Improvements Coming to Officer Assignments Tool

Improvements Coming to Officer Assignments Tool

Photo by: U.S. Army

The software tool that drives the Army’s new officer assignment process will be improved and made more “user friendly” before the next round of assignments, the general officers in charge of the program said.

The changes come after the software inadvertently assigned officers to jobs for which they were not qualified, they said. The shortcoming in the automated tool was discovered between October and December during the first iteration of the Army Talent Alignment Process, the commercial-style hiring system designed to align officers with unit commanders seeking to fill staff positions.

“The automated tool eventually runs out of information to make decisions,” Maj. Gen. Joseph Calloway, commander of the U.S. Army Human Resources Command, said during a media roundtable at the Pentagon. Because the tool “doesn’t have perfect information, [it] assigned officers to jobs for which they were not qualified. What we’ve got to do is insert additional logic into that tool to prevent that from happening.”

The glitch notwithstanding, he said, more than half of the more than 14,000 officers who participated in the assignments cycle “and more than half the units received their first choice in the market,” he said.

Those officers will be moving into new jobs this summer, Calloway said, explaining that the automated tool will be improved for the next round of assignments in April.

“The officers on the back end of that corrected the problem,” Calloway said, noting that enabling the volume of users involved and sorting through all their resumes “takes a huge amount of bandwidth.”

“We’ve got surveys from the field, input from commanders, and we’re taking all of that to try to build improvements in the automated tool and improvements to the rules that underpin that tool,” Calloway said.

Maj. Gen. J.P. McGee, director of the Army Talent Management Task Force, pointed out that the ATAP is  also a “significant change” in the way the assignment process is carried out and involved an inevitable element of unfamiliarity among its users.

“I think what we’ll see in further executions is, now that we’ve done this with 14,500 officers or so, those lessons learned are going to be carried forward to the individuals and to the units, and they’re going to develop their own procedures to do this,” McGee said.