FORT KNOX, Kentucky (Jan. 27, 2017) -- Since its fielding in January 2016, Soldiers, raters and commanders across the Army have persistently improved the force's adaptation of the updated NCOER, or Noncommissioned Officer Evaluation Report, according to U.S. Army Human Resources Command officials.

Formally known as Form 2166-9, the updated NCOER was designed and fielded as a tool for identifying and advancing the force's top NCOs as future leaders, said Sgt. Maj. Michael Haycraft of HRC's Evaluations, Selections and Promotions Division.

"The NCOER is living up to its potential of rationalizing and sharpening the Army's evaluation process for shaping the future of our NCO cadre. After a year of implementation, we have to thank Soldiers and leaders across the force for working to make the NCOER the effective tool it is today," said Haycraft.

The updated NCOER was designed to eliminate evaluation inflation, the tendency of raters to give most Soldiers under their purview the best evaluation ratings possible. The intention was to add a layer of accountability to the rater assessment to ensure the evaluation tool would more incisively select and promote top Soldiers to become future leaders for the Army, he said.

"The 2166-9 requires that all raters play an active, mentoring role in the process, at whatever level they participate in the evaluation process," Haycraft said.

One year later, the assessment in HRC's Evaluations Branch is that Soldiers and raters across the force have stepped up to meet that intention, learning to execute the rating process as designed and playing a constructive role in building the Army across all its components, he said.

For instance, several issues encountered early in the fielding process have been addressed and resolved.

Raters have come to terms with selecting the proper formatting in NCOER comment sections, one of several behavioral adjustments required of longtime users of previous versions. In a similar vein, the field has learned to include the mandatory assessment of each Soldier's adherence to Army SHARP standards. Raters and commanders across the Army have also been increasingly consistent in ensuring that senior raters are the required two ranks superior to rated Soldiers, he noted.

"Soldiers at all levels -- raters, senior raters and commanders -- have been truly outstanding in responding to assessments and directions from HRC as we recognize what issues are impacting the process," said Haycraft.

"We receive, review and manage the NCOERs, but we have to count on thousands of Soldiers across all three components to execute the process as it was designed. And in that regard I have to say, Soldiers and leaders at all levels have come through for the Army. We see it from here, the overview, but it is being executed all across the Army, and Soldiers involved in every step of the evaluation process have been learning to do it right. It is very impressive," he said.

There are still outstanding issues, but Haycraft said he expected Soldiers to continue to respond positively to ensure the correct and effective use of the NCOER.

"Currently, we have a few issues that we are bringing to the attention of the field. For instance, we are still trying to ensure that raters address only a Soldier's current performance, not their future potential, in the rater comments section. And there are technical matters, such as ensuring signatures are completed in the proper sequence and properly coding MOS descriptor fields.

"But I am happy to say that as we bring an awareness of these issues to the formations, our Soldiers and leaders are getting with it and adjusting to the requirements. And that's what it takes to make the NCOER work as it was designed. Our hats are off to the Soldiers. They are making it work right," he said.