Program lets soldiers pick job
Stars and Stripes May 7, 2004
ARLINGTON, Va. — For the first time, the Army is offering soldiers the opportunity to seek a follow-on assignment in a specific job in a specific unit, instead of just asking to go to a particular post and taking whatever job the Army assigns them there.
The new, Web-based volunteer assignment system, dubbed the Personnel Lifecycle Unit Selection System, or “PLUS2,” went live Saturday for enlisted soldiers.
From now until May 31, enlisted soldiers can use PLUS2 to volunteer for jobs that are up for grabs in three new “units of action” that will be formed this fall within the 173rd Airborne Brigade, Vincenza, Italy; the 101st Airborne Division, Fort Campbell, Ky.; and the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, N.Y.
“Units of action,” or UA, is the Army’s name for distinctly structured combat brigades that are supposed to replace the service’s historical emphasis on huge, heavy divisions.
Officers will have a similar chance to volunteer for jobs in the three units beginning about May 28.
Before PLUS2, soldiers submitted a “wish list” of bases where they hoped to be assigned. The job they performed once at that base was completely up to the Army, according to Army personnel spokesman Lt. Col. Stan Heath.
The new system is a chance for soldiers to “get into the action” in the Army’s “new and different” brigade structure, Heath said.
The Army plans to spend $20 billion over the next seven years to create a force of 42 smaller, more flexible and capable “units of action,” or active-duty combat brigades, up from the current force of 33 brigades.
The UAs also will have more support units attached, so they can operate independently of their parent divisions.
The new units will also be different because they will be “lifecycle managed,” which is the Army’s new buzzword for unit manning.
Under force stabilization, brigades will train and fight together for up to three years.
Army plans call for a three-to-four-month “reset” window when a UA will first be gathered together, followed by a six-month group training cycle and then a 30-month period of “combat readiness,” which will probably include either a six-month or one-year deployment.
Because the three units now under bid are force-stabilized, soldiers volunteering for jobs will be required to commit to staying with their selected unit for three years, Heath said.
Soldiers can access the PLUS2 sign-up system at the HRC Web site, https://www.hrc.army.mil/, by clicking on the PLUS2 icon.
When the enlisted window closes May 31, HRC managers will review all the applications and pick the soldiers they want to fill the jobs.