The introduction of the Army Talent Alignment Process and Assignment Interactive Module 2 brought the Army’s talent management system into the 21st century. Officers and warrant officers are given every assignment option available to them during their movement window along with the ability to market themselves for potential, future assignments based off their own preferences for the first time ever. While the system is working and providing great results for both the individuals and the units, the III Armored Corps senior Sustainer, BG Ronald Ragin, Commander, 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command, noticed sustainment talent was being pooled in specific units across Fort Hood while others were struggling to accomplish critical missions and maintain sustainment readiness.
BG Ragin’s answer to filling these gaps across Fort Hood while also maintaining III Armored Corps as a people-centric organization was to create the Sustainment Talent Management Center (STMC). Starting in November 2020, O6s in the Adjutant General, Finance, Logistics, and Medical Services branches and sustainment CW5s across Fort Hood meet bi-annually to discuss the talent management of field grade officers and warrant officers in their respective branches. Separate conferences are held for each officer branch and chaired by these senior personnel who can impact change. Each conference is scheduled to fall in line with the Army movement cycles in order to influence requisitions and ensure critical positions are filled.
Deliberate and candid discussions regarding the performance and potential of each person results in a color-coded assessment of each field grade sustainer on Fort Hood.
Using color-coded visuals
Panel members walk into the STMC and for the first time have the ability to clearly see all field grade officers and warrant officers in their branch and what positions they hold. Large magnets that include Rank, Name, Branch, Year Group, YMAV, Key Developmental Time Status, Gender, and Race are aligned for officers by unit and for warrant officers by MOS. This visual concept allows panel members to easily point out areas of concern (i.e. high turnover, pooling of high/low performers, etc.) and ensure each unit is given a diverse selection of personnel. Each panel member speaks on behalf of their subordinates in their unit or branch and conducts tiered leader assessments using color-coded magnets with the following guidelines:
Tier 1— Individuals are officers and warrant officers who are performing on a level well above their peers and whose performance is indicative of those that have the potential to command at the battalion-level and above. The best predictor of future performance is past performance. Leaders on this track complete their key development jobs and then are recommended for further broadening opportunities within the larger sustainment enterprise (i.e. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff internship, fellowships or joint assignments).
Tier 2— Individuals are those officers and warrant officers who have the potential to perform at higher levels; however, they require additional developmental time and investment. This is accomplished through a diversity of assignments to gain experience, or through intensive coaching, teaching, and mentoring by the senior sustainers on the installation. The goal is to provide the leader with the tools necessary to enable a higher level of performance and a broad base of experience.
Tier 3— Individuals are those officers and warrant officers who are not performing at the levels indicative of their current grade and level of responsibility. They are the focus of intensive coaching, mentorship, and counseling. They will be given the opportunity to complete key developmental assignments for their grade and level, however, opportunities on the installation may be limited due to performance. Field grade officers identified as Tier 3 are encouraged to seek guidance and mentorship from the senior sustainer.
Following the panel assessments, the board evaluates the sustainment effects across the installation or operationally (i.e., low performance at a CTC rotation or excellent maintenance management) and the Senior Commander’s priorities. This assessment will ascertain whether or not we have an imbalance of talent within any formation. The color-coded evaluation allows for a quick, visual indicator of imbalances across the installation while the peer-regulated process prevents the pooling of talent. Panel members also discuss any recommended moves or swaps. Recommendations of field grade slate updates are then submitted to III Armored Corps G1 with concurrence from the losing and gaining units.
The color-coded evaluation allows for a quick, visual indicator of imbalances across the installation while the peer-regulated process prevents the pooling of talent.
Lastly, the panel then looks at the individual developmental needs of those lower performing officers and warrant officers utilizing the baseball card and Soldier Record Brief. The panel attempts to provide the assessed leaders with the right balance of experiences and broaden their knowledge bases through Fort Hood’s unique diversity of assignment opportunities. BG Ragin and the senior officer or warrant officer in each assessed category set up office calls to open communication with the lower performers and determine what they can do as senior leaders to assist that officer or warrant officer in moving towards becoming Tier 1.
Each discussion is privileged and the color-coding is sanitized at the conclusion of each board. One of the main goals of the STMC is to groom officers who are falling behind and coach them to Tier 1 through assignment placement and mentorship, ultimately getting the right person, in the right position, at the right time. Metrics and data-overloaded products can get commanders only so far. Senior leaders must be engaged in managing the individual talent of each leader they hire.
To date, 355 field grade officers and warrant officers have been individually assessed at the STMC, impacting every unit on Fort Hood, and ensuring People First.
This article was contributed by CW2 Donna M. Pegues, Strength Manager and PAS Chief for the 13th Expeditionary Sustainment Command