FORT KNOX, Ky.— Entering its third year, the U.S. Army Command Assessment Program, which assesses and identifies leaders for command and key staff positions, has drawn the attention of the other military services.
The Air Force Personnel Center and Navy Personnel Command commanders, the Air Force and Navy equivalents of the Army’s Human Resources Command commander, visited Fort Knox, Ky., to observe the Army’s sixth iteration of what is arguably its most marquee 21st century talent management initiative.
“We are excited about where we are headed, and grateful to the Army for establishing such a phenomenal example to follow,” said Rear Adm. Alvin Holsey, Deputy Chief of Naval Personnel and commander, Navy PERSCOM. “The CAP program truly is exceptional, and will take us into the future with a 21st century approach to talent management.”
The Army’s assessment program grew this year to incorporate leaders from across the Army and some sister service candidates.
The joint service interest underscores the potential benefits of the program for conducting a similar assessment to measure readiness of leaders in the other military branches.
“We’ve had a few airmen particularly tied to our Air Force Special Operations Command that are going through this assessment,” said Maj. Gen. Christopher Craige, commander, AFPC.
“I think it will be a good reflective point for us to see what measures we bring out of this that we could bring to a broader population,” he said.
The principles of 21st century talent management are designed to place the right person, in the right place, at the right time, over time.
CAP is just one part of that effort to enable the Army to compete with other organizations and companies to acquire, develop, employ and retain top-tier talent.
The reason CAP was developed was to provide an additive capability to better understand our battalion and brigade level leaders.
It adds objective data to the centralized selection list process allowing the Army to make better decisions using more information about future leaders
The legacy method solely relied upon leader evaluation reports to select Army commanders and key staff.
According to Brig. Gen. Brett Funck, director of CAP and the Army Talent Management Task Force, evaluation reports offer subjective information related to performance and potential, while CAP provides objective information from assessments so that each panel member has a consistent and more robust understanding of each candidate.
“The CSL process looks primarily at two data points—the [record brief] and evaluation reports,” said Funck. “The CSL process is good, but is limited in its understanding of the entire person. CAP combined with the CSL allows us to assess and identify our best leaders to fill the most important positions. If we remain with a good process, and not strive for a great process, we will struggle in the competition for talent.”
Maj. Gen. Thomas Drew, commander, U.S. Army HRC, who also attended the joint service visit, emphasized that the evaluation reports remain an important aspect of the information used to select its future leaders.
“We still recognize the value of experience of our leaders who evaluate for potential,” said Drew. “The manner of performance score from our legacy CSL system is weighted the most out of all the factors used to create the [order of merit list]. The assessments from CAP are additive and complement the way we used to choose our leaders.”
The leaders present underscored the importance of working together to improve the ways in which the military services manage talent.
“We develop talent as a joint force because if we’re going to eventually fight together as a joint force we have to trade lessons learned, different techniques and different procedures we have,” said Craige. “At the end of the day, when we talk about talent management for each of our services, we are all trying to do the same thing as far as getting after good talent management [practices].”
The Air Force and Navy contingents departed with praise for the program’s systematic procedures and execution by the CAP Cadre and Panel members.
“The ability to work at trying to get objective metrics versus subjective, the challenge with that, but also the reward of that…There’s goodness in this,” said Craige.
“I am truly impressed with the professionalism, dedication and commitment to resources the Army has put into selecting their most talented and mission-ready senior [leaders],” said Holsey.
The Army continues to consult across the Department of Defense for leader assessments and identifying and managing talent.
About Army Talent Management
U.S. Army Talent Management aligns individual capabilities with the Army’s needs while maximizing the potential of the Army’s greatest asset—its people.
A person’s talent is the intersection of three dimensions: knowledge, skills and behavior. Army talent management represents deliberate efforts to acquire, develop, employ and retain top-talent. It begins with entry-level employees and aligns their talents against the demand for them during their entire careers, to include positions at the very top of the Army.
In support of the Army’s People First philosophy, the Army is undertaking the most comprehensive reform of personnel management since the Officer Personnel Act of 1947. The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act granted several new authorities that provide the Army flexibility to determine the characteristics of a future talent-based system.
The Army has determined how it will implement the new authorities and is releasing several new policies and initiatives that set Army Talent Management in motion.