FORT KNOX, Kentucky (March 23, 2015) – U.S. Army Human Resources Command, or HRC, disseminated teaching materials throughout the Army, March 18, to explain the mechanics of the officer selection board, or OSB, process.
An exportable mock board and related training material are available on the HRC’s public website. Unit S-1s and G-1s can download and use the material to help officers understand the selection process and properly prepare themselves for boards that will determine their career path.
“Now, we can take a board product out to the field, put folks around a table and let them see how a centralized selection board operates,” said HRC Commander Maj. Gen. Richard P. Mustion.
“The training is a part of the leader development program,” said Brig. Gen. David K. “Mac” MacEwen, adjutant general of the Army. “We at HRC have an obligation to the field to ensure our officers know how the system works and provide them with the proper training on this fundamental system.”
The presentation covers types of OSBs, the memorandum of instruction, which directs each board and the composition of board files. It goes into depth in describing the Army Selection Board System, board operations, the importance of evaluations, the voting process and individual voter philosophy.
“The first third of the training is about the mechanics of how a board works,” MacEwen said.
“A Headquarters, Department of the Army selection board, is a process that requires senior leaders to consider and recommend officers for selection,” said Capt. Chad Peltier, a board recorder with Department of the Army Secretariat for Selection Boards at HRC.
“Senior leaders are appointed by the secretary of the Army or the chief of staff of the Army to serve on a special duty assignment as a board member. Officers travel to the Department of the Army Secretariat for Selection Boards, located at HRC, Fort Knox, Kentucky, to execute their duties,” he said.
Once assembled, board members are provided guidance and a board mission to select officers to meet the needs of the Army. Board missions can include making selections for promotion, separation, school attendance or command, he said.
“Board membership composition is prescribed by Title 10, U.S. Code, Army regulation and Army G-1 policy. Board members must be senior to those officers considered and appropriately represent officers’ components, branch, joint experience, ethnicity and gender,” he said.
Army policy mandates that officer board members must be of lieutenant colonel rank or above. They must also have successful careers themselves as indicated by a history of on-time promotion or centralized selection list selection, and no record of derogatory performance.
“The second third provides officers examples of things they need to do to prepare for boards, replete with examples,” MacEwen said.
A Soldier’s board file, on which OSBs base their selections, consists of many parts. They include applicable correspondence with the board, the Soldier’s official photo, Officer Record Brief, the performance and evaluation sections of the Army Military Human Resource Record, and the education, training and commendatory portions of the official record, Peltier said.
Soldiers under consideration should absolutely view, correct and certify their own file by using the “My Board File” application on the HRC website, Peltier said. All candidates should keep in mind that certifying a board file does not prevent the official record from changing before the date a board actually convenes.
“The last part of the training allows officers to participate in voting mock files as if he or she is a board member,” MacEwen said.
“It will let them actually vote records and apply the same criteria our centralized boards do. It will teach officers the nuts and bolts of the process and dispel any mystery that may surround the board process, while building transparency and confidence in the selection board processes,” Mustion said. “It will make for great strides in increasing an understanding of how we identify and select leaders in the U.S. Army.”
A sister training and mock board tool for non-commissioned officer selection boards is in development and will incorporate changes from the new non-commissioned officer evaluation reporting system that HRC will launch across the Army beginning this fall. It is scheduled to become active after the non-commissioned officer evaluation reporting system has been successfully integrated in the Army evaluation entry system.