RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- "New Beginnings" is something coming to all Army Materiel Command employees.

The Security Assistance Command's Office of the Program Manager for the Saudi Arabian National Guard and Ministry of the Interior-Military Assistance Group employees are some of the first to receive the training that will transition all Department of Defense General Schedule and Wage Grade civilian employees to a DOD-wide appraisal system that will be fully implemented by October 2018.

"The DOD Performance Management and Appraisal Program, or DPMAP, will replace TAPES (Total Army Performance Evaluation System), and the rollout and training for the new system is through an initiative called 'New Beginnings,'" Sarita Garrison, AMC G1's performance management program manager, explained.

Garrison attended the first "train-the-trainer" DOD training for the new system this fall, and then attended the Army's course.

"We began our training for DPMAP in September in preparation for the first transition of AMC's employees, which will be GS-13s and above in July 2017," she said. "GS-12s and below, WG supervisors/leaders will transition later that year, with Wage Grade employees being the last to transition before the June 2018 deadline."

According to Garrison, one of the biggest changes will be the implementation of one performance appraisal cycle, rather than appraisals being staggered across the year based on grade groupings.

"All employees covered by this program will be on a single appraisal cycle that extends from April 1st through March 31st of the following year," she explained. Another change will be a three-level rating pattern from a five-level rating pattern.

"This is a performance management-based system based on planning, monitoring, evaluating and recognizing and rewarding throughout the rating cycle," Garrison said. "It is focused on involving the employee in achieving its organization's mission and goals through continued supervisor/employee engagement."

Garrison's training for OPM-SANG and MOI-MAG employees at Eskan Village in Saudi Arabia was done in conjunction with USASAC's FY '17 Staff Inspection.

"I was asked to conduct DPMAP train-the trainer and face-to-face training and in addition assist with the USASAC G1 Staff Inspection. The face-to-face training is required, but those curious or wanting additional training can go to Joint Knowledge Online website where an online six-hour course is available," she said.

"One of the reasons face-to-face training is required is so we can answer questions --and there are many! If I can't answer a question, I will do research and provide a response once I have the information," Garrison said.

AMC has more than 50,000 personnel worldwide who must receive training through New Beginnings.

"Providing some of the first training to AMC Soldiers and Civilians located half-a-world-away from AMC headquarters at Redstone Arsenal is a good way to demonstrate AMC's commitment to its deployed workforce," Garrison said.

The personnel attending the class expressed their appreciation for the learning experience.

"This is a new thing for everyone … and this (training) provided an opportunity to learn about the transition and appraisal expectations early on in the process," said Lee Ethel Edwards, OPM-SANG G1 management analyst.

As for what to expect from New Beginnings, Edwards offered this advice: "You just need to go into it with a positive attitude!"