OJAR Confusion

I received my first OJAR as a Capt today and due to my excellent arse licking over the last year was awarded a 'B+' by my OC only for it to be bumped down to to a 'B' because a: I am a junior Captain and b: the CO has a limited quota of B+ grades that are reserved (nromally) for adj and ops due to their positions on the officer career ladder.

Now i know this may sound like sour grapes but surely this is unfair at best and corrupt at worst? I have no real umbridge with a B grade and i understand that through the myriad of Captain's jobs you cannot always compare like for like (e.g. adj has differing requirements from pl command) but surely if my 1RO thought i was of B+ quality last year then that is what i should get?

I will of course suck it up and get on with it but was interested to hear if anyone else has experienced this?

I can see your issue... not fun, and you would not be tolerated for doing the same for your soldiers.

Grades should be discussed between 1RO and 2RO, and your OC should have sought guidance from the Adjt, if there was any doubt... or should have been checking better.

On the plus side... the grade is entirely irrelevant.
'Reserving' grades for specific appointments is utter pish - an individual either meets the criteria of B+, i.e. the exceed the standards required of the their rank in most respects*, or they do not.

On the other hand, it would be very suprising for a Capt in their first year of appointment to exceed the standards required of them in their new rank, and the 1/2 RO would probably get some raised eyebrows from Glasgow for doing so. Not casting any doubts on your abilities, and there certainly are many individuals who not only quickly rise to meet their expectations, but exceed them too.

* Note to OJAR gurus - I know this is not verbatim.
Against this, your CO was probably strongly briefed that massive over-graded is endemic in OJARs, across all three services, and that it is a personal reflection on him if this happens in his unit. As you say, you're a first job Capt, in truthfulness the grades don't matter; what matters is a) does the pen-picture include phrases "ability above his rank/experience", "stands head and shoulders above his peers" etc etc and b) what do your recommends say?

Also have a bit of honesty, do you think that right now you are performing better than the Adj/Ops of your unit? Does the CO turn to you expecting you'll have the answer at the tip of your tongue across the full breadth of your responsibilities. If you can can say yes to both of those, then perhaps you should be getting a B+.

By the book 'B' is what the vast majority of Officers should be getting in their OJARS, with only the best, and worst, moving up and down the grades.

Just tuppence worth as an OJAR writer.

ps - did it have negative comments, and your areas of weakness? If not, is it *really* a true reflection of your performance...?
look at it this way, if you get a B+ this year, what can you get next year?
One other factor is that perhaps the CO wants to give you a bit of "growing room". If you start your time as a Capt with a B+, there's little room to show improvement in Years 2 and 3 unless you can convince him that you are A- material - and that's a really big step upwards.....


Book Reviewer
Chad, in many respects the grade is not that relevant. There is no doubt its an indicator but as I am sure you will have been told (or should have been) the really important sections are the 1RO/2RO potential comments.

What you might not have seen is any formation wide (Regt/Bde/Div) moderation of gradings - these happen quite often in a bid to try and keep OJAR/SJAR grades from being over inflated, so hence being (notionally) dropped from B+ to a B, probably is just indicative of the wider formation bearing down so that there is a smaller percentage of people achieving the B+/A- grades.

And remember the saw tooth effect, in each posting you can/should see a starting grade then an increase with time/experience - starting off as a B+/A- is just hyper inflated nonsense, gives you a warm feeling but unless corroborated with sensible prose/evidence in the performance/potential sections leaves you with nowhere to go in your next OJAR in the same post.

I'd not get too worked up.
Barbs and Gassing Badgers both made good points,

Without knowing your history, I would say that its your OC that has let you down, and given you an unrealistic assessment.

What did you Mid Year say? As that should have given both you a steer as to what your expected OJAR grade would be and it would also have given the CoC a warning order for putting the Regts Capts into batting order.

Even future CGS would probably never have had a B+ on their first OJAR as a Capt, but they may well have received a B with a very strong write up stating that you are already beginning to show all the characteristics and abilities of a Senior Capt/Field Officer, this would have paved the way and supported future gradings and possible recommendations.

