FEBRUARY 24, 2017, JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – Retention control points, promotions and noncommissioned officer evaluation reports were among the topics discussed during the Human Resources Command Road Show sessions at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, Feb. 15.
During the HRC Road Show, senior leaders from the Human Resources Command are traveling from installation to installation to discuss changes to current programs and initiatives. The JBLM road show event featured two sessions, one with HRC Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Thomas Seamonds and another with Command Sgt. Maj. Wardell Jefferson.
Due to the recent halt of the military drawdown, the Army has made changes to its qualitative management program, NCOER, and promotions, Jefferson said. Events like the HRC Road Show are a way of ensuring that leaders at all levels are aware of those changes and their questions about them are addressed.
During his session, Jefferson discussed with senior enlisted Soldiers at JBLM the changes to these programs and how the changes will affect their career progression.
“QMP is about standards and discipline,” he explained. “We use this process to retain the highest quality of service member possible.”
Jefferson said he is often asked whether an issue from a Soldier’s early days in the military could get him reviewed by the QMP board. The answer, he said, is that it depends. If the issue happened while the Soldier held his current rank and the Soldier has not been through the QMP process before, then the answer is yes. However, if the issue was from a previous rank or the Soldier was cleared by the QMP board in the past, the Soldier will not be looked at again for the same issue.
The RCP program has changed several times over the past decade due to the growing and shrinking of the fighting force in the Middle East, Jefferson said. This process is now being used to help mid-range NCOs get promoted by opening up positions in the higher ranks.
“I have heard of several highly talented Soldiers leaving the military because they couldn’t get promoted because there was no room at the higher ranks,” Jefferson said. “These changes will help alleviate these bottlenecks.”
Jefferson also talked about the Army’s Select, Train, Educate, and Promote program. The Army instituted the STEP program to provide Soldiers with an understanding of the schools and positions that would keep them competitive for promotion.
One recent change to the STEP program, Jefferson said, concerns the Noncommissioned Officer Education System. Completion of the structured self development course for the next rank is required prior to attending NCOES schools.
“Soldiers who have not completed the SSDs will be passed over for the school and then potentially become outranked by those who have completed both the SSD and schooling,” he explained, “even if their promotion sequence number was higher than the other Soldiers.”
On March 7, at 1 p.m. EST, Jefferson will conduct a live town hall to address STEP and assignment process issues on the HRC Facebook page. He and subject matter experts will answer questions from the field under the rubric “Get it right from HRC.”
Both Jefferson and 7th Infantry Division Command Sgt. Maj. Jack Love stressed the importance of the NCOER during the discussion. Jefferson said the NCOER is the most important document in the promotion packet because it gives the board members a snapshot of the quality of the Soldier. Love said the NCOER is what separates outstanding leaders from the rest of the Army, and that these leaders are the Soldiers who need to be promoted.
The NCOER also will benefit the Army by identifying talent for promotions, assignments, professional development opportunities and education, Jefferson said.
As the U.S. military continues to evolve, Soldiers need convenient ways to learn about policy changes, said Staff Sgt. Pedro Rentas, 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. Rentas was among the Soldiers in the audience who said they find events like the HRC Roadshow helpful for keeping up with changes.
“Gaining the knowledge from these NCOPDs will enable me to become a better leader and mentor to my subordinates,” he said. “I now have a better understanding of how the QMP and RCP process works and can help my Soldiers get promoted.”
One of the lessons Rentas said he took from the discussion of the NCOER was that the bullets need to be more specific rather than the general “fluff” that some have had in the past.
“As the Army continues to modify its programs, NCOPDs like this one will be one of the most effective ways to disseminate the information to the masses,” Rentas said. “It allows for the questions to be answered and discussed — which will lead to a better understanding of the reasons for the changes and how it will affect the Soldiers in the end.”
Jefferson said he will conduct a live town hall to address STEP and assignment process issues March 7 beginning at 1 p.m. EST on the HRC Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/ArmyHRC. He and command subject matter experts will answer questions from the field under the rubric Get It Right from HRC.
By Sgt. David Beckstrom