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Dempsey: 360-degree reviews could help select better leaders

May. 1, 2013 - 05:26PM   |  
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The 360-degree reviews that will offer insight into how military officers are viewed by their subordinates may someday be used by command screening boards as a tool to select better leaders, the military’s top officer said.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, is overseeing a new effort that will require all four services to adopt some form of 360-degree reviews, an assessment tool popular in the private sector that includes input from peers and subordinates as well as senior officials.

Dempsey said use of these evaluations, also known as “multi-rater reviews,” likely will be limited initially, meaning the feedback will be primarily seen only by the officer under review as a tool to help the officer identify and better understand his or her shortcomings.

But as time passes and the force grows more comfortable with 360-degree reviews, they may ultimately be integrated into the command screening process, Dempsey said.

“He believes the process will be iterative so these 360-degree assessments will initially be used for self-awareness or developmental purposes but will likely evolve into tools for appraisals of some type,” said Dempsey’s spokesman, Marine Col. David Lapan.

However, Dempsey does not envision those 360-degree reviews being used in the traditional promotion process, Lapan said.

For now, the individual services are developing their own implementation plans for the 360-degree reviews. Those will likely answer key questions such as which officers will be subject to the reviews and who will have access to the results of the reviews. The Joint Staff hopes to have final implementation plans completed by the end of this year, an official said.

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