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Multi-Source Assessment and Feedback (MSAF) Program

What is it?
The MSAF program is a turn-key system that uses an on-line tool to obtain assessments on a leader from others and provides focused feedback to that leader. The purpose of MSAF is to promote self-awareness and individual development based on 360 degree feedback provided to the leader. Improved self-awareness leads to skill improvement, adaptability, and better performance.

What has the Army done?
The MSAF started as a two year pilot program in February 2004 in order to test and demonstrate the value of 360 degree assessments for leader development. The results showed that 97 percent of participants believed the program concept is worthwhile. This pilot program led to a comprehensive, web-enabled system that provides training, event administration, data collection, data security, feedback, development planning, and coaching. The MSAF incorporates the three leader development domains: self development, institutional development, and operational development. The MSAF includes all leaders from both the Active and Reserve Components-commissioned and warrant officers, noncommissioned officers, and Army Civilians. The leader completes a self-assessment, and then selected subordinates, peers, and superiors complete assessments of the leader. The assessments and feedback are focused on the eight leader core competencies found in Field Manual 6-22, Army Leadership.

At the conclusion of the assessment period, the leader can access their protected, electronic Individual Feedback Report (IFR), which can be turned into an Individual Development Plan (IDP). The only person who can access the feedback from the system is the individual but the sources of the assessments are kept confidential. From that point, it is the leader's choice to share the information. A pool of trained and dedicated coaches is available telephonically to help leaders interpret their IFRs and build their IDPs. Commanders do not have access to a Soldier's individual feedback. However, in addition to receiving their own IFRs, commanders receive a unit rollup report that identifies unit strengths and weaknesses and provides valuable feedback for organizational leader development and unit training.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
Individuals are required to initiate an assessment prior to attending professional military education or Civilian education system courses. Active Component brigades are scheduled for participation every three years and Reserve Component brigades every six years. Organizations within the generating force are scheduled every five years. Individuals may utilize the MSAF program at other times on their own initiative.

Why is this important to the Army?
The MSAF program provides a 360-degree approach that is widely used in both the government and private sectors to navigate complex leadership challenges of today and the future. The Army is responding to these challenges by encouraging self-awareness among its leaders; that will lead to improved creativity, agility, and adaptability. The MSAF program is an investment in an individual's professional development and encourages leaders to grow.

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