According to an Army announcement, junior enlisted soldiers will soon have to pin on the rank of corporal before they may become sergeants. Corporals are formally acknowledged as noncommissioned officers, yet they continue to be paid at the same E-4 level as specialists. As a junior NCO, a corporal also assumes command of a small unit, such as a fire department. All active-duty specialists who have been nominated for promotion and have passed the Basic Leader Course will be appointed to corporal beginning July 1st. BLC is a requirement for joining the NCO corps. Current corporals must meet the criteria for advancement and complete BLC or be reassigned as specialists later.