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REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. - As the Army moves toward reduced troop numbers, leaders must continue to ensure the most agile and adaptive Soldiers continue to serve, according to the commander of the Army Human Resources Command.
Maj. Gen. Richard Mustion conducted a Leader Professional Development at Headquarters, Army Materiel Command, Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, Aug. 1, emphasizing the role of leaders in the pending reshaping, as well as explaining some of the processes and procedures the Army will use to reduce strength by fiscal year 2017.
Mustion said in 2012, the Army began its glide-path from a strength of 513,000 to 450,000 Soldiers.
"We are setting the conditions to go even further if needed," he said. "We are on a gradual path, and it will continue over the next few years."
The challenge for the Army, he said, is balancing the mandated fiscal requirements with the ability to modernize the Army, continue to perform critical missions, and in doing so, sustain great leaders.
"All of us as leaders are helping shape the future of the Army," Mustion said, emphasizing leader's obligations to write timely, strong evaluations, retain the best Soldiers, and ensure standards are being met.
Mustion gave a brief overview of how the board process works to reduce the officer and enlisted ranks. The Officer Separation Boards and Enhanced Selective Early Retirement Boards focus on the "whole person" concept, Mustion said. "Job performance comes first," he said.
Character, and how the Soldier meets the Warrior Ethos are also considered, he added. The process uses a graded scale to create a reverse order of merit list to determine who should be separated from service.
During his briefing, Mustion also discussed the newly implemented Officer Evaluation Report, and changes on the horizon for the Noncommissioned Officer Evaluation Report. Changes to the NCOER will bring them more in-line with the OER, and are expected to be announced in the coming months.
Despite the changes to enhance the evaluation process, the biggest success factor comes in providing clear and concise supporting bullets, Mustion said.
"Evaluations should send a clear message," he told the gathered audience. "Selection board members should not have to guess at what the evaluator is trying to say."
As Army troop strength declines, Mustion emphasized that those who remain will be Soldiers who have proven they can operate at all levels, in multiple environments. It is a leader's role to ensure those subordinate to them are aware of the variety of career-broadening assignments available to them, he said.
"We haven't always set the conditions to broaden their base of experience," Mustion said. "(Leaders) have to emphasize that it's all about the manner of performance. There are tremendous opportunities out there to serve in those positions."