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Project Athena—Career Long Assessments to Enhance Self-Development

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  1. Purpose. To provide information on Project Athena.
  2. Overview. Project Athena equips Army leaders with assessment feedback to enhance career-long self-awareness and readiness. Project Athena is a CSA initiative supporting the Army People Strategy and the associated Military Implementation Plan. Project Athena contributes to task 2.2.a, enhance leader effectiveness through assessments, and task 3.1.b, create a culture of assessments throughout Soldiers’ careers. Milestones for both tasks, in support of TRADOC, are on schedule to implement Project Athena and reinforce a culture of assessments and development across the entire force by FY24. Project Athena’s preparation of leaders also supports ATMTF initiatives, like the Command Assessment Programs. Self-development insights and actions taken upon results from Project Athena ensure Army leaders are equipped to handle future challenges.
  3. Background. Self-development is a central pillar of leader development and an essential activity for leaders to thrive in future operational environments. CAPL research consistently shows that self-awareness relates to greater leader effectiveness, positive unit climate, and other key outcomes. Project Athena supports all cohorts in this effort by providing assessments, feedback, and developmental resources to turn insights into action. Project Athena assessments cover three categories (leadership, cognitive skills, and personal attributes) that complement physical fitness and warfighting assessments already in place. Assessments are developmental and results are owned by the individual students. Feedback reports are maintained on an Army-owned, CAC-enabled website that is accessible across the span of leaders’ careers. These holistic assessments are complemented by tailored resources, such as the Project Athena Leader Self-Development Tool. Bolstered by instructor counseling and coaching, Project Athena culminates with an Individual Development Plan (IDP) created upon course completion.

    Project Athena also helps improve broader Army education as CAPL scientists produce aggregated or institutional reports that can be used to help Army schools better understand student strengths/weaknesses, identify overall trends, and restructure courses. To ensure program efficiency, efficacy, and validity, CAPL also continuously collects stakeholder feedback on Project Athena. Initial results suggest the program is well received and students think that the time invested in Project Athena is appropriate. Additionally, routine maintenance of existing assessment instruments and feedback reports is being performed to enhance actionable insights and improve developmental recommendations for students.

  4. Current and Future Status. Project Athena launched in July 2020 and is now implemented across all AC officer PME (BOLC-B, CCC, and resident CGSOC). Over 49,000 assessments have been completed. As of March 2021, program pilots are underway for NCOs and WOs, with a CES pilot planned for Fall 2021. Expansion to the Army Reserve and National Guard is slated for implementation by FY23-24.

Dr. Melissa Wolfe/ATZL-MCV/ 913-758-3175 APPROVED BY: COL Samuel Saine