This Is the Army’s Newest Tool to Help Squad Leaders Connect with Soldiers

Soldier checks out his smartphone. (Photo Credit: PEO Soldier)
Soldier checks out his smartphone. (Photo Credit: PEO Soldier)

The U.S. Army plans to roll out a mobile app for its squad leaders that will act as a daily playbook and provide a new way to advise and connect with soldiers.

The move is part of the service's "This is My Squad" initiative to address challenges in the force and reemphasize its cultural values.

Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston said Tuesday that, while the TIMS app will evolve over time, its immediate goal is to provide leaders with resources that better inform their management decisions.

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One objective is to leverage the current Army Sponsorship Program, which assists soldiers and families when they transition into a different unit. The app will put information about new soldiers at squad leaders' fingertips, Grinston said during the Association of the United States Army's 2020 virtual meeting.

"I've got an app that helps me" with transitioning members, he said. "Say I see that [a soldier] is coming into my unit. He's got a family, he needs a house, he's got kids, his kids go to school … so ... I can use sponsorship and welcome [him] into my unit."

Another goal is documenting training management. Leaders can use the app to log members' training activities, such as Army Combat Fitness Test performance, or to use an ACFT calculator during a live physical training event.

In the future, the Army wants to add other personnel resources to the app, such as the Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army, known as IPPS-A, Grinston said.

"Changes in benefits … will [one day] be integrated in the This is My Squad app," he added.

In August, the service announced that the TIMS app will replace Army Training and Doctrine Command's "Squad Leader" app, which "let NCOs and junior soldiers access learning and development tools," according to a release.

A specialized team is partnering with Army Futures Command on the TIMS effort.

Grinston did not provide an official release date for the new app, but the Army previously said its development will continue through fiscal 2021, the release said.

Under Grinston, the service debuted the "This is My Squad" initiative last year to strengthen unit-level cohesion and address issues such as suicide, sexual harassment and morale.

Grinston has said he wants troops to focus on unit cohesion while checking in on fellow soldiers' needs.

"When you think of 'my squad,' you think of something positive you do every day to take care of each other," Grinston said during a discussion with soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, in January. "Do you sit down with your squads? Do you spend time with them? We want to build a committed organization that's founded in a cohesive team built in trust."

-- Oriana Pawlyk can be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @Oriana0214.

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