Army talent management featured at annual women's symposium

By Major Crispin Burke, Army Talent Management Task ForceSeptember 12, 2019

Joint Womens Leadership Forum
(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

WASHINGTON, DC -- Colonel Kristin Baker, the chief of outreach and innovation for the U.S. Army Talent Management Task Force, delivered remarks to the Joint Women's Leadership Symposium on Friday. The three-day conference, held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, hosted military service members and civilians from across all five branches of the Armed Forces and from several Allied nations.

"The system that got you to where you are today is not the system which will get tomorrow's soldiers to where they need to be," said Baker.

Baker is a military intelligence officer who has served in the Army for 29 years in a variety of assignments, including as an assignment officer at U.S. Army Personnel Command (the predecessor to U.S. Army Human Resources Command). It was in this role that she implemented talent management principles as a means of managing her officers.

Baker explained the Army Talent Alignment Process (ATAP) which allows service members to highlight their talents and apply for their preferred assignments. Army units, meanwhile, provide information to service members and can select those who are right for the job.

"The unit knows more about you and you know more about the unit, and that makes an altogether better match," said Baker.

ATAP, which is enabled by the Assignment Interactive Module 2.0 (AIM2) software program, is scheduled to be implemented beginning in October for all active component officer assignments available in summer 2020.

The Army is also using assessments to gain more data on the talent within the ranks. Assessments are valid tools which can test either cognitive skills (e.g., critical thinking) or non-cognitive skills (emotional intelligence). The Army is currently implementing a number of these assessments throughout an officer's career in order to help inform personnel decisions.

"When you're young, you get assessments which tell you more about yourself. But when you're senior, they're more predictive in that they determine whether you have the skills to be a strategic leader," said Baker.

Baker also spoke about a number of recent legal authorities which help the Army implement a number of reforms to its personnel system. One recent authority involves brevet promotions, which allows an officer to be temporarily promoted to the next grade, to include pay and benefits.

"We've all worked in positions that were well above our paygrade. But in the past, if you worked in a position above your paygrade, you got all of that work but none of that pay," said Baker. Brevet promotions are expected to be available during the upcoming assignment cycle to help the Army fill critical positions.

The Army's Talent Management Task Force (ATMTF) is helping the Army implement the most comprehensive reform of its officer personnel management system in over 70 years. Over the past year, the ATMTF has helped the Army implement several initiatives, including the Army Talent Alignment Process, the method by which nearly every officer in the Army will receive their assignments starting in October.

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