WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 12, 2015) — Today, the Army launched a new website, “Not In My Squad Assessment Resource,” or NIMS, a tool designed to help improve squad leaders’ professional development and make good squads even greater, said Sgt. Maj. David L. Stewart.
Stewart, who is sergeant major of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Center for the Army Profession and Ethic, known as CAPE, located at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York, said that as the Army lead for the “Not In My Squad” initiative, CAPE designed this online resource as a way to help the sergeant major of the Army, or SMA, in that initiative.
The online assessment focuses on four areas:
- Shared identity of trusted Army professionals
- Standards and discipline
- Professional climate
- Esprit de corps
HOW IT WORKS
In June, the SMA invited 32 of the best squad leaders from around the Army to the Pentagon to discuss how junior noncommissioned officers can further build and sustain a climate of dignity, respect, trust and inclusion, Stewart said.
CAPE listened in on that discussion and used the squad leaders’ feedback to design the assessment, which consists of 24 statements related to NIMS focus areas. For example, one statement reads: “In my squad, we feel a conflict between loyalty to each other and doing what is right.” Those who participate in the assessment will be asked to rate how strongly they agree or disagree with that statement.
Once the evaluation is taken, results are immediately calculated and are available to the Soldier, said Timothy B. Lempicki, a CAPE knowledge management consultant.
If the Soldier wishes, he or she can share a link of those results with other squad members. The link will not give that Soldier’s name or other identifier, just the numerical results by category.
Another feature is that once the assessment is completed, the Soldier will see how well he or she scored compared to everyone else who participated, Lempicki aid. Over time, as more and more data comes in, it should offer an even better comparison.
An important note on terminology: Stewart said he uses the term “squad” and “squad leader,” but in some of the non-combat arms branches, the term team, “crew” or “section leader” can be substituted.
While the assessment is designed with the squad-level in mind, higher formations like platoons or even companies could use it as well, Stewart said. Senior noncommissioned officers, officers and Army civilians might even be interested in using it too.
Taking the test is voluntary and shouldn’t take longer than 10 or 15 minutes, he said.
Ideally, members of the squad will take it at the same time, share their results, and then have a group discussion on ways they can improve, he said. The squad leader may or may not have the same perception about the squad that the junior Soldiers have. It could be an interesting and sometimes eye-opening experience for them to share, he said.
To aid the squad in improving, the assessment links the Soldier with training and education materials, Stewart said. As more helpful and relevant resources become available, those will be added to the site over time.
Stewart suggested taking the assessment more than once to see if there’s any improvement. He said there’s no limit to how many times the assessment can be taken, and it’s easy to take, since a common access card is not needed to log onto the site.
Stewart said when he was a squad leader years ago, the assessment would have been a welcome tool for leader and Soldier development. Soldiers with a lot of drive and initiative won’t be disappointed with its effectiveness, he promised.
Photo Credit: A Soldier looks at the Army’s new website, “Not In My Squad Assessment Resource,” a tool designed to help improve squad leaders’ professional development and make good squads even greater. (U.S. Army photo by David Vergun)