David S. Chang Officer Senior Rater Philosophy

MEMORANDUM FOR All 250th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Battalion

SUBJECT: David S. Chang Officer Senior Rater Philosophy

1. References.

  1. David S. Chang Lightning Battalion Expectations 06-2019
  2. David S. Chang Lightning Battalion Command Philosophy 06-2019
  3. David S. Chang Lightning Battalion Leadership Manual – About Me
  4. David S. Chang Lightning Battalion Policy Letters

2. Purpose.

The purpose of this memorandum is to provide all officers with my Senior Rater philosophy. This philosophy is constructed with the understanding that I am starting my Senior Rater Profile for all grades from scratch.

3. Expectations.

I will use a variety of factors to evaluate each Soldier’s performance and potential. Many of these factors are qualitative and intuitive, and not readily quantifiable. My assessment will be informed by several sources including, but not limited to, my own personal observations, input from the CSM, input from the rater, input from subordinates, and input from peers.

I expect Company Commanders to conduct an “apples to apples” evaluation recommendation within branch, within their unit, and by position across the BN. I will conduct an “apples to oranges” evaluation comparing across branches, warfighting functions, jobs, and degree of difficulty.

4. Senior Rater Philosophy.

My foundational goal for officers is to ensure all quality officers in the battalion are selected for promotion to the next higher grade. From this foundation, my commitment is to provide those officers with the greatest potential for future service the rating (block check and enumeration) needed to maximize their potential for selection to the next higher grade or position.

Specifically, for staff Captains that I senior rate, my role is to identify those suited to command companies. Command of our Nation’s sons and daughters is a sacred privilege, not a right. As such, only those with demonstrated potential to do so will be placed in command positions.

5. Senior Rater Methodology.

  • “Most Qualified” is reserved for those who are ready to perform at the next higher rank or position right now.
  • “Highly Qualified” is indicative of leaders who are performing in an outstanding manner and who appear to be on the way to developing a reputation for service with potential for further advancement.
  • “Qualified” is indicative of a Leader who demonstrates success at their current grade and has the capable potential of success at the next level but is clearly behind their peers. I will recommend “Qualified” leaders for promotion if able.
  • “Not Qualified” is indicative of a Leader who is below average in potential and performance or has some major flaw that definitely limits performance and potential and who I do not feel should be retained in the Army.
  • Most officers will receive “Highly Qualified” (HQ) or “Qualified” reports. “HQ” reports with strong verbiage are competitive.

6. Potential.

By regulation, the senior rater assesses the rated officer’s potential, while the rater assesses performance. I will consider the following characteristics as I assess an officer’s potential:

a. Is a Team Player. Teamwork is the most important characteristic. Teamwork is a force multiplier and critical to achieving the battalion’s purpose. Undermining others, thinking of yourself only or your next position will hurt the morale of the unit and create a negative environment. Team players get along with others and can influence peers by being able to compromise and work around personal feelings. Works friendly and builds a team; develops subordinates. When building your support form, I want to see a lot of team-building actions. You should be asking, “What am I doing to build a team at my level, and what am doing to contribute to the higher-level team?” The third type of Soldier below is a team builder, the kind I want to promote.

  • Do something great to build your company/staff section/team = A minus.
  • Do something great in your company/staff section/team and share it with another company/staff section/team openly = A.
  • Do something great in your company/staff section/team and share it with another company/staff section/team and not make a big deal out of it; share because you know it is the right thing to do = A+.

b. Thinks Two Levels Up. Can see – or tries to see – the bigger picture. Sees things from other than his/her position or that of his/her Team. Tries to see issues from the perspective of his /her boss when approaching a mission. If the Soldier doesn’t understand or see the big picture, is proactive and doesn’t hesitate to do the research to find out. Doesn’t create a “us vs them” mentality and doesn’t take the boss’ name in vain (the boss made me do it).

c. Excellent and Consistent Performance. Impress me! Doesn’t do just what he/she is required to do. Goes above and beyond, exceeds expectations and continually strives to get better. Has a strong work ethic for the organization’s benefit rather than his/her own. Takes ownership of the tasks assigned and finishes them to completion. Volunteers to do things that help the entire organization. Gives 100% and then some. Does the right things right – focus energy on the most important priorities. Doesn’t pass problems to his boss and then wait for new directions or policies. Makes recommendations and displays initiative. In order to perform at this level, they tend to make sacrifices that average performers might not find acceptable.

d. Humble and Positive Attitude. The Soldier is confident in what he/she excels in and accepts help/counsel in areas he/she is not. Maturely accepts criticism; is not defensive when behavior, attitude, judgement or area of responsibility is critiqued or corrected. Doesn’t fight things that are strange, new, or different than how he/she would like to do them or has done them. Understands the difference between integrity issues versus another opinion on how to do things. Remains positive in the face of adversity and is not a grumbler or know-it-all. If you can’t tell me what you’d like to be happening, you don’t have a problem yet. You’re just complaining. A problem only exists if there is a difference between what is actually happening and what you desire to be happening. Doesn’t let his/her emotions get the better of him/her; realizes having a positive attitude is a combat multiplier. Physically and mentally tough; displays maturity.

e. Communicates Effectively and is Responsive. Can speak, brief and write well. Can argue his/her case objectively and persuasively, yet not alienate those who disagree with him/her. Speaks with candor yet is professional and tactful. Is responsive to emails, phone calls, and texts.

f. Displays Innovative Creativity. The Soldier presents novel and innovative solutions to problems. Originates new methods, ideas, or approaches to existing or new policies or procedures. Displays flexibility while thinking out of the box. Can balance competing demands; applies common sense.

g. Focuses on Self-Development and Mentorship. Does whatever job as best as possible – it all contributes to experience. Learns from mistakes and doesn’t make them again. Can bounce back and do better. A great leader is a great reader. Takes the initiative to learn his/her job and his/her boss’ job as well as research best practices to implement. For senior company grade and field grade officers, focuses on mentoring and helping others develop.

h. Ready Now. The Soldier is mature enough and proficient to the degree where he/she could immediately assume duties of next higher position/grade.

j. Is Loyal. Promotes the group and subordinates. Self-effacing; doesn’t downgrade others in or outside the group. Loyalty to the unit and others. Generates enthusiasm and is respected by peers and subordinates alike.

Evaluation Table

Team Player      
Thinks Two-Levels Up      
Excellent and Consistent Performance      
Humble and Positive Attitude      
Communicates Effectively and is Responsive      
Displays Innovative Creativity      
Focuses on Self-Development and Mentorship      
Ready Now      
Is Loyal      

I will evaluate each Soldier on a scale of 1 to 5. A score of 5 is best. Scale definitions:

  • 5: Exceptionally strong. Clearly well above expected performance and maturity level. Best among peers and working at level expected of next higher rank or position of responsibility.
  • 4: Very strong. Consistently above average for peer group.
  • 3: Solid with no major concerns. Working at expected level. Consistently mid-range of peer group.
  • 2: Inconsistent or poorly developed.
  • 1: Trait is non-existent.

6.        By understanding my senior rater philosophy, you should feel free and empowered to perform your duties and take care of your Paratroopers, confident that I will make the decisions that are best for the Army and with your best interests in mind.




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