In August 2009, the Army implemented a centralized process to select and slate eligible Command Sergeants Major and Sergeants Major as brigade and battalion Command Sergeants Major. Since then, seven separate selection boards were completed under the new Centralized Selection List design.
The Army is in the process of announcing the next series of CSM CSL boards, and it seems appropriate to reemphasize what the Army’s objectives and goals are behind this change, said Gerald J. Purcell, Deputy Chief of Staff, Army G-1, Personnel Policy Integrator.
“The process is a significant change in our culture and requires support from all levels across the Army. One of the most challenging and difficult changes we confront are those that address processes deeply rooted in our culture,” Purcell said, adding, “Inevitably, as the Army evolves, we must find innovative and mutually supporting methods that facilitate that evolution.”
The CSM CSL selection process supports the leader development imperatives outlined in the Army Leader Development Strategy to develop leaders with the required qualities and enduring leader characteristics the Army seeks. A major objective of the new policy is to encourage an equal commitment by the institution, leaders, and individual Soldiers to life-long learning and development. Additionally, in an effort to directly address the two most dissatisfied elements of Army life and work, from a senior non commissioned officer perspective, is to give more control over job assignments and selecting a duty station of choice.
The new CSM CSL process is an effort to address all of this, said Purcell. The Human Resources Command matched experiences and skills of Soldiers selected for CSM by the initial CSM CSL boards to an assignment. At the brigade level, 77.5 percent of all Soldiers selected were slated to an assignment consistent with one of their top three assignment preferences and at the battalion level, 60 percent.
Unfortunately, these percentages are diminished and are not a true reflection of HRC’s effort, stated Purcell, because 20 percent of all Soldiers selected for brigade and 25 percent of those selected for battalion did not make an assignment preference. If Soldiers are not communicating to HRC through this process as intended, HRC simply cannot take those personal desires into consideration. Every Soldier in the zone of consideration for selection as a brigade or battalion CSM should take advantage of the opportunity to convey their professional and personal desires to the Army.
Communicating personal and professional desires with the Army is as simple as accessing the Command Preference Designator online web application as specified in each specific board announcement message. This is the vehicle to inform the Army of desired preferences.
“Take the time and convey your personal desires " it’s that important!”, said Purcell. “If you compete for selection, take the time to ensure your official photo is accurate; ensure your evaluations are on file; and certify the “My Board File.” If you are frocked to SGM, the board expects to see an official photo wearing the SGM rank.”
Last year, 67 percent of all eligible Soldiers competing for brigade command sergeant major did not certify their “My Board File” as provided for in the announcement message. At the battalion level, 69 percent did not certify. Once again, the Army is trying to ensure Soldiers have the ability to properly self represent in an accurate manner to support an important selection process. Taking advantage of this opportunity improves our ability to maximize the potential this process presents.
According to Purcell, following a review of last year’s initial effort, a number of changes will be made moving forward, to include:
Revised board schedule:
Army Special Operations Force/Special Management Unit and Brigade/Group/Battalion CSM CSL (11-14 Oct 12)
Brigade CSM CSL (14-21 Nov 12)
Battalion CSM CSL (5-16 Dec 12)
Incorporates USAR Active Guard Reserve Soldiers
Reduces competitive categories from four to two (Operations and Generating)
Reduce Command Presence Designator access to 45 days
Utilizes newly established Professional Development Proficiency Codes (Additional Skill
Identifier) to identify all six levels of developmental responsibilities across the E9 pay-grade (both SGM and CSM)
Revised language to clarify the consequences of retiring in lieu of assignment (in accordance with existing Army Regulation 635-200 provisions)
BDE-level CSMs are ineligible to compete for BN CSM selection
Serving CSMs with fiscal year 14 PCORDS (Projected Change of Responsibility Dates) are ineligible to compete for fiscal year 13 CSM requirements
Soldiers must have sufficient remaining service (without a Mandatory Retirement Date extension) to complete the prescribed tour to qualify for consideration
Soldiers with an outdated Exceptional Family Member Program are ineligible to compete for selection consideration
As with any major change like this one, there are unintended consequences, said Purcell. The Army Staff makes every effort to think through second and third order effects to minimize turbulence during change. Often, no matter the level of effort, individual Soldiers and Families who are subject to the immediate impacts (most often measured by increased turbulence) pave the way for those who follow.
“Each year, we remain committed to our effort to improve upon this new process and are confident, with your support, we will achieve the stated goals; improving our ability to effectively grow and develop the very best senior NCO leaders in a manner consistent with the Army’s Leader Development Strategy,” Purcell said.