FORT GORDON, Ga. - The commanding general of Army Human Resources Command, Maj. Gen. Richard Mustion, talked with officers of Fort Gordon and the U.S. Army Signal Center of Excellence Sept. 18, 2013 at Alexander Hall about the soon-to-be revised Officer Evaluation Report and information on force-shaping and drawdown and promotion rates as part of the HRC Executive Road Show, a suite of briefings geared toward communicating and discussing the impact of recent and impending changes as the Army transitions to the future.
The opening comments to the session stressed that changes being implemented by HRC will affect all soldiers at all levels with Mustion describing in detail HRC’s role in the implementation of the new OER system, Department of the Army form 67-10, that is set to take place by the end of calendar year 2013.
“I don’t want anyone to think that the OER doesn’t work today,” said Mustion during his address. “It does. All we’re doing is making it better; making it more effective, making it more efficient.”
A few of the major changes to the OER include incorporating a rater profile, transition to forms based on grade plates, refined senior rater techniques, and the identification of operational and broadening assignments.
As examples of the revised report were displayed on a large screen, Mustion highlighted the key areas of change to each form describing the purpose of those changes and how they are geared toward better identifying the skills and attributes of the rated officer.
“Right now our raters are not held accountable, quite frankly, for what they say,” said Mustion. “That means there’s 97 percent of ‘above the box’ check [on the evaluation form] and there’s no check for what the rater puts in there. They’re not accountable for identifying the best performance.”
“Raters will be charged to identify in a controlled manner our very best performers,” he said.
The re-implementation of the OER support form will help them do just that by identifying those officers who are the cream of the crop based on their support form that will outline the rated officer’s key accomplishments, skills and attributes.
One reason for the change to the OER was to have an evaluation system that better aligned with current Army leadership doctrine and one that accurately evaluates the performance and potential of Army officers. The result is that the form will better inform and equip leaders to be able to create a more transparent process for officer assignments and selection.
Mustion said, “One of the messages we want to carry to the field is the critical importance to officers and noncommissioned officers to pay attention to their personnel records and when appropriate, use the My Board File application when they are being considered by a promotion board.”
Visits of this type are not new for HRC. Before the decades long operational tempo of back-to-back deployments HRC consistently sent teams to installations to brief the latest information on personnel issues. However the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan put a halt to such visits. The visits help bring to light hot topics and personnel issues that are of importance to soldiers and their families.
“We are investing heavily in transition assistance programs,” said Mustion. “Transition is now a commander’s program that emphasizes that soldiers begin transition education and assistance no later than 12 months prior to separation [from the Army] to ensure they are civilian career and/or education ready. Transition is a continual process, not an event; the earlier individuals begin preparing, the more successful they will be.”
When asked what message he had for family members of Fort Gordon, Mustion said, “These installation visits and the personal engagements that result give us a better understanding of soldiers’ concerns.”
“I think before we place an officer, NCO, or soldier on assignment instructions either to or from Fort Gordon [or anywhere] we ought to understand the impact the move will have on a soldier and the soldier’s family,” he said.
In regard to the HRC visits, Mustion shared, “This is a cultural change for HRC and it might take us a while to get there but I think it’s important for us to consider as we strengthen the all volunteer Army.”