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The officer assignment process.

The Army Human Resources Command (HRC) is a field operating agency of the Army G-1. HRC's primary mission is to manage the Army's military personnel. [HRC was formed in October when the Total Army Personnel Command and the Army Reserve Personnel Command merged.] HRC has two management directorates: the Officer Personnel Management Directorate (OPMD) and the Enlisted Personnel Management Directorate. Although the assignment processes for officer and enlisted personnel are similar, this article will address only officer assignments.

OPMD's primary mission is to manage the Army's officer personnel, including assignment and career management of officers worldwide. OPMD is made up of nine divisions, each responsible for managing a specific group of officers. For example, the Warrant Officer Division (WOD) develops the professional capabilities of individual warrant officers through planned schooling and worldwide assignments while satisfying valid Army requirements for warrant officers. This means placing the right warrant officer with the right skills in the right position at the right time.

Within each division, career managers (CMs) are responsible for assigning officers within specific career management fields. The CMs rely on Army Regulation (AR) 600-3, The Army Personnel Proponent System, and Department of the Army Pamphlet (DA Pam) 600-3, Commissioned Officer Development and Career Management, for guidance in assigning officers worldwide to career developing and enhancing positions or schools while fully supporting the needs of the Army.

The Assignment Process

The assignment process is much more complicated than it appears to be because HRC takes great care in assigning the right officer to the right position and because CM's have rules that they must follow. The assignment process has these elements: Army requirements, availability for assignment, career development needs, officer preference, training and education, personal and compassionate factors, and overseas equity.

Army requirements. Above all else, the reason for making an assignment is to fill a valid Army requirement. In lhct, according to AR 614-100, Officer Assignment Policies, Details, and Transfers, assignments involving permanent change-of-station moves are authorized only when required by national security or to ensure equitable treatment of soldiers.

Normally, a reassignment happens when an officer leaves a position and the losing agency generates a requisition for a replacement. Valid Army requirements for personnel are specified on the various tables of organization and equipment and tables of distribution and allowances. Grade, branch, functional area, skill, and special remarks are documented for each position within The Army Authorization Documents System, which is maintained by the Army G-3.

Annually, the Army projects positions to be filled and places officers on orders to occupy the vacancies. Within OPMD, requisition cycles are opened semiannually. The assignment branches then determine which officers meet the position requirements and are available for assignment using the criteria of availability and career development needs.

Availability for assignment. Officers are considered available for assignment when they complete the required tour length specified in AR 614-100 for locations in the continental United States (CONUS) and outside the continental United States (OCONUS). Department of Defense and Army policies for tour length are changed based on a variety of external factors, including budget limitations. The Army's goal for a CONUS tour length is 3 years. Normally, an officer can be reassigned alter 24 months if he has volunteered to move or if a higher priority requirement exists. CMs use the available officers to fill most requisitions.

Career development needs. Regardless of availability, career development in an officer's functional area is an important piece in the assignment process. For example, the Quartermaster warrant officer (QM WO) has a life cycle development model in DA Pare 600-3 (currently being revised). The model provides the QM WO a career path and goals for institutional training, operational assignments, and self development goals that may culminate in his reaching the grade of W-5. The CM for QM WOs uses this model to effectively make career assignment and training opportunity decisions for the officers he manages.

Officer preference. Besides Army requirements, availability, and career development, the CMs must also consider each officer's preferences. Officers now can submit their personal duty and assignment preferences via the World Wide Web. CMs routinely check officer preferences in an effort to assign an officer to a location or position that he has requested. CMs cannot always satisfy preferences because of changing requirements, but they try to satisfy as many as possible.

Training and education. When possible, CMs arrange for schooling while an officer is en route to his next assignment to meet the special requirements of the new position. Degree completion programs, long-term training such as the Army Logistics Management College's Logistics Executive Development Course at Fort Lee, Virginia, and training with industry programs also may be considered for exceptional officers.

Personal and compassionate factors. In some cases, officers encounter personal hardships and emergencies. CMs may attempt to assist in such circumstances by adjusting the assignment. In some cases, formal requests for compassionate deferments from assignment or requests for reassignment are required. Two programs that can affect assignments are the Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) and the Married Army Couples Program.

