WASHINGTON (Army News Service, May 15, 2007) - Active-duty and reserve-component units that deploy anywhere in the world have the opportunity to showcase their training or contingency deployment successes by entering the 2008 annual Army Chief of Staff Deployment Excellence Awards for deployments made between Dec. 1, 2006, and Nov. 03, 2007.

Units that deployed at the last minute between Feb. 1 and Nov. 30, 2006, and were unable to submit an entry packet for the 2007 awards may also enter the 2008 competition.

Aside from the opportunity to highlight a command's deployment successes, the DEAs were created in 2000 to capture and share methods commands use to improve their deployment processes.

"We not only want to recognize the command's initiatives and share their accomplishments with the rest of the Army," said Henry Johnson, DEA program manager, "we want to take those initiatives and track deployment training trends for doctrinal and training updates."

Competition categories include large unit (battalion and above), small unit (company and below), supporting unit, installation and a special operational deployment category.

After units complete their deployments, they should submit self-nominating packets through their chains of command by Jan. 31, 2008, to the DEA evaluation board at Fort Eustis, Va. Entry packets must include a mission statement, personnel and equipment involved, supporting narratives, and a description of deployment activities and timelines that were met.

Units competing in the operational category aren't required to submit packages because their movements are completed on such short notice, but they will be evaluated by an observer during the deployment process.

According to Kevin W. Rhodes, who serves as an observer, 99 percent of the time those units are unaware the observers are watching the process and only know about it when the unit has been notified they've won a DEA.

For all the other categories, unit packets are evaluated by a 10-member board, each member coming from a major Army command. Board members use a 50-question guide booklet to evaluate submissions.

"Most deployments are the same with respect to the overall process," he said, "but every command has its one percent that's different, which can be incorporated into training and operating procedures to help other units accomplish their deployments better, faster and more efficiently."

Guidance for entering the DEAs and an example of a unit package are available at www.eustis.army.mil. Navigate to DPMO, which will link to the DEA program. An AKO username and password are required for access.