I guess it is more or less the same, years of service basically and routine performance evaluations or finding a way to accelerate the normal pace of climbing up the rank ladder by doing something very risky and very off-the-record or carrying out successfully an extremely important mission. For example, Damar became a Gul after finding a way to bring down the minefield blockading the wormhole.
If you look at the first book of the “Terok Nor” trilogy, you will see Dukat as a Dalin first, five years later he was a Dal already and after the Tzenkethi marauder mission he became a Gul.
The books also state that better connected officers are likely to advance more quickly than those coming from a humble background. It also depended on the superior, the Gul in charge. So the personnel who served under successful commanders was likely to be promoted faster than those serving under unremarkable, commonplace officers.
A Monument of the Known and Unknown Soldier
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