for lack of technical knowledge and/or incompetence.

Example 2: A Senior Leader was involved in some act that caused the chain of command to lose trust and confidence in the Senior Leader and they now feel it necessary to change raters and the only person with the technical expertise or ability to supervise the senior person based on geographical location is a Junior Person.

Items to Consider

  1. Is this the best course of action?
  2. Is there another solution or course of action?
    • Can the Senior Leader be supervised by a more Senior Leader like a platoon sergeant, 1SG, or a platoon leader?
  3. If this action is really necessary should the chain of command consider administrative reduction in grade and/or UCMJ action?
  4. Would a disinterested reasonable person see your decision to have a Junior Leader rate a Senior Leader as reasonable and just?
  5. Can the Senior Leader be reassigned to other duties that allow them to be supervised by a more Senior Leader?
  6. What impact with this decision have on the Senior Leader?
    • Will cause the Senior Leader to be a risk to themselves or others?
    • Will this cause the original issue to increase in intensity?
    • Will this action humiliate the Senior Leader?
    • Will this action cause such animosity between the Junior and Senior Leader that the relationship becomes untenable?
    • Is the Junior Leader capable of Leading the Senior Leader?
  7. Under what conditions will the chain of command move the Senior Leader to another supervisory chain?
    • When the Senior Leader becomes technically competent?
    • When the Senior Leader regains the trust and confidence of the chain of command?
    • When the Senior Leader leaves the unit?
  1. Before taking such action the chain of command should consider contacting the JAG and/or the IG to ensure the actions they take are appropriate and that the Senior person will receive a fair and just evaluation report.
  2. This action could be seen as a way to humiliate the Senior person so caution should be exercised when taking this course of action.


I saw this happen one time in my career. The Senior Leader was involved in a series incident as a result of technical incompetence. The chain of command lost trust and confidence in the Senior Leader and selected a rater Junior by date of rank. The Junior Leader was to train the Senior Leader in technical skills. Eventually either as a result of humiliation or lack of capacity to learn the Senior Leader failed to improve and was administratively reduced in grade.

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Mark is a Retired Command Sergeant Major with 26 years of military leadership experience. He held 3 military occupational specialties (Field Artillery, Nuclear Weapons Tech, and Ammunition Ordnance). Mark is one of the leading military authors in the fields of leadership, counseling, and training.

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