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Army resumes competitive grading on junior officer evaluation forms

WASHINGTON — The Army’s revised Officer Evaluation Report once again will grade junior officers and warrant officers against their peers, a change that could significantly affect promotion prospects for the nearly 60,000 active-duty captains, lieutenants, chief warrant officers two and warrant officers, as well as their reserve counterparts.

Beginning Nov. 1, they will be be rated as above, below or within the “center of mass” of their peers.

Their senior raters, who are most often colonels, may rate no more than 49 percent in the “top block.” The rest have to be described as either “center of mass” or “below center of mass.”

The reinstatement comes seven years after the Army eliminated the “center of mass” evaluation requirement for company grade officers.

“It facilitates honest feedback between the rated officer and his rating chain, and reinstates senior rater accountability for company grade officers,” said George Piccirilli, chief of the Army’s Evaluation, Selection and Promotion Division, part of U.S. Army Human Resources Command at Fort Knox, Ky. “It provides more information to identify the Army’s best talent while supporting future Army action as selection rates start decreasing.”

The Army has 30,017 captains, 9,149 first lieutenants, 10,321 second lieutenants, 6,598 in the rank of chief warrant officer, two, and 2,387 in the rank of warrant officer. All will be affected by the change, along with their peers in the National Guard and Army Reserve.

Among other changes to the Officer Evaluation Report, commonly referred to as an OER, which apply to all officers:

  • The report will indicate whether company grade officers have begun a 360-degree feedback process, in which they are supposed to ask peers and subordinates for input on their performance. However, Piccirilli emphasized that the results of that feedback are not included on the official evaluation.

“We want to keep it developmental,” he said. “It has no impact on your evaluation.”

  •  Senior raters will be required to list the next three jobs that they believe the officer is qualified for, as opposed to simply listing jobs that they might be qualified for later in their careers.

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“Under ‘future assignments’ we’ve seen captains as future brigade commanders [and] lieutenants as the next corps commander,” Piccirilli said. “We’re just trying to get the next three assignments. That can be used at HRC as well as a good mechanism for the officer, to say, ‘This is what I should be targeting.’”

  • Officers whose raters change in the middle of an evaluation period will be able to wait until the end of their regular evaluation period before getting another OER, provided that their senior rater remains the same.

Additionally, rating officers will no longer be required to use an official OER Support Form in order to counsel their subordinates and write the OERs themselves.

Officers who have questions about the changes can contact Army Human Resources Command directly at 1-888-276-9472, or via email at askhrc.army@us.army.mil

murphyjrb@stripes.com

Twitter: @billmurphyjr

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