ARLINGTON, Va. -- The Army Talent Management Task Force has created a wave of change across the Army, its director said Thursday, as it continues to build on the momentum of a “people first” priority ushered in last year by the Army chief of staff.The task force’s efforts aim to revamp an outdated personnel system for officers, enlisted Soldiers and civilians into a data rich environment that will help the Army capitalize on its talent.“We’re really trying to modernize our system,” said Maj. Gen. J.P. McGee, as part of the Association of the U.S. Army’s Noon Report series.“It doesn’t mean we don’t have data,” he said. “But across the entire 90,000 active-duty officers, for example, we don’t have the right information in order to manage them.”CCAP, BCAPIn its latest search for talent, the Army is slated to hold its first Colonels Command Assessment Program in mid-September, he said, after about 750 officers participated in the initial Battalion Commander Assessment Program in January.CCAP and BCAP are similar four-day assessments that determine an officer’s readiness for command and strategic potential. In the first BCAP, officers went through screening events such as a physical training test, written and psychometric tests as well as a double blind board with a panel of senior leaders to reduce unconscious bias.Of those who attended BCAP, more than 430 officers were selected as principals, meaning they were among the top officers on the promotion list. And of them, 150 were different than what would have happened under the legacy system, McGee said.Some of those officers are now in command. Lt. Col. Robert Phillipson became the first after he took command of the 62nd Engineer Battalion at Fort Hood, Texas, in early April. About a month later, Lt. Col. Jarmarle Arnold took charge of the 832nd Ordnance Battalion at Fort Lee, Virginia, to become the second, McGee said.Since they went through a more rigorous screening process, McGee said that BCAP participants mathematically stood out better than perhaps other officers.“These officers are more physically fit, they write better, they’re better verbal communicators, they’ve got better cognitive capability and they’re less toxic because we’re able to screen them out,” McGee said.Army Talent Alignment ProcessLate last year, more than 14,500 officers took part in the first ATAP cycle for assignments this summer.Of them, over 55% received their first-choice assignment through a marketplace using the Assignment Interactive Module, or AIM 2.0, which allows officers to build professional resumes highlighting their unique knowledge, skills, behaviors, and preferences.“We’ve been saying preference matters and it’s absolutely important as we’re moving forward,” McGee said.Data captured in the marketplace from officers and receiving units helped the Army identify any skill mismatches and the preferred locations where officers want to serve.“We can now very quantitatively talk about what preferences [officers have] and where officers want to be assigned and where they don’t want to be assigned,” McGee said. “And we can start using this for modeling and developing future initiatives within the officer corps.”The marketplace also assisted commanders at locations where it has been historically difficult to fill positions.Col. Kendall Clarke, commander of 10th Mountain Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team at Fort Polk, Louisiana, for instance, used it to advertise opportunities with his unit’s open positions, such as key development assignments and stability at the post’s Joint Readiness Training Center.“He was really satisfied with the results of that because he was able to articulate why officers should want to come down to a place like Fort Polk,” McGee said.In May, the Army decided to limit winter cycle moves in the second iteration of ATAP due to COVID-19 concerns. Officers who had planned to move during that time and did not meet certain criteria will participate in the summer 2021 marketplace, G-1 officials said.Direct commissioning, promotionsThe task force, along with Army Futures Command, now has a program to send 24 officers and civilians to Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh to earn an advanced degree in fields such as computational data sciences.Two lieutenants are currently in the program, McGee said. After they graduate they will share their knowledge with units, like how to build better software and other things that can be applied to tactical problems.The Army also looks to expand its cyber direct commissioning program, McGee said. The program has commissioned 10 officers since 2018, including the recent commissioning of its first field grade officer -- a major with the 144th Cyber Warfare Company.Temporary promotions are also now available through the Army’s brevet promotions system. In it, an officer competes for a job in the new marketplace. If chosen for a brevet eligible position, the officer may be able to pin on the rank and be paid commensurate with that position’s grade.More than 30 officers are currently waiting for final approval from the Senate to be temporarily promoted under the brevet system, McGee said, adding that those officers will ideally be officially promoted when the next board convenes.“That’s some of the things we’re doing right now,” he said. “But I think it’s really exciting to watch all of the momentum we’re starting to gain and looking forward to doing a whole lot more.”Related linksArmy Talent Worldwide NewsArmy News ServiceARNEWS Archives