While they will no longer be able to remain in the same location more than three to four years, career Army recruiters (MOS 79R) and their families will soon have more predictability in knowing when and where their next Recruiting Command assignment will take them.

The command's new 79R manning and assignment policy (USAREC Command Policy 35-11) will not only help recruiting families better manage expectations, but it will also help improve the quality of noncommissioned officers in recruiting leadership positions.

"The idea behind this policy is to better diversify our leaders and expose them - with hands-on experience - to the different environments across the command in order to create a more complete 79R leader," said Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Moore, USAREC command sergeant major. "It's not as much about strength management as it is leader development. The way we recruit and the processes we use vary between brigade footprints and geographic regions. We are developing better leaders when we give them the opportunity to learn and share ideas from different leadership experiences across the command."

The policy works hand-in-hand with the 79R professional assignment model, which establishes the active duty recruiter's recommended career track, including assignment positions and tour lengths, according to Charles Price, chief of the Personnel Development Division, U.S. Army Recruiting and Retention School-Forward at Fort Knox.

In addition, the policy will improve the command's assignment flexibility and help leaders better know when Soldiers are leaving from and coming into their units and fill projected vacancies, according to Sgt. Maj. William Schindler, USAREC G1 sergeant major. USAREC G1 will now centrally manage the assignments of 79Rs across the command, a process that previously had been largely under the control of brigades and battalions.

"This new policy establishes an expectation of a 36-month tour and then you move on," said Rodney Berry, chief of the USAREC G1 Military Personnel Management Division.

"The policy essentially puts every active and Reserve (AGR) 79R - from staff sergeant to sergeant major - on the same playing field as everyone else in the command," Berry said. "Detailed recruiters come in with an expected loss date, officers come in with an expected loss date, now 79Rs are going to move with an expected loss date. Now the entire command will be managed with more predictability and established loss dates."

The standard 79R tour for both active and AGR NCOs will be 36 months. Soldiers may not spend more than one tour in the same battalion and no more than two tours in the same brigade during a 72-month time period. Tours may be curtailed or extended up to a year, as determined on a case-by-case basis by USAREC G1.

With the policy in place in March, the G1 staff is working the implementation strategy and setting up the systems to manage the new assignment process. It will take about 18 months to 24 months to get the command on track, according to Berry, because obviously not everyone can be moved at once.

"We don't want to break the force by moving too quickly on this," Schindler said. "We have to make sure we do it one time, correctly. The No. 1 goal is readiness; maintaining the readiness levels of our units in USAREC is paramount."

The G1 is also transforming as a result of the change in policy and establishing a 79R management branch, which will parallel the way Human Resources Command manages other career branches. In addition, the command now has an automated 79R assignment preference application to capture recruiters' preferences for future assignment locations. This new system, released the end of March, will help USAREC G1 at Fort Knox better manage recruiter assignments, as well as fill vacancies faster with qualified individuals who want to move to those locations.

Similar to the Army's Assignment Satisfaction Key, or ASK, USAREC's application enables 79R noncommissioned officers to select their top six locations - in order of preference - for future assignments, according to Don Alves, USAREC G1 Enlisted Management Branch chief. Recruiters may also provide additional information for assignment consideration, such as Married Army Couples or Exceptional Family Member Program enrollment, station commander or guidance counselor (V7) qualification, or foreign language proficiency.

The goal: if there is an opening in a certain location, the G1 79R management branch can quickly and easily pull up a report of recruiters eligible to move and see which of those recruiters want to go to that location.

It's extremely important for newly reclassifying Soldiers to put their assignment preferences into the USAREC system, according to Alves, because Recruiting Command locations are not in the Army system. NCOs on recruiting duty who are not reclassifying to 79R should ensure their duty location preferences are current in ASK for assignment consideration upon completion of their recruiting tour.