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Armywide News

New selection process, assignment procedures for CSMs to take effect in October 2010

WASHINGTON (Army News Service,) — Beginning in October 2010, the Army will hold command sergeant major selection boards that will mirror the current officer selection process where new commanders are centrally selected and assigned to battalions and brigades. In addition, command sergeants major will be matched with commanders and assigned together for two- or three-year tours.

Army leaders at the Human Resources Command said the move was part of an overall change in how senior enlisted Soldiers are managed. It will eliminate appointments to command sergeants major billets for Soldiers who have not had experience as sergeants major in the field following graduation from the Sergeants Major Academy.

Under the current system, upon graduation from the academy, master sergeants are either promoted or frocked to sergeant major and may be assigned to command sergeants major billets. If selected, they are awarded the 00Zulu military occupational specialty (MOS).

That will change with the new system which will assign academy graduates to sergeant major slots within their MOS series for a minimum one-year tour. During that tour, these sergeants major will be eligible to compete for a battalion command sergeant major position or key billet. These Soldiers must complete a year in a sergeant major position before they may be assigned to a command sergeant major billet or key senior advisor position.

Essentially that means doing away with appointments to command sergeant major from master sergeant, something that happened fairly often, said Sgt. Maj. Gabriella Russum, Army chief of sergeants major who is responsible for their professional development and assignment.

“Eliminating appointment to command sergeant major from master sergeant means getting the right skilled Soldier for the right job,” she said. “The other piece of this is the elimination of 00Zulu at the battalion and brigade level since the authorization document will be coded for the specific MOS.”

While they’re in that first year of service as a sergeant major, they’ll be eligible to compete for battalion-level command sergeant major position or a key billet,” said Kurt Fedors who oversees the central selection process of command sergeants major. He noted that key billets still are being determined.

“Soldiers who are 11 Bravos will be able to compete on equal terms with ... peers across the Army for a command sergeant major position in Germany… in Fort Drum, whereas in the past, it may not have been equal, but now there will be a central board who will select command sergeants major,” he said.

The overall change in the program will help the Army to grow experience and will open up command sergeants major selection opportunities to lower density MOSs in the Army inventory.

Following appointment, the new command sergeant major selectee will be paired with the new commander where as a team it’s anticipated they will attend a pre-command course at Fort Benning, Ga. (in the case of infantrymen), or Fort Leavenworth, Kan., prior to moving into their respective positions, Fedors said.

After a command sergeant major has completed a centrally selected position, he or she is eligible to compete again for a battalion command sergeant major or brigade command sergeant major, whereas the commander normally serves once at the battalion and brigade levels, but command sergeants major will have the opportunity to serve multiple tours, according to Fedors.

Skill levels also will change. Under the current system a master sergeant holds a skill level of five. Russum added that the new rules will incorporate skill levels six, seven and eight into sergeant major.
“Skill-level six is those Soldiers who serve at O-5 or O-5 equivalent positions,” said Russum. “Skill-level seven will be those who serve at an O6 or equivalent level. While we will eliminate 00Zulu at the battalion and brigade level, in the future that MOS will be awarded at skill level eight.”

Skill-level six which applies to command sergeant major, sergeant major and master sergeant (promotable) are made up of predominately battalion level positions requiring knowledge of headquarters and command elements and having the ability to plan and conduct small-unit combat operations.

Skill-level seven applies only to command sergeant major and sergeant major and focuses on brigade-level positions requiring execution of systems within the Army force generation process.

These senior enlisted are expected to be experts at supervising staff at all echelons.

Skill-level eight will be for command sergeant major as well as sergeant major who will serve at the general officer level. MOS 00Zulu will only be awarded at this level.

Feedback from the field on the way commanders and command sergeants majors will be assigned is at about 50 percent pro, 50 percent con, said Russum. Presently, most battalions and brigades have commanders serving two years while the command sergeant major is on board for four years, so there’s not as much continuity.

“Some folks are kind of resistant to change, but I think in the end by synchronizing the command team, rotating in and out at key times in an operational cycle has great benefits to not just the commander and command sergeant major, but to the command’s Soldiers who will have two years of continuity,” Russum said.

The command sergeants major board for battalions will meet annually beginning October 2010 and followed on by the command sergeants major brigade board in January 2011.


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