Adapted from the book, Army Writing Guide, by MSG Parker
Writing compelling bullet comments for job reports can often be challenging. Tasks like meeting deadlines or maintaining inventory levels may not seem glamorous, but by understanding the construction of effective bullet comments, we realize that their quality depends more on employing a sound algorithm than having exceptional material. Consequently, even ordinary performances can be transformed into impressive bullet statements.
The Algorithm of Strong NCOER Statements
The impact of a bullet comment carries weight based on its results or outcomes. After analyzing numerous bullet comments spanning various occupational specialties, it was discovered that impact can be expressed in nine distinct ways:
- Quantity Achievement: This type of impact statement emphasizes the significance of the quantity itself, such as the number of completed missions, insurgents captured, miles driven, flights supported, and so on.
- Objective Achievement: When a named objective is universally recognized as significant and requires no further explanation, this impact description is appropriate. Examples include successfully completing a rotation, finishing an inspection, or restoring capability.
- Undesirable Condition Reduction: This impact statement highlights initiatives that lead to the improvement of a condition, such as reducing equipment failures, incidents of sniper activity, late reports or awards, or the time required for a task.
- Condition Improvement: Describing enhanced conditions or processes, this type of result statement showcases accomplishments like increased readiness, streamlined admission procedures, collaborative efforts, and improved efficiency.
- Undesirable Condition Prevention: This impact statement emphasizes proactive efficiency by highlighting instances where surveillance prevented IED use, route analysis averted threats to personnel, or PMCS (Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services) prevented equipment failure.
- Ops Tempo Maintenance: This impact category documents significant and critical achievements, including maintaining an operational rate of 95%, ensuring readiness, achieving 100% accuracy, or zero errors.
- Comparison to Peers: Primarily employed in recognition bullet comments, this approach effectively sets the ratee apart by showcasing accomplishments such as qualifying two months ahead of peers or being chosen over equally ranked individuals.
- Timeliness: Impact statements related to time highlight achievements like completing tasks ahead of schedule, finishing before the required deadline, submitting reports without delays, or guaranteeing zero delays in operations.
- Name Dropping: When the named event is universally recognized as highly significant, it becomes the impact itself, requiring no further explanation. Examples include supporting operations in the Sunni Triangle, playing a key role in the success of OEF III, or completing over 100 missions in support of OPERATION ANVIL TREE.
To determine the most effective impact for each bullet comment, apply the nine types listed above sequentially. The goal is to identify not just what fits, but what works best—the impact statement that holds the greatest significance. For instance, let’s consider the following comment:
Original: “completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy”
To develop and determine the most appropriate impact statement for this comment, it is essential to possess direct knowledge of the job or achievement. However, here are some suggestions:
“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy, exceeding the production norm by 50%” (Quantity Achievement)
“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy, expanding unit capability through the successful acceptance of newly fielded equipment” (Objective Achievement)
“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy, reducing unnecessary retransmissions by 50%” (Undesirable Condition Reduction)
“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy, enhancing the accuracy of ops planning and personnel forecasts” (Condition Improvement)
“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy, saving $10K in contractor TDY costs by providing timely status updates” (Undesirable Condition Prevention)
“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy, maintaining a 100% operational rate despite 50% of the personnel being deployed” (Ops Tempo Maintenance)
“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy, recognized as the best performer in the section!” (Comparison to Peers)
“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy, achieving the best on-time delivery rate in the past five years” (Timeliness)
“completed over 120 ops reports with 100% accuracy, supporting the key success of OPERATION ANVIL TREE” (Name Dropping)
Choosing the most suitable bullet comment depends on the context. If you already have a bullet comment that highlights cost-saving measures, avoid using the same impact statement category. Instead, opt for a different type of impact statement. For example, select one that compares the ratee favorably to their peers.
Additionally, another effective method for achieving significant impact is to align your bullet comments with your unit’s mission statement, goals, and achievements. For instance, if your unit’s mission is to sustain another unit, you can state:
- “sustained 70th Troop Command operations across 70 square miles of the most contested land area in Afghanistan.”
Furthermore, you can incorporate the mission statement of the supported unit, such as:
- “delivered hazardous material containers, effectively containing the outbreak and preventing its spread to the population.”