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Senior NCOs Undergo New Assessment Program

Photo by: 
U.S. Army/Pfc. Denice Lopez
Thursday, November 05, 2020

A group of senior NCOs under consideration for battalion command sergeant major positions will take part in a weeklong assessment that seeks to better select soldiers for leadership roles.

The prototype Sergeants Major Assessment Program, or SMAP, is similar to a new assessment program the Army rolled out earlier this year for prospective battalion commanders. The SMAP will be conducted by the Army Talent Management Task Force and begins in mid-November at Fort Knox, Kentucky. 

Thirty-two sergeants major are slated to participate, according to an Army news release. Results of the SMAP test will be non-binding, and the participants are all volunteers.

The test will be run in conjunction with the Battalion Commander Assessment Program for fiscal year 2022. The first BCAP earlier this year transitioned a decades-old system of command selection based on officer evaluation reports into a multifaceted assessment to determine the best officers for command.

As with the BCAP, the sergeants major participating in the prototype will take a series of assessments including an interview with a psychologist, the Army Physical Fitness Test, self, peer and subordinate feedback, and cognitive and non-cognitive assessments. The SMAP prototype will wrap up with a double-blind interview between the participants and a panel of nominative command sergeants major and senior commissioned officers, according to the release.

The selection process for officers in the ranks of major, lieutenant colonel and colonel for command and key staff billets was the Army’s first step in testing a transformational talent management system that seeks the best people for leadership positions. The lessons learned will now be applied to the NCO corps.

Other talent management initiatives in the preliminary stages of development for NCOs include the Army Talent Alignment Process and the First Sergeant Talent Alignment Assessment, according to the release.