Overseas equity. Overseas tour equity is always a consideration when selecting officers for assignments. Officers serve in a variety of OCONUS locations. Some OCONUS assignments are long tours accompanied by families, and some are short tours, or dependent-restricted tours, without families. Every CM's goal is to distribute OCONUS accompanied and unaccompanied assignments equitably among the officers they manage in order to maintain high morale. In many cases, OCONUS tours can broaden an officer's professionalism, and CMs consider this element in each assignment action. However, the Army's needs always come first. For example, currently the demand for military occupational specialty (MOS) 920A (property book officer [PBO]) warrant officers in OCONUS short-tour assignments is greater than the demand for 921As (airdrop technicians) and 922As (food service technicians); therefore, 920As will receive more OCONUS assignments.

Making an Assignment

Let's look at an example of how a decision is made on assigning a junior warrant officer, MOS 920A to Germany. (See chart on next page.) The unit to which he will be assigned is a separate engineer battalion that is authorized one 920A CW2.

Of the 10 920A warrant officers with the most time on station in CONUS, only 3 are available for this assignment: Miller, Negron, and Pitt. CW2 Miller has the most time on station; however, he will be in the zone of consideration for promotion this year and most likely will make CW3. Therefore, he will not be considered for this assignment.

This leaves us with CW2 Negron and CW2 Pitt. Neither officer has served on a long tour or in Europe or has volunteered for this assignment. The CM will review the Career Management Information File (CMIF) of each officer to determine his level of experience and performance. He will contact each officer to determine if there are any reasons that the officer cannot be reassigned.

Since CW2 Negron has 37 months on station and is currently serving on a division property book team, this assignment would be career enhancing for him. CW2 Pitt is currently serving as a separate signal battalion PBO, and this assignment would not be career enhancing since he would only be going from one battalion to another battalion. Ideally, CW2 Pitt's next assignment would be to a division PBO team or to a brigade. The CM decides to assign CW2 Negron to Germany.

Although this is an over-simplified example of how the assignment process works, it is typical of how assignment decisions are made. The assignment process is not science; it is more an art that is constantly changing and being refined based on the latest requirements, information, and personal desires of the officers being managed. The assignment process is, however, equitable and fair. Officers are rarely allowed to "homestead" in one location forever, except for highly specialized assignments, such as the 75th Ranger Regiment, the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, and the White House Communications Agency, which require continuity above all else.

Personal Interviews

Officers often ask, "Is it beneficial for me to have a face-to-face interview with nay career manager?" The answer is yes. Personal interviews, whether at conferences, training events, or during HRC field trips, are important elements not only in the assignment process but also in developing a mentorship between the officer and the CM.

During the interview, the CM can get to know the officer much better than by reviewing his CMIE talking on the phone, or sending emails back and forth. He can assess the officer's character and professionalism. CMs can also visibly observe the officer's conduct, manner of speech, delivery, and potential. These factors can be critical when assignments are to specialized or unique positions, such as working with U.S. embassies or the White House Communications Agency.

Every officer should meet personally with his CM. It is important to ensure that the CM considers each officer as a person, not just a name on a piece of paper, when making assignment decisions.

CMs exercise great care when assigning officers. Personal concerns are taken seriously but never in lieu of Army requirements. However, every officer must take the lead in his overall career management plan, be it a 5-year plan or just for his next assignment. He should be proactive and stay on top of the changes being made within his MOS. He should stay informed about the changes being made within the transforming Army, be willing to move to the next career-enhancing position rather than to the next ideal location, and, above all, be ready and willing to move.
Warrant Officers Available for Consideration for the Assignment

 Time on
 Station
Name (months) Factors

CW2 Adams 42 Approved for retirement
CW2 Jones 41 Joint domicile
CW2 Johnson 39 Promotable
CW2 Miller 38 Available
CW2 Marks 38 EFMP--cannot be assigned to that location
CW2 Negron 37 Available
CW2 Nelson 35 Serving in engineer battalion
CW2 Pitt 32 Available
CW2 Pyle 30 Last OCONUS tour was long tour
CW2 Zain 30 Newly promoted


CHIEF WARRANT OFFICER (W-4) GARY A. MARQUEZ IS THE QUARTERMASTER CAREFR MANAGER WITH THE ARMY HUMAN RESOURCES COMMAND. He HOLDS A MASTER'S DEGREE IN PUBLIC ADMINISIRAIION FROM THE UNIVFRSITY OF OKLAHOMA AND IS A GRADUATE OF THE WARRANT OFFICER STAFF COURSG THE WARRANT OFFICER ADVANCFD COURSE, AND THE STAFF ACTION OFFICER COURSE.
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Author:Marquez, Gary A.
Publication:Army Logistician
Date:Jan 1, 2004
Words:1714
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