Army Human Resources commander visits Fort Drum
April 18, 2013
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- The commanding general for U.S. Army Human Resources Command visited Fort Drum on Monday and briefed an audience of officers and noncommissioned officers.
Maj. Gen. Richard Mustion provided updates on changes to evaluation reports and discussed ways of retaining the quality of our personnel.
During his briefing, the discussion and interaction brought up new ideas and topics that could facilitate a better working Army. Changes that will occur in the personnel system include the drawdown in total number of Soldiers and changes in evaluation reports.
Mustion focused on maintaining the quality of service members while slowly meeting the Army's goals of a personnel drawdown. In past drawdowns, the Army made cuts quickly and therefore left gaps in certain personnel. Currently, the goal is to keep personnel and not make large cuts without deliberate planning, Mustion said. The needs and care of those individuals leaving the Army also will be taken under close consideration to ensure veterans are taken care of before their departure.
The general's three main talking points at Fort Drum were to explain the major changes to the Officer Evaluation Report, along with a discussion of how selection occurs.
According to Mustion, the most important changes to the evaluation reports concern how the Army assesses leaders while keeping them accountable by being able to complete their mission. The biggest difference in the new evaluation is the direct alignment to the manner of performance with leadership doctrine and the ability to show the manner of performance by a rater's comments.
Additionally, a Soldier's potential is clarified through his or her senior rater's comments by getting to the point with precise writing. The end state is to encourage the type of dialogue that focuses on future leadership and improvement for the individual Soldier.
The second goal is to get feedback from NCOs and officers in reference to their concerns about what is important to their Families and careers in order to maintain readiness in the Army, Mustion said.
Readiness of the Army is facilitated through dialogue at these types of events. Feedback by officers and NCOs is important to clarify shortages and needs within the Army.
The Army has programs in place to help those looking to transition through retirement or separation. Some of the changes include active-duty personnel moving to National Guard and Reserve posi- tions in order to keep a balance during these transitions. Other options in place are education, business and training opportunities that are available to those looking at transition.
"Part of one of our major objectives at Human Resources Command is to increase our engagement with the Army," Mustion said. "That engagement is going out and talking to the field, so that the folks in the field have an understanding of the Army's manning priorities, of major changes that are going on in the Army personnel system, and at the same time, gain feedback from the field."
The third topic covered possible OER updates. Excellent ideas have come from the field for updating the evaluation reports, Mustion said. The importance of focusing comments on performance to match leadership qualities and overall performance is the first change being implemented.
The second major change is the capability of a senior rater to focus comments on overall potential in future duties. This includes discussion of how programs available can be implemented to facilitate a Soldier's progression and career path. Leaders from throughout the Army were brought in to facilitate the discussion and get feedback in reference to their progression, Mustion said.
"We will transition to three different OERs -- one focused on company grade and junior warrants, (one on) field grade and senior warrants, (and one on) strat- egic leaders," Mustion said. "There will be three different reports that focus on competency and attributes and level of performance expected at those different grade plates."
Mustion mentioned the 490,000 active-duty force goal the Army must reach by the end of fiscal year 2017. To meet that requirement, leadership has issued guidance to drawdown at a gradual pace the Army controls.
"We came to help clarify issues and dispel rumors or myths," he said. "Feedback also helps us identify gaps in personnel programs as we work to make things better for the Army."