FORT KNOX, Ky. -- Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael A. Grinston visited the Battalion Commander Assessment Program at Fort Knox, Jan. 17, to see the first evolution of the Army's program that assesses nearly 800 majors and lieutenant colonels for command and key billets.

"I am truly impressed by the attention to detail that the Talent Management Task Force has applied to ensure we're putting our very best leaders in these critical positions," Grinston said.

The Battalion Commander Assessment Program is designed to determine whether officers are ready for command. Officers being considered undergo a series of cognitive, non-cognitive, written, verbal, psychological, and physical assessments. Information gathered from these assessments and from surveys of their peers and subordinates is provided to senior Army officers to conduct panel interviews.

As the Army chief of staff's personal adviser for matters affecting the enlisted force, Grinston provides guidance and direction for how the Army manages enlisted talent.

The 16th sergeant major of the Army told members of the cadre he is considering what resources it would take to run a similar assessment for sergeants major, noting the larger scale of the non-commissioned officer corps.

Grinston believes the use of the Army Commander Evaluation Tool, a survey of the prospective commanders' peers and subordinates, gives the Army more information about the candidate's character strengths.

"The benefits of doing an assessment outweigh the cost. Anytime you get feedback from your subordinates and peers, that's always a good thing … honest feedback," he added.

For Grinston, the face-to-face interaction with these future leaders is crucial to helping the panel decide whether or not the officer is ready for command.

"You can get all the information you want, but you can't do that without seeing the person," he said.

Gen James C. McConville announced the decision to execute the Battalion Commander Assessment Program during his remarks at the Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting, and said he is considering doing the same for command sergeants majors and colonels.

The program runs from Jan. 15 until Feb. 9.

The Army Talent Management Task Force is the organization responsible for executing the Battalion Commander Assessment Program in addition to other talent management initiatives for the Army including the Army Talent Alignment Process, merit-based officer promotions, brevet promotions, and direct commissioning up to the rank of colonel. The task force conducts studies and develops pilots for initiatives impacting the enlisted force.

To learn more about the Battalion Commander Assessment Program and Army Talent Management visit