New army program allows soldiers to pick their next job
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New army program allows soldiers to pick their next job
FORT KNOX, Kentucky -- Army Human Resources Command has further expanded
an online tool that enables active duty, enlisted Soldiers to designate assignment
location and assignment preferences.

The Assignment Satisfaction Key, or ASK, program was initially fielded to fill vacant
positions in deploying units, but a redesign has transformed it into a career
development tool for enlisted Soldiers across the Army -- Soldiers in ranks in ranks
E-1 through E-8 non-promotable.

According to Arthur Dille, a human resources supervisor with HRC's Enlisted
Procedures and Soldier Actions Branch, the redesign was executed by a team of
HRC specialists.

"We wanted an improved look and feel, we wanted it to be usable. We cleaned it up
and consolidated it so it is more user-friendly," Dille said.

"It allows for Soldiers to see requisitions, volunteer for them, and indicate their
preferences for assignments. The idea is to empower Soldiers in the assignment
process."

ASK has been updated to ensure that Soldiers who log in see only assignments for
which they are currently eligible based on MOS, rank, time on station as of report
date, and military education. The possibilities for self-nomination are limited to open
requisitions organized by location.

"If there are no authorizations for your MOS and grade, that location is not offered to
you as a preference option," Dille said. "It is so Soldiers can have realistic
expectations."

Once submitted, requests show up in the Army's Enlisted Distribution and
Assignment System, or EDAS, within minutes. HRC assignment managers can then
immediately begin working the requisition.

Due to the inclusion of lower requisition priorities, the available pool of assignment
opportunities has been expanded fourfold. With more options available, the hope is
that more Soldiers will be interested in using the tool, Dille said. It's an opportunity for
them to become actively involved in the assignment process and take control over
their futures.

Once a Soldier selects an assignment, the assignment manager will review the
Soldier's preferences, military education, Married Army Couple Program status,
time-on-station and other qualifications. If a nomination matches the Army's
requirement, the manager can contact the Soldier with the good news.

If a manager wants to reject an ASK assignment, the rejection must be approved by
a branch chief.

"Typically, rejection is going to be based on the strength of the losing unit or the
Soldier's professional development," Dille said.

Soldiers can also indicate their availability for broadening opportunities such as drill
sergeant and recruiter assignments, or other special duty interests such as Airborne
or Korea assignments.

"As the Army focuses more on talent management, the [Enlisted Personnel
Management Directorate] team knew we had to provide expanded capabilities for
Soldiers to have influence and a greater voice in their career development," said Col.
Alan Kellogg, director of HRC's EPMD. "This tool is not only designed to build unit
readiness, but also support our Soldiers and their families."

So far, the redesign is having a positive effect.

"We're accepting over five times more than we were before. Almost two-thirds of the
assignments that Soldiers nominate for are being accepted," Dille said.

"Enabling enlisted Soldiers to influence the development of their careers is a plus for
both the individual and the Army," Seamands said. "When a Soldier who wants to go
to Fort Hood gets to Fort Hood, that is a happier Soldier."

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