Its not unknown for entire Units not to have a B+ Capt if the Bde Comd feels that he has stronger Capts elsewhere.....Also many people pick up off the Beige list with a B grade if the write ups have been sufficiently strong.

As I said your umbridge shouldn't be with the Adjt/CO it should be with your OC and if your Mid Year didn't state B+ then it was for your first RO to convince your 2nd RO that you are at that level and your 2nd RO in an ideal world would have then taken a closer look at you.

realistically as a Capt's 1st OJAR it ain't going to happen........ Unless you did an successfull Op Tour acting as the OC of your Sqn or such like...
barbs is correct, with one exception. If you impress your CoC so much that you stray into the 'A' bracket, then your 3RO must report on you too. If this is the case, you'd better have met and impressed him/her at some point in the year or you'll be damned with faint praise.

Now, this isn't an exact science but as a rule, the bit you need to be fretting about is the 1RO's 'Potential' box mainly because its the most important one you can influence. MS boards rarely get time to read anyone's book for more than three minutes and they usually do this in reverse, starting with the most senior RO's 'Potential' comment on your most recent report an comparing that with the 1RO's opinion. If they differ wildly, then they might read further into your reports to find out why one of them hates you. Boards rarely have time to go back more than five reports.

If you really want to bullet-proof your OJARs, corner your MS rep next time you see them and pump them for the kind of magic 'ju-ju' words that should be appearing in each of the boxes over successive reports. You get a chance to discuss your OJAR with your 1RO and that's the point that you should try to massage the right language into your boxes (ooeerr!). Bear in mind that you can't promote under the new rules unless you've accrued the right number of reports so there's no point in trying to peak early; they should read like a steadily rising graph, not a roller coaster.

There are, of course, other factors like breadth of experience (some ninjas I've met consider a third report in the same job a wasted report; they tend to 'double-tap' to prove consistency then move on to a different staff branch/RD job to widen their experience) but I hope this helps.
Appreciate the explanations. I am in no way pissed off with a B grade and was surprised to be given a B+. I am more than happy with my OJAR,
e only thing that got my back up was the line that B+ are generally given to adj/ops as if the grade came with the job rather than the individual being of sufficient calibre to merit the grade. Why should a stronger grade be given to an adjutant rather than the recce platoon commander for example simply because he does the senior job? Does this mean that no matter how hard the guy in the junior job works he will never achieve a strong grade, or that what he has to do to achieve a B+ is significantly more than the captain with a more senior job?

I understand that the grade is less important for the junior capt and that what goes around comes around, it just does not seem like a very transparent grading system!
performance is important, but potential is absolutely key and should be tempered with your ability and aspirations.

If you're a niggy capt, your potential should be commenting on your suitability for a Snr Capts' Appointment (Adjt, Ops, Instr), your employability on the staff and in which areas and indeed comment on wider employability. Similarly if you've not converted commission type and wish to (ever more topical) then this should be reinforced.

As for grades not being important - pull the other one - that's straight out of the MS Rd Show bumper book of lies...having chaired and participated in a reasonable number of gradings boards / merit lists i've never seen the top half of the top third with anything less than B+/Highs.
Having read your post further down, I don't even pretend to know as much about the ins and outs of promotion boards up at Glasgow, closest I got was as an observer. Although have had many a good argument at Unit level....But I digress

Out of interest, which bit wasn't really true? The tour part was an exaggeration on my part, and I put the realistically bit in because I would take a wild stab in the dark to say that for ever 1st appointment Capt who gets a B+ there are 99 who don't... so that is where the realistically bit came in.

If the OP is the 1/100, then aside from annoyance at being let down by his 1st RO His career wont be held back in any way whatsoever by this initial B and he will probably reach Lt Col Faster than his 1st RO anyway....


