A year has passed since Army senior leaders declared that we are in a war for talent. We have implemented new initiatives, unveiled innovative programs, and challenged the status quo of how we recruit, hire, train, promote, and retain our greatest asset: our people. These efforts are paying off, and we have made great strides—across the Army and the materiel enterprise—to ensure that our ranks are filled with diverse, skilled, educated, and ready officers, NCOs, Soldiers, and civilians.
The Army talent management system is a 21st-century, data-rich and people-centric approach to leveraging the right diverse talents to fight and win our nation’s future wars. As our Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. James McConville, said, “The goal is to create a comprehensive culture of talent development and management that will span Soldiers’ entire careers rather than just cropping up at key moments.”
Talent management is one of the most important things we do as an Army, key to ensuring the U.S. continues to be the best military in the world. Every one of us plays a significant role in talent management, regardless of rank or position—for ourselves, our peers, and our successors, and it spans well beyond just assignments. Managing talent correctly at the echelon means providing predictability throughout service members’ careers, coaching, counseling, mentoring, promoting training and education, and offering professional development opportunities. We must train leaders on Army talent management programs and processes through professional military education, so they fully understand the Army’s intent and how to implement it for themselves and their subordinates’ careers.
To that end, within our uniformed ranks, the Colonel and Battalion Command Assessments Programs have proven so successful that the Army is expanding them to now include sergeants major, acquisition leaders, and chaplains. These programs allow the Army to take a multidimensional look at its top talent for selection into command and general staff billets. When compared to a legacy system’s selection list, leaders chosen through these programs continue to demonstrate that they are better communicators, more mentally and physically fit, and cognitively capable.
From the Integrated Personnel and Pay System–Army to the Army Talent Alignment Process (ATAP), the integration of new technologies across the Army is expanding the career choice, skill sets, and promotional opportunities for our people. ATAP matches skills, knowledge, and behaviors required for positions to officer preferences; it is not about chasing 1-to-1 assignment matches, but aligning the right person to the right position—for the Army and the officer, and using data to do so. We are using technology to manage the entire life cycle of talent management. As another example, the Army expanded access this year to Project Athena, a personal and professional online self-development program. Project Athena offers a framework for officers and Soldiers to identify those attributes they will need for key leadership positions. While Project Athena is particularly beneficial for junior and mid-grade officers and NCOs to develop self-awareness, I encourage leaders at all levels to embrace the program as a key enabler to see themselves and identify areas for personal growth and development.
In the pages that follow, you will find articles from the materiel enterprise’s senior enlisted advisor Command Sgt. Maj. Alberto Delgado and senior civilian Lisha Adams, along with many other leaders in our field. They will deep dive into talent management efforts and initiatives for Soldiers of all ranks and Army Civilians. I encourage you to take the time to read and understand all that is going on across our Army to personally and professionally develop the force.
Our effort to win this war for talent is an enduring fight, and our focus on talent management must be in perpetuity. Talent management is not a buzz phrase or something we do once a year and check off a list. It is incumbent upon us all to make talent management an intrinsic part of our profession, grounded in doctrine and outlined by Army Doctrine Publication 6-22, which sets the foundation of Army leadership.
Gen. Ed Daly serves as the commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. He served three years as the deputy commanding general of AMC in his previous assignment. He managed the day-to-day operations of the Army’s logistics enterprise and served as the senior commander of Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. He served as the commanding general of Army Sustainment Command at Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois, and as AMC’s deputy chief of staff, overseeing the roles and functions of the headquarters staff.
This article was published in the Winter 2022 issue of Army Sustainment.