Frequently Asked Questions
Army Talent Alignment Process
Is the Army Talent Alignment Process a new program for the Army?
Although ATAP will be a new experience for the majority of Army officers and organizations, the Army has already seen two successful pilot programs involving ATAP. Between 2010 and 2012, the Army used a similar program known as Green Pages, which resulted in nearly 750 Engineer officers receiving PCS orders. More recently, the Army used the AIM 2.0 software program to distribute orders to over 12,000 officers during the 19-02 (Summer) distribution cycle. The market for the 20-01 movement cycle, the first in which officers and units were able to select and preference one another based on KSB-Ps, recently closed. These officers will begin movement starting in October 2019.
How does ATAP work?
ATAP begins with the individual officer building a “résumé” in AIM 2.0 which highlights their unique KSB-Ps. The current version of AIM 2.0 includes a list of more than 5,000 separate KSBs from which an officer can choose. Subsequent versions of this program will likely include even more. Through AIM 2.0, officers can see and apply for any available vacancy in the Army. Organizations begin the process by detailing the duty description for each job vacancy and listing the desired KSBs. After officers preference jobs, organizations can then view “résumés”, interview applicants, and preference the right candidate for the job.
What responsibility does the individual officer have during this process?
Individual officers are responsible for ensuring their “résumés” are up-to-date and accurate in AIM 2.0. Officers are also responsible for searching for available jobs, reading the information in the job listing, and preference desired positions.
What responsibility does the unit have during this process?
Units must ensure their job listings are up-to-date and accurate as well, including key information such as expected command queue time, etc. Units are responsible for viewing “résumés”, interviewing candidates, and preference the right person for the job.
The old system alleviated a lot of work on both the individual and the organization. Why should we go through all this trouble?
ATAP gives individuals greater say in their career, allowing them to preference an assignment which better matches their unique KSB-Ps. Organizations now have the ability to preference the right person with the right talent for the job at hand. Rather than creating more work, ATAP empowers both people and organizations with the tools to make decisions.
Does ATAP foster favoritism and nepotism? Isn’t this just a glorified By-Name-Request system?
Due to the increased amount of transparency, ATAP should guard against favoritism and nepotism. Traditionally, senior leaders had the ability to submit By-Name-Requests (BNRs) to preference personnel they thought were most qualified for the job. However, a senior leader was generally only able to draw from a talent pool of people they knew personally. Conversely, those with unique KSBs were often precluded from assignments where they could best use their talents simply because they did not have the right connections. With ATAP, any officer can apply for any assignment based on their unique qualifications, and organizations can now draw from a much larger talent pool.
Battalion Commanders Assesment Program
What is the Battalion Commander Assessment Program?
The purpose of the BCAP is to expand the Army’s understanding of each officer’s talents and assess their potential fitness for command. The BCAP will consider the results of the CSL board, as well as cognitive, non-cognitive, physical, written, oral assessments and a series of interviews.
When does the BCAP start?
Beginning with the FY21 LTC ACC CSL board, officers selected to be considered for battalion command and critical billets will travel to Fort Knox, KY between 15 January 2020 and 9 February 2020 to attend one (1) of eighteen (18) 4-day assessments.
What does the assessment consist of?
The assessment is designed to gather information about the candidates’ fitness for command and potential, physical fitness, writing skills, and cognitive and non-cognitive abilities. Assessments are a set of instruments that provide a standardized common lens, are valid, and reliable for the purpose of providing accurate and granular talent data on an individual. There is also a “blind” interview with a panel of senior Army officers.
Why is the Army changing the way it selects battalion commanders?
The basic tenet of the BCAP is that the addition of relevant information about a candidate leads to better decisions. Battalion commanders have traditionally been selected by a board’s determination of an order of merit based on a limited amount of information about eligible officers, specifically, information included in their Officer Evaluation Reports and their Officer Record Brief. The information gathered during the assessment process can be used to refine the Army’s ability to more precisely match the strengths of its developing leaders against the array of critical responsibilities and missions the Army faces today, and in the future.
What will the results of the assessment be used for?
The Army will use the BCAP results to determine principal command selects; alternate command selects; and removal of officers from command consideration. The results of the assessment will be used in conjunction with the officer’s past performance to identify principal and alternate command selects. Officers may also be removed from consideration as a result of their performance during the additional assessments. Past performance, as measured by an officer’s standing on the centralized selection order of merit list, will still play a large role in determining a new order of merit.
What does the physical assessment consist of?
The physical assessment ensures officers meet current Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) standards, height, and weight requirements.
What other assessments are being used?
BCAP candidates will take cognitive and non-cognitive assessments that assess potential. The assessments are predictors of senior leader potential and advancement that have been developed and validated since 1993. Officers will be evaluated on their verbal communication skills during a panel interview as well as compose an argumentative essay. The scoring rubrics for both are located on the Command Management Division website at https://www.hrc.army.mil/content/22017.
Who is exempt from the BCAP?
Officers may request an exemption to participate in the BCAP for the following reasons: maternity convalescent leave; pregnant and not medically cleared to participate; hospitalization; officers on emergency leave; and other extenuating circumstances. Officers who decline to attend the BCAP will be removed from command/key billet consideration without prejudice and may compete the following year, if eligible.
Will the Army change the way it selects brigade commanders?
During his remarks at AUSA’s annual meeting, GEN McConville said the Army will potentially expand the BCAP to sergeants major and brigade-level commands in the future, based on what the Army learns in January. The Army is undertaking a significant reform of its entire personnel system to a talent management system beginning with the Officer Corps. The Army Talent Management Task Force conducts pilots to inform policy changes to the way the Army manages the talent of its commissioned officers.
How many officers participated in the Battalion Commander Assessment Pilot and where was held?
