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Box check returns to company-grade OERs

By C. Todd Lopez

WASHINGTON (Sept. 18, 2011) -- For company-grade officers, the senior-rater "box check" will soon reappear on officer evaluation reports.

The Army is making multiple changes to officer evaluation policy to better identify officer talent and potential. Those changes take effect Oct. 1, and apply to OERs with a "thru" date of Nov. 1 and later.

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Included among the changes are modifications to the senior-rater successive assignments list, accountability for completion of a multi-source assessment and feedback/360, a reduction in short-term evaluations, and the reintroduction of the senior-rater box check for company-grade officers. In addition, the OER support form will now be optional.

The OER form -- DA FORM 67-9 -- now presents the "above center of mass," "center of mass," "below center of mass, retain," and "below center of mass, do not retain" check boxes for only those officers above the rank of captain. But for OERs with a "thru" date of Nov. 1 and later, the box check will be displayed for all Army officers, except chief warrant officers 5 and major generals.

"We're bringing back honest feedback both for the rater and the senior rater. It goes back to rater accountability for fairly and accurately accessing their Soldiers," said George Piccirilli, chief, Evaluation, Selection & Promotion Division, Adjutant General Directorate, U.S. Army Human Resources Command. "When you bring back the senior- rater box check, we reinstate senior rater accountability to the company-grade officer."

Piccirilli also said the box check better informs company-grade talent management by providing selection boards with information needed to "identify the best talent."

The changes to officer evaluation will take place at the same time for all Army officers, including active duty, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve.

Raters will also now indicate on the OER if an officer has completed the 360/Multi-Source Assessment Feedback. The 360/MSAF process is required of officers every three years -- though Piccirilli said not all officers knew that.

Within the 360/MSAF program, officers ask their subordinates, peers and superiors to evaluate them -- the input is meant to help officers develop as leaders. While the input they get will not influence their OER -- or even appear on their OER, because only the officers themselves can see the information -- their participation will be noted on the OER form.

"It has no impact on the evaluation," Piccirilli said. "It's just a tool that says it's important, and that you need to do one. It's kind of a forcing function."

One box on the OER form now asks senior raters to "list three future assignments for which this officer is best suited."

That instruction will change too as a result of the policy change. Instead, senior raters will now be asked to indicate "three successive assignments," instead of three future assignments. Senior raters will be asked to look "three to five years" into an officer's future, and suggest what their next three assignments should be.

"Some senior raters were exaggerating, telling a young lieutenant he's the next corps commander," Piccirilli said. "So it kind of puts reality in, focusing on the future jobs for the officer."

The list of next assignments not only serves selection boards, Piccirilli said, but also helps personnel specialists put officers into the right jobs.

Finally, as a result of the policy change, senior raters may opt for a memorandum of input in lieu of a change-of-rater evaluation, when an officer's rater changes. The policy change reduces multiple short-term evaluations, particularly in deployed situations.

The new policy takes place Oct. 1, for all Army officers, across all three components. It applies to OERs with a "thru" date of Nov. 1 and later. More information about the changes can be found at:

The policy change for officer evaluations helps officers by helping the Army identify the best talent in uniform, Piccirilli said.

"As we start reshaping, we have to make sure we have to identify our best officers -- they are our future leaders," Piccirilli said. "They have the potential to be the future leaders of the Army, and we have to make sure we take care of them."

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