FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. (July 9, 2015) -- Noncommissioned officer evaluation reports, or NCOER's, are slated to change in 2016, after nearly 30 years.

The new NCO appraisal system is scheduled to roll out in January. Rating officials will have a more accurate way to communicate recommendations for future NCO assignments, selection and promotion potential.

"We've had this noncommissioned officer evaluation system since 1987," said Joseph "Joe" Reynolds III, U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center of Excellence G-1, Human Resources specialist, who is Fort Leonard Wood's lead for NCOER training. "That's when I came into the Army, so, we've been working with the same system forever.

"We are evaluating sergeants on the same piece of paper, the same form, using the same standard and the same metrics we evaluate our command sergeants major. There's something wrong here, that we're evaluating our E5s the same as we're evaluating our E9s," Reynolds said during an NCOER briefing June 10 in Lincoln Hall Auditorium.

"The system has been due for an overhaul," he added.

According to Command Sgt. Maj. Larissa Zeladaparedes, MSCoE Noncommissioned Officers Academy commandant, "The rating system is (designed) to enable leaders to identify talent. It is tailored to assist the leaders to write an evaluation for the three different roles of junior and senior NCO and command sergeant major," she said.

Zeladaparedes added that the new NCOER allows NCOs and their raters to mutually understand the competency progression to develop from Soldier to leader.

"It challenges the rater/senior raters to write an evaluation based on the new duties and responsibilities required in different positions; staff sergeant/master sergeant/first sergeant or command sergeant major. We will no longer have the cookie-cutter approach that was emplaced since 1987," she said.

In addition to being better aligned with how she leads the academy, Zeladaparedes said the new evaluation system challenges NCOs to become the best leaders.

"NCOs are competitive by nature and desire to know if they have what it takes to lead our young warriors," she said. "They will perform their duties with the knowledge that how they serve has made tangible results for the Army mission. Knowing where you stand in comparison with your peers provides purpose and direction. When we achieve standards and exceed our leader's expectations, we are confident NCOs, and simultaneously our leadership identity is developed."

Certified trainers at Fort Leonard Wood will conduct several training sessions this summer to help rating-chain officials who are responsible for preparing and submitting evaluations for their organization to understand the changes.

Upcoming sessions include: 8 a.m. today, Friday, Monday, and Tuesday; and 1 p.m. July 17, 20, 21, 28 and 29, in Lincoln Hall Auditorium. Sessions last approximately three hours, Reynolds said.

"The 1st Engineer Brigade, the 14th Military Police Brigade and the 102nd Reserve Training Division also have certified instructors who are conducting training as well," according to Reynolds.

During a June 10 training session, Reynolds gave an example of the thought process behind the new NCOER system, as it relates to promotions and talent management.

"Eighty-three percent of NCOER's are all "1" -- among the best. That means it's a perfect evaluation," Reynolds said. "How do we determine who gets promoted and who doesn't? Who gets a key assignment and who doesn't? We started getting down to looking at eyelash differences between Soldiers, because all evaluations look the same."

"Promotions are based on force structure needs," he said. "We don't promote based on whose turn it is. You are promoted based on what the Army needs."

In the training sessions, Reynolds talks in detail about how the overall format of the evaluation has been restructured.

"Significant changes to the new system include incorporating a tiered reporting format with three grade plates: direct, organizational and strategic," Reynolds said. "NCOs in the grade of sergeant receive the direct level report, staff sergeant through master sergeant/first sergeant receive the organizational level report, and sergeants major/command sergeants major receive the strategic level report.

"Additionally, for staff sergeants and above, there is a four-box-check system which results in a constrained evaluation by the senior rater, where the senior rater is limited to rating 24 percent or less at the 'most qualified' level, meaning the best of the four boxes. There is an unconstrained rating by the rater as well, called the rater tendency label."

That rollout date of the new NCOER system is contingent upon final review by top Army officials, according to Reynolds.

"What we have is the 99.9 percent solution. It is subject to change, but I don't see anything changing that drastically," Reynolds said.

For more information, contact Reynolds at 573.596.0131, ext. 62665.