At last month’s Association of the U.S. Army Annual Meeting and Exposition, the Army announced plans to test a new approach to talent management that highlighted that people are the centerpiece and not “interchangeable parts.”

In his address, Chief of Staff of the Army General James C. McConville said, “To ensure we recruit and retain the right people for the Army, we are implementing a 21st century talent management system.”

Among the talent management initiative introduced this year was the Army Talent Alignment Process (ATAP). Under this new program United States Army officers will have a more flexible career path. The program was created to match officers with organizations based upon their respective Knowledge, Skill, Behaviors and Preferences (KSB-Ps). Army officers can use the Assignment Interactive Module 2.0 (AIM 2.0) program as a way to build a detailed resume that lists their unique KSBs while organizations can list specific job requirements.

Officers competing for positions during next summer’s assignment cycle will have access to a regulated, market-style hiring system, which will be powered by AIM 2.0 and give officers more ownership over their careers. This will align officers with jobs based on preference.

This is part of the Army’s most comprehensive reform of its three officer personnel systems that include Active, Guard and Reserve, across the Total Force since the Officer Personnel Act of 1947. The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act granted several new authorities that provide the Army greater flexibility to determine the characteristics of this talent-based system. Around 14,000 officers will be able to participate in ATAP.

Major General Joseph P. McGee, the Army Talent Management Task Force Director, has stated that “People are the number one priority for me. That’s why we need to manage their talent.”

 

Taking AIM 2.0

AIM 2.0 is the Army’s web-based information system that was designed to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of the officer management process while facilitating communication between soldiers (e.g. officers and warrant officers with talent), Units (e.g. commanders with requirements) and the Officer Personnel Management Directorate (OPMD).

In addition, AIM 2.0 was developed to ensure that assignment decisions could be made using as much accurate data as possible while employing a regulated “market” mechanism to better match officer talents to unit requirements. This enables an officer and units to better learn about one another whereby each could indicate a preference.

Matching the Officer to the Job

ATAP will empower commanders in the assignment process, while also increasing transparency and knowledge of officers along with available positions. It will allow officers to input their KSB-Ps, while also allowing units to describe their available positions. As of October all active duty officers were matched with assignments in the ATAP.

In addition, the Army Talent Management Task Force will launch additional initiatives to further assist the development of its new talent management system. Beginning last summer, all active component officers who attend Captains’ Career Courses could take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Human Resources Command (HRC) will use those GRE scores as part of the consideration in future assignments, as well as for participation on Army Competitive Education programs.

Battalion Command Assessment will also be administered to officers who have been selected as alternates on the fiscal year 2020 Infantry and Armor Battalion Command Select List. This series of assessments would be used to inform future battalion command selection processes.

The new management selection process will also look at merit based promotions, which are set to begin this year starting with the FY20 Army Competitive Category O-4 promotion list. Under this the Army will begin to promote a subset of officers who have demonstrated high merit and then promote the rest of the selection based on their respective date of rank.

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Peter Suciu is a freelance writer who covers business technology and cyber security. He currently lives in Michigan and can be reached at petersuciu@gmail.com.