Army to Overhaul Officer Evaluations

The Army plans to launch a new officer evaluation system toward the end of this year that will, for the first time, hold rating officials accountable for the recommendations they make for officer promotions.

The new Officer Evaluation Reporting system will apply to all commissioned officers and warrant officers. It will feature clearer responsibilities for the rating officials, so that the rater is focused on performance and the senior rater on the potential of the officers being considered for promotion, said George Piccirilli, chief of Evaluations, Selections and Promotions at the U.S. Army Human Resources Command at Fort Knox, Ky.

The Army is also launching a new Evaluation Entry System to replace AKO My Forms as the tool used to create, submit and track an OER through to completion. The web-based application is designed to eliminate errors and will be more user friendly, HRC officials say.

The new effort was first reported by Army Times in May.

Under the current system, the rater “basically advocated to the senior rater who was the best and assessed performance and potential, but they were not held accountable to that evaluation because there is no mechanism to hold them accountable,” Piccirilli said.

With the new OER, “we are holding rating officials accountable … based upon a rater profile,” Piccirilli said. “Senior raters will also have a profile so it will provide clear delineation between what the rater is focusing on and senior rater is focusing on.”

Army officials stressed that the current system is not “broken,” but after 14 years, the Army’s competencies and attributes for officer evaluation are out of date. The new attributes can be found in the new ADRP 6-22.

“What is success? How do you want me to accomplish this performance objective as it relates to the competencies and attributes like character, presence, intellect, leads, develops, achieves?” said Piccirilli. “It will be more competitive. It is currently more competitive at the senor rater [level], but the rater is going to have to make a call like the senior rater has to make a call, so it is going to be equally competitive at both levels.”

But that shouldn’t concern officers about their promotion prospects, Piccirilli said.

“There is always apprehension when you have a new system coming on; they always worry how is that going to affect me,” he said. “I always remind officers -- if you are performing well, then you will do well.”

The new OER system is slated to go into effect Dec. 1, but it may take some time before the new Evaluation Entry System is running smoothly.

“We have to make sure this is right; we have to make sure this system is working because it is a web-based system,” Piccirilli said. “Most importantly, we have to train the field.”

Senior raters need to start talking to the junior officers to help them understand how to manage a profile, Piccirilli said. “This is how you should assess an officer, how to write a narrative, how to quantifiably describe an officer -- those are the things that we need to teach rating officials.”

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