WASHINGTON — The all-volunteer force can expect several changes in terms of promotion, evaluation and professional development, as the Army looks at new strategies for overhauling its personnel management system.
During a panel discussion, Oct. 13, at the 2011 Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition, here, Army leaders briefed Soldiers and civilians on what they can expect as the service looks to 2020.
Thomas Lamont, assistant secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, said Army management for manpower will transform during the next nine years.
“The Army of 2020 must retain high-quality individuals,” he explained. “We must be more flexible and informed (and be) better able to identify and draw on the unique skills and talents within the force to more easily address specific missions.
“Our goal is to create institutional agility, so that we are able to expand and contract the force to meet new missions, changing environments and emerging crises,“ he said.
To achieve that goal, Lt. Gen. Thomas Bostick, deputy chief of staff, personnel headquarters, said the Army must maintain and manage the talent it has within the force.
“We are very, very good at developing leaders, and we are focused now on how do we do it better,” Bostick said. “You can talk to any industry out there, and they will look at the U.S. Army as a great example of how we develop young leaders, officers, noncommissioned officers, warrant officers and civilians. We want to keep that reputation as we move forward.”
Bostick said, during the next year, the U.S. Military Academy and the Training and Doctrine Command will roll out a new initiative called broadening. This initiative will allow officers to gain knowledge, skills and abilities through various assignments outside their core competency. The new initiative provides opportunities to work as fellows with government and civilian agencies, participate in military exchange programs, train within industries and teach at colleges and universities.
Other changes include implementing a senior rater box on the officer evaluation report for all grades, brigadier general and below, with the exception of chief warrant officer 5, and incorporating comments on Officer Efficiency Reports, or OERs, for the 360 assessment.
The 360 assessment allows peers and subordinates to rate a Soldier’s performance through the past three years. Bostick compared the 360 assessment to an after-action review, adding that officers need to become “comfortable with the dialogue” in the assessment.
Sgt. Maj. Tom Giles, personnel headquarters, said the Army also plans to develop its NCO Corps, through changes in schools and training. Soldiers can now take structured self-development training, which Giles said encompasses “all the key things that we don’t have time to get to in institutionalized training — things like the culture and traditions of the service, information that is critical to young service members.”
Giles said the NCO evaluation report, or NCOER, will change, adding that the document has “had its day.”
“We need to get back to accountability,” he said.
Additional recommendations for improving the NCO rating system include a multi-source assessment tool and ways to increase senior rater and rater accountability.
The National Guard and Reserves are also looking at ways to overcome challenges and provide the training needed to develop strong leaders.
“We want our NCOs and our Soldiers to have the developmental opportunities they need,” said Maj. Gen. Ray Carpenter, acting director, Army National Guard. “Our challenge is to make sure that they have the same education and the same training as their active duty counterparts, so they can have the same opportunities they deserve.”