By Amy PerryJune 20, 2013
FORT LEE, Va. (June 20, 2013) -- The commanding general of the U.S. Army Human Resources Command visited Fort Lee June 12-13 to discuss a number of new human resource initiatives including a new officer evaluation report.
Maj. Gen. Rick P. Mustion said the opportunity to speak at Fort Lee was valuable because it was an opportunity to reach a majority of the force sustainment career field.
"One of my objectives is to engage the Army by talking to commanders, noncommissioned officers and officers to make them aware of major policy changes going on within the Army while listening to their thoughts and insights on things we can do better," he said.
Addressing the new OERs, Mustion said they will specifically key in on leader attributes and competencies from a doctrinal perspective.
"We'll assess the officer on what a leader is and what a leader does," he said. "We're assessing an officer specifically on those attributes and competencies from our doctrine -- how well does that officer lead; how well this officer develops; and what is this officer's intellect and character?"
There will be three different OERs: a company grade officer report that assesses direct leadership skills, a field grade officer report that covers indirect leadership and applying attributes and competencies, as well as broader experiences and skills; and a report for colonels and generals that looks at strategic leadership.
This change is all about improving an officer's leadership abilities, and the new OER is needed to meet the changes in doctrine, Mustion said.
"The current OER we have in place has been around since 1997; it's a very mature and effective tool," Mustion said. "It allows us to identify our officers for promotion, command and school. It's also a tool to develop our officers, but it didn't keep pace with doctrine. As our philosophy of leadership has developed over the years, our evaluation report didn't keep pace. We now have clear doctrine that says this is what a leader is and this is what a leader does."
Another initiative from HRC involves increasing Soldiers' time on station. Currently, Soldiers average about 37 months at any installation, said Mustion, and personnel actions have been managed at a brigade level.
"We are starting to transition to increase the ability of senior mission commanders to move a Soldier from one brigade to another to provide the Soldier with the development and professional opportunities they need," he said, mentioning that a byproduct of that is less moves for the Soldier and his or her family. "This can be beneficial to families because they stay in place longer while the Soldier continues to develop professionally."
For example, a Fort Lee NCO could move from a brigade to CASCOM headquarters or Army Logistics University to work. Soldiers can serve in different environments on the same installation -- helping them to greatly increase their experience over the years -- while reducing the need to move stations, said Mustion.
As the Army continues to downsize, Mustion said he hears a lot of Soldier concerns about the uncertainty of the future.
"We are going to retain the very best officers and noncommissioned officers, and with that, the best families,' said Mustion. "And for those Soldiers we do have to separate from the Army, we're going to prepare them to be successful through a very robust transition program that sets them up to be successful in the civilian world or sets them up to serve in the reserve component."
Keeping personnel records straight is a must for Soldiers in these uncertain times, said Mustion.
"Remarkably, we've found that our officers and senior noncommissioned officers are not taking the time to make sure that the records that go before the selection boards are complete and accurate," he said. "There's a tool called My Board File that our NCOs and officers have access to when they are being considered by a board, and Soldiers should use this to ensure their records are complete."
Mustion said the Army is the best in the world, and even while downsizing, there are programs in place to ensure the best continue to serve.
"Even in an era of fiscal austerity and reductions, our training and development programs will continue to invest in developing leaders and bringing officers and Soldiers into the Army," he said. "They will also continue to develop and create opportunities for them to build the depth, experience and skills we need to be the best Army in the world."