Some large modifications for enlisted troopers are being applied this coming 12 months, together with an “assignment marketplace” for workers sergeants by way of grasp sergeants and promotion boards dialing in on how a lot non-commissioned officers learn about their subordinates, in line with Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston.
Also on the horizon, a cellphone software for squad leaders to assist with administrative duties and a prototype for what is predicted to develop into a Sergeants Major Assessment Program, Grinston informed Army Times throughout an Oct. 1 interview.
Many of the modifications fall beneath Grinston’s signature push throughout his tenure because the rating enlisted soldier inside the Army, generally known as “This is My Squad.” The initiative aims to build more internal cohesion at some of the smallest unit levels within the service. For many troops, that’s the squad.
A Sept. 5 memo codified some of the initiative’s changes for soldiers going before promotion boards in the future.
“We want to reinforce team and squad leader understanding of how our Army cares for its soldiers,” Grinston mentioned in the course of the phone interview. “So promotion to sergeant and staff sergeant will include situational questions.”
Rather than just being asked about regulations or telling a board about their own assignments and accomplishments, soldiers will be asked about those for whom they’re responsible.
“So now we want them to come in, and maybe not tell them about themselves,” Grinston added. “Talk about their squad. How many people do you have? What’s [this] private’s first name? How many kids does he have? Where did he grow up?”
Grinston mentioned he’s additionally assembling a panel of 24 employees sergeants from quite a lot of jobs and instructions throughout the globe to help with This is My Squad. That panel is predicted to fulfill for the primary time in November.
“They’re going to stay on that panel for a while to give me feedback on how can we get this culture going and what tangible things I can do to really replicate this throughout the Army,” he said.
The sergeant major of the Army has also been working with the service’s Futures Command to develop a phone app for squad leaders that will assist them with tracking training, sponsorship and counseling documents.
“We’ve gone to the combined arms center, through TRADOC, trying to develop a new counseling form,” Grinston said. “I actually want to digitize this counseling form. So … it gets uploaded and … helps the squad leader with some of those administrative tasks that they have to do on a daily or monthly basis.”
ASK-EM going live
The new Assignment Satisfaction Key-Enlisted Module, or ASK-EM, goes live Nov. 11.
It will allow E-6s, E-7s and E-8s to use an assignment process similar to the one rolled out last year for officers. One key difference is that a human resource manager selects enlisted for their next assignment, whereas the officer marketplace allows units to do so.
“That’s going to be available for all enlisted soldiers, staff sergeants to master sergeants, you’ll see those locations that are available [and] you can preference those,” Grinston said. “And then the manager looks at those and puts you on assignments based on your preferences. … That’s something coming out that we’re really excited about.”
The pilot program might present these enlisted troops extra selections of their careers than the outdated task system, which compelled troops to decide on six basing choices — three within the United States and three abroad, Sgt. Maj. Wardell Jefferson, the Army G-1′s senior enlisted soldier, defined in March.
A pilot program for ASK-EM happened in June and was open to 700 NCOs in armor, navy intelligence and quartermaster specialties. Of the troopers who participated in this system, 55 p.c obtained considered one of their high 5 selections, in line with an Army Human Resources Command launch.
ASK-EM is meant to offer NCOs extra enter into the place they need their profession to go subsequent by letting them present different particulars about their backgrounds and abilities that can be utilized by HR managers throughout task slating.
Soldiers additionally will be capable of see how standard an task is, giving them perception into how different troopers are rating positions.
Eventually, a mean of 35,000 NCOs per 12 months are anticipated to view and desire assignments by way of the brand new system, in line with the HRC launch.
Prototype evaluation program
The Army is making ready to introduce a senior enlisted evaluation course, just like the one which kicked off earlier this 12 months for officers hoping to develop into battalion commanders.
“We’re going to have 32 sergeants major, in November, go through the battalion commander assessment program,” Grinston said. “That will help us shape what we’re going to do for the sergeants major assessment program.”
The battalion commander assessment program takes place at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and involves sit-downs with Army psychologists, a leader reaction course and argumentative essays.
The battalion commander candidates additionally went earlier than “blind boards,” which required an individual’s background paperwork to be scrubbed of personally identifying information. A sheet was used to separate the panel and the interviewee.
When the battalion commander assessment program started in January, Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville called it a “transformational change” in how the service chooses battalion commanders.
This previous spring, Grinston obtained suggestions from a few of senior sergeants main who spent the winter sitting in on blind boards, offering enter to the panels.
Any potential program wouldn’t be borne out of the prototype till 2022 on the earliest, Grinston beforehand informed Army Times. But no matter does come of these prototypes seemingly received’t deviate considerably from what the officers had been doing, he added on the time.