Book Reviewer
As for grades not being important - pull the other one - that's straight out of the MS Rd Show bumper book of lies...having chaired and participated in a reasonable number of gradings boards / merit lists i've never seen the top half of the top third with anything less than B+/Highs.
Ditto for experience, but we all know the grades are merely used as indicators for sifting purposes. As we've both highlighted, well written prose detailing strong potential and performance, backed up with evidence, is the way solid reports get people ahead.


'only thing that got my back up was the line that B+ are generally given to adj/ops as if the grade came with the job rather than the individual being of sufficient calibre to merit the grade. Why should a stronger grade be given to an adjutant rather than the recce platoon commander for example simply because he does the senior job?'

Probably because the Adjutant of a unit in barracks, in order to be effective, has to demonstrate much more subtle judgement, sensitivity, discretion and attention to detail than any other Regimental Captain. On operations he has to do all that and more. While a busy post in barracks, on operations the Ops Offr has to balance scarce resources, turn the COs intent into a decent plan and ensure that the OCs, atts and dets and every one else involved with the unit has a clue what is going on and what is going to happpen next. He or she must also spend long hours up and across the chain of command to make sure flanks and superior units know what is going on. Doing this requires him or her to exhibit good judgement, sound professional knowledge and a deep understanding of what the unit can and cannot achieve as well as good influencing and negotiating skills to get the resources/ support needed to get the job done. If an Adjt or OpsO gets a B+ they have really earned it.

In contrast, a sub- unit Captain has a challenging but relatively narrow span of responsibility. To be a B+ sub- unit Captain/ specialist platoon commander they would have to be performing as well as the Adjt/ OpsO. It is unlikely that someone so recently promoted would be above the standard in most respects in all areas as they would be unlikely to be put in aposition where they could demonstrate they had the breadth and depth.

The fault here lies with an OC who has over promised and not cleared his lines with CO - a B+ on promotion would not necessarily help a first year Captain - he might not have the opportunity to show as well next year and might actually end up as a B - a retrograde step. A B means your CO reckons you are doing a good job as a Captain - many do not get that grade on promtion, so do not fret too much.
Agree with most of the comments, although there are quite a few Capts who do get a B+ in their first year and I would be surprised if some of them made it to CGS.. I am afraid it highlights that your OC did not run the proposed grades by the CO and you have therefore been given a grade which was not cleared. Better to have it changed now than to have the CO write that he does not agree with the grade of the 1RO. That would cause you more dramas.

The fact it got your back up perhaps indicates that you feel you are as good as the Adjt, even though you have just promoted to Captain...really?

There should be Captain's grading boards, to decide the running order of the Captain's in the unit. The Adjt would be expected to be at the top of the tree and don't forget, as you approach the beige point (3 years from 1st look?), your 1 RO becomes the CO and 2RO becomes your relevant 1* - so are you really up there with the Adjt and maybe one other captain from your regiment, who would be looking to be classed as "high in the top third of the Captains I report on in Brigade" or some such. So if you got a B+, in the Brigade gradings, people might say "Capt X - he only promoted last week, is he really better than Smithers, who is 2 below the Adjt as our most senior Capt...etc etc".

Agree wholeheartedly with the other bits above - your OC (1RO) should have already cleared the B+ with your CO. If he got told to adjust your grade to a more relaistic B, but decided to put you through at B+, he may have been hoping to reinforce how good he thinks you are.

Whatever the outcome, you could be in a position to feel that you are hot stuff. the thing to do now is work on it - try and make that B a B+ in next year's OJAR (when you'll be less of a crow), scrabble around for everything you can to reinforce it, aim to get into that Adjt slot ASAP etc etc.

The other sound point was what is your next major decision point - are you fishing for IRC, or is that already in the bag (or you're a Reg C already), so you're angling for promotion 1st look?
, as you approach the beige point (3 years from 1st look?), your 1 RO becomes the CO and 2RO becomes your relevant 1*
What?! This is mad, how on earth do you justify it? And what happens when you're shooting for Lt Col, does your local 2* become your 2RO? How does he ever form a justifiable opinion on you, especially given our OpTempo?
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