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Facebook live town hall explains assignment process Addresses misconceptions, talk ‘sunset clause’ for CY17

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By DAVID RUDERMAN

U.S. Army Human Resources Command conducted a live Facebook enlisted town hall March 7, presenting information and fielding questions from Soldiers across the Army on the assignment process and the Select-Train-Educate-Promote program.

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The event was hosted by HRC’s senior enlisted leader, Command Sgt. Maj. Wardell Jefferson.

“As I travel around to various installations, myself and (Maj.) Gen. (Thomas) Seamands, (HRC commander), we receive a lot questions on these two topics. So I thought it was very important to bring the subject matter experts to you to discuss
these issues and answer any questions that you have for us,” said Jefferson.

“There are a lot of misconceptions out there. . . . That’s why I thought it was very important that they hear it from the experts who do this every day.”

Sgt. Maj. Dennis Bellinger of HRC’s Operations Management Division and chief of the Enlisted Armor Branch presented an overview of policy and practice guidelines that drive the assignment process. He detailed how Department of the Army policy and manning guidance determine force requirements, and how HRC manages the inventory of available Soldiers to prioritize assignments.

Bellinger described in detail how the list of enlisted targets generates a body of personnel requisitions, and how personnel development noncommissioned officers and branch managers apply an assortment of
talent management tools and processes as a part of determining individual assignments.

“One of the frustrations I have noticed as I battlefield circulate is that Soldiers and leaders have a problem not understanding the assignment process,” he said. “We use this process to assign approximately 383,000 Soldiers in over 170 (military occupational specialties).”

Bellinger also addressed questions from the field that dealt with topics such as time on station, special duty and broadening assignments and the Assignment Satisfaction Key program.

Jesse Bailey, Military Schools Branch chief, described the changes HRC has implemented in scheduling professional military education under STEP which was established as a result of Army Directive 2015-31.

The directive linked structured self development and the NCO education system in determining Soldier promotions. To implement STEP, HRC changed its methodology for scheduling Soldiers for the necessary basic, advanced and senior leadership courses, he said.

“This has led to numerous phone calls from Soldiers and leaders in the field,” said Bailey. “I am happy to be here this afternoon to discuss this with you and shed some light on how we schedule Soldiers for STEP.”

He responded to Soldiers’ questions on scheduling priorities, profiles, Enlisted Record Brief updates and ALC and SLC legacy backlogs. He also addressed the “sunset clause” affecting Soldiers on the calendar year 2017 sergeant first class list and the upcoming master leadership class which will become a requirement after the calendar year 2018 master sergeant promotion boards are released.

All three leaders reiterated that readiness is the fundamental consideration behind current policy and HRC’s execution of the relevant directives and guidelines to meet the needs of the Army.

While Bellinger and Bailey spoke to the field, nearly a dozen HRC assignment, military school and promotion subject matter experts responded in real time to questions coming in to the event page from across the Army.

As the town hall drew to a close, Jefferson summed up the bottom line for the force.

“For all the Soldiers out there in the field listening to this, I hope you understand that there is a common theme here,” he said. “It’s called communication. It is very important for you to communicate with your assignment managers. As Sgt. Maj. Bellinger stated, you can go on the website, find your career management field and your manager by your skill level and grade and reach out to
them. Communication is the key to success here.”

“We always talk about having leaders that assist us with managing our careers, but I will tell you: you are your best career manager. And the way that you can assist yourself by being your best career manager is to become knowledgeable on all the things that affect you, your career, as well as your Soldiers and their Families. All these changes and everything that’s coming out within our Army, if you sit back and you wait for someone to give you that information, all you are doing is hurting yourself. The best thing that you
can do is take initiative, read up on it when you see these military personnel messages coming out.”

Jefferson said Soldiers must absolutely take advantage of the availability of senior leaders who visit units to conduct professional NCO development. Individuals should take notes and ask the questions to get the information they need to advance their careers.

“If we have the opportunity to accomplish the Army mission with readiness, and take care of the Soldier’s preference and Family all in the same transaction, we will do that. . . . At the end of the day, we try to get to ‘yes.’ But the key is, you have got to understand that you are not always going to get it your way,” he said. “Army requirements and readiness drive everything that we do here at HRC, and that is our primary mission.”

An archived video of the enlisted town hall may be viewed on HRC’s home page, www.hrc.army.mil, and on the command’s YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/pWI1dpVDPJY. In addition, the full transcript of questions and answers between Soldiers and HRC’s subject matter experts may be found on the command Facebook page www.facebook.com/ ArmyHRC.

Jefferson announced his intention to organize a similar live-streaming event to focus on the centralized promotion process at a future date, probably in May. Check the HRC Facebook page for an announcement.

“Get engaged,” said Jefferson. “Talk to your leadership. Educate yourself and communicate with HRC.”