WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 9, 2009) Aca,!" Beginning in October 2010, the Army will hold command sergeant major selection boards that will mirror the current officer selection process where new commanders are centrally selected and assigned to battalions and brigades. In addition, command sergeants major will be matched with commanders and assigned together for two- to three-year tours.

Army leaders at the Human Resources Command said the move was part of an overall change in how senior enlisted Soldiers are managed. It will eliminate appointments to command-sergeant-major billets for Soldiers who have not had experience as sergeants major in the field following graduation from the Sergeants Major Academy.

Under the current system, upon graduation from the academy, promotable master sergeants and sergeants major (designees) are assigned to command sergeants major billets and are awarded the 00Z military occupational specialty.

That process will change under the new rules for Aca,!A"Select-Train-PromoteAca,!A? whereas academy graduates will be frocked or promoted and assigned to an initial tour as a sergeant major within their MOS for a minimum one-year tour. During that initial tour, these sergeants major will be eligible to compete for a battalion command-sergeant-major position or key billet. These Soldiers must complete a year in a sergeant-major position before they will be assigned to a command-sergeant-major key position if selected.

This means doing away with direct appointments to command sergeant major from master sergeant, said Sgt. Maj. Gabriella Russum, chief, Sergeants Major/Command Sergeants Major Branch, who is responsible for managing their professional development and assignments.

Aca,!A"Eliminating appointment to command sergeant major from master sergeant allows a sergeant major more time to grow or refine their skills,Aca,!A? she said. Aca,!A"The other piece of this is the elimination of 00Z at the battalion and brigade level since the authorization document will be coded for the specific MOS.Aca,!A?

Aca,!EoeWhile theyAca,!a,,cre serving there in that first year as a sergeant major, theyAca,!a,,cll be eligible to compete for battalion-level command sergeant major position or a key billet,Aca,!A? said Kurt Fedors who oversees the central selection process of command sergeants major. He noted that key billets are still being determined.

Aca,!A"Soldiers will be able to compete on equal terms with their peers across the Army for a command sergeant major position in GermanyAca,!A| in Fort Drum, whereas in the past, it may not have been equal, but now there will be a central board who will select command sergeants major,Aca,!A? he said.

The overall change in the program will help the Army to grow experience and will open up command sergeants major selection opportunities to lower density MOSs in the Army inventory.

Following appointment, the new command sergeant major selectee will be paired with the new commander where as a team itAca,!a,,cs anticipated they will attend a pre-command course at Fort Benning, Ga.(in the case of infantrymen), or Fort Leavenworth, Kan., prior to moving into their respective positions, Fedors said.

After a command sergeant major has completed a centrally selected position, he or she is eligible to compete again for a battalion command sergeant major or brigade command sergeant major, whereas the commander normally serves once at the battalion and brigade levels, but command sergeants major will have the opportunity to serve multiple tours, according to Fedors.

Skill levels will also change. Under the current system both master sergeants and sergeants major hold skill-level five. Russum added that the new rules will incorporate skill levels six, seven and eight into sergeant major and command sergeant major MOSs.

Aca,!A"Skill-level six will apply to those sergeants major and command sergeants major who serve at lieutenant colonel or equivalent positions,Aca,!A? said Russum. Aca,!A"Skill-level seven will apply to those who serve at a colonel or equivalent-level positions. While we will eliminate 00Z at the battalion and brigade level, that MOS will be awarded at skill-level eight (general-officer level or equivalent).Aca,!A?

Feedback from the field on the way command sergeants majors will be managed and assigned is positive, said Russum. Presently, most battalions and brigades have commanders serving two years while the command sergeant major is on board up to four years, so thereAca,!a,,cs not much synchronization with the command teams.

Aca,!A"Some folks are kind of resistant to change, but I think in the end by synchronizing the command team, rotating in and out at key times in an operational cycle has great benefits not just the commander and command sergeant major, but to Soldiers who will have two years of continuity with their command team,Aca,!A? Russum said.

The command sergeants major board for battalions will meet annually beginning October 2010 and followed on by the command sergeants major brigade board in January 2011.