Twenty-seven officers in the Infantry and Armor branches participated in the BCAP pilot held at Fort Benning, Ga. 9-13 June 2019 and 22-26 July 2019.
Opt-In to Promotion Boards
Opt-Out of Promotion Boards
Why is the Army doing this?
For years the Army has relied on a time-based promotion system to provide the Army the ready force it needs for service to the nation. However, there are instances where the time-based promotion boards can discourage participation in opportunities for greater development of an officer’s talents. Officers who opt out of a promotion board will elongate the amount of time spent in their current grade to allow more time for developmental experiences, either at the current grade or the future grade.
Is this to allow an officer to improve their competitiveness at the promotion board?
No. It is to enable time for greater development in the current grade or future grade. As an example of criteria that may be used, a KD-complete captain in Advanced Civil Schooling (ACS) whose major promotion board approaches, may now opt out of that board to complete the schooling and requisite utilization tour, allowing him or her to promote to major later, attend ILE later, and spend the same amount of time as a major as a due course officer who did not opt out or attend ACS. Similarly, the major who attended ILE later than usual but is very interested in SAMS who approaches the lieutenant colonel board without adequate time rated as a major on OERs may elect to pursue SAMS now and plan to postpone the lieutenant colonel promotion board until after developing longer as a major.
What is the process for opting out?
Officers submit requests via AIM2 as a career opportunity Personnel Action Request. Only officers eligible for the promotion board will see this option in AIM2. Officers must provide a DA4187 (Request for Personnel Action) and memorandum explaining their request. The first O6 in their chain of command must sign the DA4187. HRC will post an example of the 4187 and memorandum for reference.
To which boards does this apply?
The Army will begin offering this option for the FY20 LTC ACC Promotion Board, scheduled to convene in February 2020. We will also offer it for the FY20 MAJ ACC Board next summer, and consider offering the option to all future promotion boards, both Active and Reserve Component, including Special Branch boards.
How many times may an officer opt out of a promotion board?
An officer may opt out of a promotion board twice at each grade.
Will promotion board members know that an officer previously opted out of a promotion board?
Yes. An approved request to opt out will be present in the officer’s files, and will be seen by selection boards; it will be present in the remarks section of the ORB, visible to promotion and selection boards. Opting out is a significant step toward flexible career paths, and one the Army will consider carefully before approving. Justification for approval must support the officer’s career advancement and development, and the needs of the Army.
Will an officer’s Cohort Year Group be changed if he or she opts out of a promotion board?
Yes, an officer’s year group will be adjusted to match the population of their new zone of consideration.
Will an officer’s current date of rank be changed if he or she opts out of a promotion board?
No. An officer’s date of rank will remain the same.
If an officer opts out of his or her Primary Zone (PZ) board, will he or she be considered for Above Zone (AZ) promotion the following year?
No. The officer will compete for PZ promotion the following year.
May an officer opt out of an AZ board?
No. The law stipulates that an officer may not opt out if he or she “previously failed of selection for promotion to the grade for which [they request] the exclusion from consideration.” If an officer has been previously considered and not selected, he or she will not be eligible to request to opt out of subsequent considerations.
Will opting out of a promotion board be evident on an officer’s ORB?
Yes. Remarks will remain in Section X of an officer’s ORB, but will be removed when he or she is selected for promotion to the next rank.
How will opting out of a promotion board affect an officer’s career progression?
Opting out of a promotion board is intended to allow an officer more time to develop at his or her present grade. Once promoted, the officer’s progression will resume normally for his or her time in grade.
Is an officer who received an Article 15 / General Officer Memorandum of Reprimand / Referred AER in this current grade eligible to request to opt out?
No. Receipt of derogatory information in the current grade disqualifies an officer from requesting to opt out.
Merit Based Promotions
GRE at Captains Career Course
Why is the Army implementing the GRE at the Captains Career Course?
The Army will use the results of the GRE to inform selection decisions for who attends competitive advanced education programs. The GRE is the first of many assessments the Army will implement in order to gain accurate, detailed, and objective information about the knowledge, skills, and behaviors of its people.
Do I have to take the GRE if I don’t want to go to graduate school?
What if I have already taken the GRE or have an advanced degree? Yes, even if the officer has no desire to attend a graduate program during their service or already have a master’s degree, they are expected to take the GRE. The data collected will be used to inform and shape future decisions about officer development.
Where do my scores go?
Educational Testing Services (ETS) distributes four copies of a participant’s GRE results at no cost to the participant. One will be uploaded to the officer’s Official Military Personnel File (OMPF). A second copy will be sent to Army Research Institute (ARI) for research purposes and two will be sent to educational institutions of the officer’s choosing.
Who can see my results?
Your scores will be viewable when applying to Army programs (fellowships, advanced civil schooling, etc) that require a master’s program. Your scores will not appear on your ORB.
Will they affect promotion or evaluation?
No, GRE results are not viewable by promotion board members or commanders.
Can I take the GRE again to raise my results?
Yes, you may take the GRE again to attempt to improve your score. However, OPMF can only have one result uploaded at a time. You may apply your Defense Activities Non-Traditional Education System (DANTES) benefit towards a GRE exam taken outside of CCC. This is a one-time benefit – if you have already used your DANTES benefit you will not be able to use it again and any future testing attempts will be out of pocket.
Will captains have to pay to take the GRE?
No, the Army will provide each student a voucher to take the GRE. This voucher is not deducted from the officer’s DANTES benefit.
Where will the GRE be administered?
GRE testing will be conducted at the installation by an ETS mobile testing team or at local ETS testing sites. Each individual CCC class will receive information about the test location, date, and time when they report to CCC.
Why did the Army select the GRE?
The GRE is the most commonly accepted tool currently available that is used by some universities to make admissions decisions for applicants to graduate school.