As stated in previous posts, the last two months have involved me working towards choosing and securing our next duty station, and it has been busy for me and little stressful on all of us. It involved me staying up late researching and writing emails, spending far too much time on the computer (which the girls did not like), and growing very concerned that we were not going to get an assignment that we wanted. Thankfully, everything worked out in the end, but we are all a little exhausted from the experience.
The Assignment Interactive Module (AIM) is the Army’s newest tool for Talent Management, and through the AIM Marketplace, Officers can preference assignments that they want; in turn, units can preference officers that they want. I am told it is pretty much Army Tinder for assignments (Note: I do not use Tinder, but have been told the concept is relatively the same). If you preference a unit #1 and they do the same for you, then you “match” and go to that unit; if you do not get a “match,” then you go into an algorithm to determine your assignment based on your remaining preference list (it is slightly more complicated, but that is the gist of it). You are probably thinking, “This does not sound too stressful,” but I assure you it is, for a multitude of reasons. First, if you do not preference any units, you are at the “needs of the Army,” so it is in your best interest to preference them all. Second, there were more than 230 assignments listed in my Marketplace, so I had to preference them all.
Third, to be successful in the AIM Marketplace, you actually have to be proactive and reach out to prospective units to let them know you are interested in serving with them. So, in a month an a half, I emailed around 40 units and interviewed with about 20. Lastly, I was doing this as both a participant trying to find an assignment and as an unit manager trying to assess and recruit officers to be future Small Group Leaders / Instructors at the Military Intelligence Captains Career Course. Yep, it was a busy and stressful month, to say the least.
So through all that research, communication, and stress, I not only successfully recruited the next batch of talented instructors for the course, but I also was able to secure my original #1 preference. The experience even led to me writing and getting an article published in The Company Leader on how to be successful in the Marketplace (below).
My preference list changed multiple times throughout the course of the Marketplace being open, with the 101st Airborne Division (Fort Campbell, KY), 4-25 Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, AK), NATO (Brunssum, Netherlands and Gloucester, England), 10th Mountain Division (Fort Drum, NY), and 4th Infantry Division (Fort Carson, CO) all being my #1 at some point.
I am very happy to say that we will be going to Fort Campbell, KY and once again have the opportunity to serve proudly in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). The girls are very excited as well, especially because they will finally get a chance to live in an area with four seasons. We were all a little disappointed that going to Alaska did not work out, but things always happen for a reason, and we are certainly not unhappy with how everything turned out. So while the last month was extremely stressful, it is behind us now. The girls and I are happy with where we are going and are very much looking forward to our next adventure come June.
Thanks for checking in on us.