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Delayed new OER 'revolutionary' for raters, AG says

Dec. 4, 2013 - 11:08AM   |  
The planned Dec. 1 launch of a new Officer Evaluation Reporting System has been pushed to April 1 to accommodate changes to the rating form for colonels, and to introduce a new support form that will become mandatory for colonels and below next spring.
The planned Dec. 1 launch of a new Officer Evaluation Reporting System has been pushed to April 1 to accommodate changes to the rating form for colonels, and to introduce a new support form that will become mandatory for colonels and below next spring. ()
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FORT KNOX, KY. — The planned Dec. 1 launch of a new Officer Evaluation Reporting System has been pushed to April 1 to accommodate changes to the rating form for colonels, and to introduce a new support form that will become mandatory for colonels and below next spring.

“The chief of staff [Gen. Ray Odierno] wanted a more defined mechanism for the senior rater portion of the colonel report,” said George Piccirilli, the chief of evaluations, selections and promotions in the Adjutant General Directorate of Human Resources Command.

“He wanted a report that will clearly define who will be the future leaders of the Army, and he has given senior raters the accountability to do that,” Piccirilli said.

The new Web-based system also will call on junior leaders to rate their subordinates to an extent they never have before.

A distinct feature of the new system is a delineation of responsibilities for the rater, a person who serves as an officer’s first-line supervisor, and the senior rater, normally a person who rates the rater.

Raters under the new system will evaluate job performance, while senior raters will make the important call of an officer’s potential for promotion and increased responsibilities.

Although this has been a general feature of past systems, the new forms will make a distinct separation and focus of responsibilities for raters and senior raters, according to personnel officials.

Another major feature of the new system is separate evaluation reports — four in all — for company-grade commissioned and warrant officers, field-grade officers in the ranks of major, lieutenant colonel and chief warrant officer 3 through 5, and strategic leaders in the ranks of colonel and brigadier general.

New support form

A new support form will be used for mandatory counseling of colonels and below regarding performance objectives for the rating period.

Brig. Gen. David K. MacEwen, the adjutant general, described the new form as “revolutionary for the Army,” in that it will focus on the attributes and competencies identified in leadership and mission command doctrine publications.

Performance objectives addressed on the support form include character, presence, intellect, leadership and professional stewardship.

“It also will introduce the SHARP element by having officers discuss how they will support the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention program,” according to Piccirilli. Army Secretary John McHugh recently ordered the SHARP changes to be made to the officer and NCO evaluation systems.

The new support form becomes mandatory April 1, but will be fielded before then to familiarize the officer corps with the five-page document so it can be used with the OER training that will start in January.

Details on fielding and using the support form will be released by the end of the year, Piccirilli said.

Spotting future stars

The new evaluation form for colonels will have four senior rater boxes, with two of those being control boxes.

The top box will have a ceiling of 24 percent, and the second box a range of 25 percent to 49 percent. Senior raters must limit checks in the top two boxes to no more than 49 percent of the colonels they have rated, much like the inflation-dampening technique used on the current OER.

“We changed the definition of each one of those boxes for the strategic grade plate,” Piccirilli said.

The top box is “multistar potential,” the second box is “promote to brigadier general,” the third box is “retain as colonel” and the fourth box is “unsatisfactory.”

“Clearly, the chief of staff wants the senior raters [of colonels] to identify the future general officers of the Army,” Piccirilli said. “For lieutenant colonels and below, the new system will be comparable to the four-box technique we have now for senior raters, where the top box is controlled at 49 percent.”

While the four-box design has been retained, the rating categories of “above center of mass,” “center of mass,” “below center of mass - retain” and “below center of mass - do not retain” have been relabeled:

Most Qualified: The officer has strong potential for below-zone promotion selection and command. In terms of potential, the officer rates ahead of peers.

Highly Qualified: The officer has strong potential for promotion with peers.

Qualified: The officer is capable of success at the next level and should be promoted if requirements exist.

Not Qualified: The officer is not recommended for promotion.

“The most significant change for lieutenant colonels and below will be rater accountability in which raters will have a profile and will be required to limit their top evaluations to no more than 49 percent of the officers they rate at a particular grade,” Piccirilli said. “Our biggest challenge [in fielding the new system] will be to train raters how to assess performance against the competencies and attributes of leadership doctrine, and to manage their profile.”

Before launching the OER on April 1, HRC will transition senior rater profiles of lieutenant colonels to the new system.Senior rater profiles for colonel ratings will be restarted.

The senior raters of colonels, most of whom are general officers, will be given a credit of five upper-level ratings to jump start the system, Piccirilli said.

“We want to control inflation because we have had inflation problems in the past when senior raters were allowed to do what they wanted,” he said.

Because the new system is Web based, profiles will contain current, live data once an OER has been submitted to the evaluations office of HRC. When raters and senior raters prepare an OER, there also will be a menu showing them options in terms of not exceeding the 49 percent ceiling for top-box ratings.

Software for the new system also will allow administrative data, such as name, rank, unit of assignment and duty position, to automatically be entered on the form.

To prepare for the April 1 launch, the Army will test the new system to ensure it functions properly.

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