Capt. Orlando Howard | Mission Command Training Program

The Army recently selected 16 officers from its deployable combat training center, Mission Command Training Program, to attend the new Battalion Commanders’ Assessment Program.

The new program will help determine the Army’s next battalion commanders. It will take place over five days in multiple iterations during January and February 2020 at Fort Knox, Ky.

The process will help establish the officers’ ranking to be considered for the coveted positions.

They will test on written and verbal communication, interview with behavioral psychologists, and take part in a panel interview with senior Army officers, according to the Army Management Task Force.

Gen. James McConville, the Army’s new chief of staff, officially announced the program at the Association of the U.S Army annual conference last month.

“We spend more time and more money on selecting a private to be in Ranger regiment than we do selecting what I would argue is one of the most consequential leadership positions in the Army —our battalion commanders,” McConville said, speaking about the rationale for the program.

MCTP will deliver an outsized contribution of candidates to the program. Five lieutenant colonels and 11 promotable majors were selected. Most serve as observer, coach/trainers dedicated to increasing the readiness of Army service component commands, corps, divisions and brigade combat teams through large-scale military warfighter exercises.

“I’ve always considered myself very fortunate to serve alongside these talented field-grade officers on this outstanding team,” said Col. Shane Morgan, MCTP’s commander.

“BCAP selection proves the Army recognizes their leadership and command potential.

“MCTP wishes each of our 16 officers the best, as they compete against the best, with the reward of commanding soldiers at the battalion level,” he said.

Lt. Col. Steven Weber, MCTP’s chief of operations, of Winthrop, Minn., was selected for class 11 out of 18.

“I didn’t think BCAP would take effect this quickly. So, when I came in that morning and saw my name on the list, it was a surprise,” Weber said.

He said the numerous congratulations he received on Facebook made it even more real.

“BCAP is a step in the right direction,” Weber said. “I like the fact that the Army recognizes that talent management should be taken very seriously.

“This will shape how the Army selects its senior leaders, which is critical because they have a drastic impact on the future of the Army and young soldiers coming in,” he said. “BCAP can help ensure we’re fit to lead the nation’s young men and women.”

Weber pointed specifically to the potential BCAP has to help preclude toxic leadership from the Army’s formations.

“We must select the right people for the right reasons,” he said.

Lastly, Weber was optimistic about the opportunity BCAP gives candidates to compete, who may not otherwise receive a high ranking with just a paper review.

“It levels the playing field. I personally don’t have a perfect record with all As on my report card,” he said. “This gives everyone who has the ability a fair shot and equal opportunity to succeed.”

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