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How is a CO of a battalion chosen?

daftandbarmy

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tomahawk6 said:
The US Army has ever since the Vietnam War has had a zero tolerance for mistakes, we also see that in the USN with their revolving door command changes. Also our up or out policy has eliminated some good officers who were never advanced beyond Captain. Not make the selection to Major you might make it on the next board, if not you are done. I remember a 1Lt who made a mistake on ex by splitting his platoon. This error saw him relieved on the spot. A second chance might have been worthwhile. A second case was a newly promoted Captain given company command. His company failed their annual readiness ex and he was fired by the battalion co and told not to return to clean out his desk. In fact he had to find his own job ending up as non-appropriated funds custodian before leaving the service for civvy life, quite a waste of talent.

This has been shared before, but a good reminder....

Why Our Best Officers Are Leaving

Why are so many of the most talented officers now abandoning military life for the private sector? An exclusive survey of West Point graduates shows that it’s not just money. Increasingly, the military is creating a command structure that rewards conformism and ignores merit. As a result, it’s losing its vaunted ability to cultivate entrepreneurs in uniform.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/01/why-our-best-officers-are-leaving/308346/
 

ballz

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PPCLI Guy said:
Hmm.  I am thinking that you have not yet been an EA.  There is way more to it than you have suggested. 

You don't need to be an EA to get a good feel for their duties, particularly when you work with them all the time. I obviously am not going to list all of their day-to-day activities in a post, but their duties include a lot mundane tasks / prep / set-up for the Comd, etc. I am not insinuating their job doesn't require a ton of work, that's a different axis altogether. But a ton of work does not necessarily equate to valuable experience... or perhaps an optimized experience when compared to the other jobs they could be doing.

PPCLI Guy said:
exposing an officer to higher level problems, thinking, and styles at an early point in their careers.

In the few times that I have been peripherally involved in career planning and development, I have pushed for EA jobs to expose the officer to the senior leaders, and not the other way around.

Which is the general thought-process that I'm challenging and I maintain is a poor way to develop someone. Exposing someone to a higher level problem by having them sit and listen to a bunch of people discuss it is not going to serve that person nearly as well as having them involved in actually solving a higher level problem, or having them solve a problem for themselves because they're in a position where it's up to them to take the time to fully understand the problem, fiigure it out with the resources they have, execute it, and see how it unfolds. And smart people can and will develop their own styles, rooted in competence / experience, which is going to serve them better than trying to emulate something they observe.... which may or may not even be a good thing to try and emulate.
 

Jarnhamar

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tomahawk6 said:
The US Army has ever since the Vietnam War has had a zero tolerance for mistakes, we also see that in the USN with their revolving door command changes. Also our up or out policy has eliminated some good officers who were never advanced beyond Captain. Not make the selection to Major you might make it on the next board, if not you are done. I remember a 1Lt who made a mistake on ex by splitting his platoon. This error saw him relieved on the spot. A second chance might have been worthwhile. A second case was a newly promoted Captain given company command. His company failed their annual readiness ex and he was fired by the battalion co and told not to return to clean out his desk. In fact he had to find his own job ending up as non-appropriated funds custodian before leaving the service for civvy life, quite a waste of talent.

Really great examples.
 

ballz

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dapaterson said:
Army Physical Fitness Test including height and weight measurement
Evaluation of written communication skills
Series of cognitive and non-cognitive assessments
Peer and subordinate assessments
Psychologist interview, and
Double-blind panel interview.

This is definitely a positive. I wish we would started adopting some form of 360 degree assessment as well.
 

Haggis

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ballz said:
If you're going to be a CO some day, there's a lot more valuable experience you can get over following someone around, clicking powerpoint slides, updating a guy,'s calendar, etc.

I had the opportunity to be an EA to a civilian EX-01 at NDHQ as an MWO as there were no officers to fill the position in that organization. The experience was invaluable in helping me develop and refine my organizational skills and staff duties before becoming a CWO and RSM and, later, a KP CWO at NDHQ.
 

Navy_Pete

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ballz said:
This is definitely a positive. I wish we would started adopting some form of 360 degree assessment as well.
I agree; that's the quickest way to filter out toxic leaders IMHO. Especially if the peers includes some from outside the trade that work alongside them; at least in the navy we all live/work cheek in jowl, and there are some that tend to try and steamroll other departments. Would be a good forcing function to get some of the careerists to work with the log/engineering branches, rather then see them as an impediment to operations. Also may be more objective, if you aren't worried about the trade fairy godfathers reaching down and killing your career for not doing a glowing right up of their pet star.
 

daftandbarmy

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Navy_Pete said:
I agree; that's the quickest way to filter out toxic leaders IMHO. Especially if the peers includes some from outside the trade that work alongside them; at least in the navy we all live/work cheek in jowl, and there are some that tend to try and steamroll other departments. Would be a good forcing function to get some of the careerists to work with the log/engineering branches, rather then see them as an impediment to operations. Also may be more objective, if you aren't worried about the trade fairy godfathers reaching down and killing your career for not doing a glowing right up of their pet star.

We do 360s for various clients. There be dragons.... mainly, the ones that work have a clear action plan overseen by the target's boss work much better than our tendency to 'fire and forget' an annual PER. Alot of organizations are going away from annual reviews as well because feedback is too late, and not specific enough to drive learning:

https://hbr.org/2011/10/the-fatal-flaw-with-360-survey

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2015/10/21/the-horrible-truth-about-360-degree-feedback/
 

Infanteer

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ballz said:
You don't need to be an EA to get a good feel for their duties, particularly when you work with them all the time. I obviously am not going to list all of their day-to-day activities in a post, but their duties include a lot mundane tasks / prep / set-up for the Comd, etc. I am not insinuating their job doesn't require a ton of work, that's a different axis altogether. But a ton of work does not necessarily equate to valuable experience... or perhaps an optimized experience when compared to the other jobs they could be doing.

You're looking at the mundane parts of the job, and not the important parts and, I'd say, losing sight of the forest for the trees.

I'm not faulting you for thinking this way though, as its a sentiment I once shared.  But once you've taken the car for a spin, you understand why you were put in the seat.
 
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