How the U.S. Army Embraced Data and Revolutionized Its Talent Management

Very few people think about the military through the lens of human resources.

But with more than 2 million active and reserve personnel in the six branches of the U.S. Armed Forces, talent management is very much a top priority for military leadership.

In 2019, the U.S. Army, the largest of the armed forces, began a massive overhaul of the way it recruits, develops, and retains soldiers. The rollout of its new Army Talent Alignment Process — designed to collect better intelligence on the skills of individual soldiers and match them to more optimal career tracks — looks a lot like the internal changes many civilian organizations have made in an effort to become people-first companies.

So, let’s examine the U.S. Army through our HR lens. Talent-management professionals will quickly recognize the Army’s challenges and solutions as something familiar to most organizations today.

The Problem With the Army’s Promotion Processes

The Army’s systems for promoting and retaining soldiers had long been criticized, especially internally among officers who felt their skills, preferences, and circumstances were being overlooked in their assignments. 

Put simply, people were being promoted to roles that weren’t great fits, and this was having an effect on what civilian

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