The commanding general for Army Human Resources Command visited the National Training Center and Fort Irwin and briefed an audience of non-commissioned officers, warrant officers, and commissioned officers, March 20.
Major Gen. Richard Mustion provided updates on changes to evaluation reports and discussed ways of retaining the quality of our personnel. During his briefing, the discussion and interaction brought up new ideas and topics that could facilitate a better working Army. Changes that will be occurring in the personnel system include the drawdown in total number of Soldiers and changes in the evaluation reports.
The primary concerns Mustion focused on were maintaining the quality of service members while slowly meeting the Army’s goals of a personnel drawdown. In past drawdowns, the Army made cuts quickly and therefore left gaps in certain personnel. Currently, the goal is to keep personnel and not make large cuts without prior and deliberate planning, Mustion said. The needs and care of those individuals leaving the Army will also be taken under close consideration in order to ensure Veterans are taken care of before their departure.
The general’s three main talking points at Fort Irwin were as follows:
The first was to explain the major changes to the Officer Evaluation Report (OER) and the Non – Commissioned Officer Evaluation Report (NCOER) along with a discussion of how selection occurs for officers and NCO’s. According to Mustion, the most important changes to the evaluation reports are how the Army assesses leaders while keeping them accountable by being able to complete their mission. The biggest difference in the new evaluation is the direct alignment to the manner of performance with Leadership Doctrine and the ability to show the manner of performance by a rater’s comments. Additionally, a Soldier’s potential is clarified through their senior rater’s comments by getting to the point with precise writing. The end state is to encourage that type of dialogue that focuses on future leadership and improvement for the individual Soldier.
The second goal is to get feedback from NCO’s and officers in reference to their concerns on what is important to their Families and careers in order to maintain readiness in the Army, said Mustion.
Readiness of the Army is facilitated through dialogue at these types of events. Feedback by Officers and NCO’s is important to clarify shortages and needs within the Army. The Army has programs in place to help those looking to transition through retirement or separation. Some of the changes include Active Duty personnel moving to National Guard and Reserve positions in order to keep a balance during these transitions. Other options in place that can help with transition are education, business and training opportunities that are available to those looking at transition.
The third topic covered possible OER updates. Excellent ideas have come from the field for updating the evaluation reports, Mustion said. The importance of focusing comments on performance to match leadership qualities and overall performance is the first change being implemented. The second major change is the capability of a senior rater to focus comments on overall potential in future duties. This includes discussion of how programs available can be implemented to facilitate a Soldier’s progression and career path. Leaders from throughout the Army were brought in to facilitate the discussion and get feedback in reference to their progression, said Mustion.
Mustion toured the installation and expressed appreciation for both Soldiers and their Families. He understood the great sacrifice and dedication that Families have along with the importance of the mission here.
“As the Secretary of the Army stated: The strength of our Army is our Soldiers and the strength of our Soldiers is their Families,” Mustion said. “Thank you to the Soldiers and Families here at Fort Irwin. The work is vital to the overall readiness of the Army and key to our future success. The base and operational tempo out here is incredible. The job and training that every Soldier facilitates at Fort Irwin is imperative to the readiness of our Army.”
Mustion also spoke about the amazing improvements in quality of life that he saw here and mentioned the many amazing locations in California.
“Our Families are dealing with a great sacrifice of their time while here at Fort Irwin. The operation tempo is constant,” Mustion said. “Hopefully, the Soldiers and their Families take the time to get out and enjoy California.”