Date of Award
Doctor of Business Administration (DBA)
Dr. Satish Nargundkar
Transforming Leader Selection in the U.S. Army—The Battalion Command Selection Program
Joseph Michael Williams
Chair: Dr. Satish Nargundkar
Major Academic Unit: Doctorate in Business Administration
As an institution, the Army has not always done a stellar job of recognizing and retaining the most talented individuals including not investing sufficient time in identifying what qualities were most desirable. This is even more true in the methods utilized in selecting officers for battalion command. Many argue battalion command is one of the most consequential assignments because of the outsized impact on a unit’s mission accomplishment and its people.
Because some toxic leaders were still slipping through the gaps of the legacy battalion command selection process, the Army introduced an audacious new initiative called the Battalion Command Assessment Program (BCAP). In 2019, the Army’s newly created Army Talent Management Task Force (ATMTF) transformed the battalion selection process. This involved moving from a legacy data poor environment into a transformative data rich environment. It included taking very seriously the principles of fairness, consistency, and safety utilizing extraordinary measures in reducing the variables involved in the process.
This paper explores if the recently implemented Army Battalion Command Assessment Program (BCAP) leader selection process. Interviews were conducted with Army personnel at three levels – those at the strategic level in charge of making this change, those implementing the BCAP program, and those that were assessed through the program. This data was analyzed to compare the BCAP selection process with the one that preceded it, and insights gained into the pros and cons of the BCAP selection process. The BCAP process involves identifying and selecting officers having stronger cognitive and non-cognitive aptitudes, better communication abilities, higher levels of physical fitness, and exhibiting fewer toxic leadership demeanors.
The study contributes to the practice of leader selection by analyzing two different ways of doing so and comparing the outcomes.
For future study, a longitudinal analysis will help determine if the program is a success in the long term. The Army developed a cohesive framework for gathering data to obtain answers to certain questions for selecting the best qualified officers. Now will begin learning whether they were asking the right questions involving any of these linkages by analyzing the data they collect.
INDEX WORDS: Battalion Command; Talent Management; Transformation; Leader Selection; Toxic Leader; Counterproductive Leader.
Williams, Joseph, "Transforming Leader Selection in the U.S. Army--the Battalion Command Assessment Program." Dissertation, Georgia State University, 2022.
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