News: HRC briefs Alaska officers on OER changes
FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska - The Army is changing the way it evaluates officers, the commanding general of U.S. Army Human Resources Command, told leaders at a briefing Dec. 3 here.
The changes aim to align the Army Officer Evaluation System with current Army leadership doctrine, identify top performers and instill rater accountability, according to Maj. Gen. Richard P. Mustion, HRC commander.
“(The current officer evaluation report form) is not reflective of our current leadership doctrine or the current environment,” Mustion said. “That’s the driving force behind the transitioning.”
There will be three versions of the new OER for specific “grade plates,” or groups of officer ranks: one for captains and below, another for field grade officers and chief warrant officers in the three highest grades and a third for colonels and brigadier generals, dubbed “strategic leaders” under the new system.
On the new form, raters will only be able to check the top block on less than 50 percent of the officers they rate. The online form will not allow raters to exceed that percentage.
Developing rater profiles and a limit on top blocks will call on raters to be judicious about identifying officers as top performers, according to HRC. Under the current system, raters can give all of their subordinates top blocks if they choose. Only senior raters have a profile and are limited to a percentage of top blocks.
“We need to increase accountability to identify our best officers, as well as those with the greatest potential,” Mustion said.
The form will also eliminate what Mustion described as the current form’s “Rubik’s Cube of box checks” for attributes, skills and actions. Instead raters will be required to write specific statements about an officer's attributes and leadership.
Under the new system, OER support forms will still be mandatory for captains and below, but will be optional for field-grade officers and above. OER counseling will still be required for all officers.
Raters will be asked to recommend not only specific operational assignments for officers, according to HRC, but also must list appropriate broadening assignments such as fellowships, interagency and intergovernmental positions.
The new OER is planned for implementation by the end of 2013; but not until the form design is complete, regulations are updated and training on the new system is in place, according to HRC.
The current OER form, DA Form 67-9, has been in effect since 1997.
(Editor’s note: Master Sgt. Eric Reinhardt and Staff Sgt. Trish McMurphy contributed to this report.)