Army Regulation 5-17

19 October 1990

Effective date: 19 November 1990



The Army Ideas for Excellence Program


AR 5-17
The Army Ideas for Excellence Program

This regulation--

* Replaces chapter 2 of AR 672-20.

* Combines the Model Installation Program and the Army Suggestion Program. The new program has been named the Army Ideas for Excellence Program ( para 1-1 ).

* Changes Secretariat oversight for the Army Suggestion Program from the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) to the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations, Logistics, and Environment) ( para 1-4 ).

Chapter 1

1-1. Purpose

This regulation prescribes policy and procedures governing the Army Ideas for Excellence Program (AIEP). It provides a standard method for employees to use to submit ideas and explains evaluation and disposition procedures. This regulation also provides guidance for the payments of awards. The AIEP is intended to encourage employees to improve present policy, practices, and regulatory constraints which do not facilitate good management, and are not needed in time of war. The AIEP is designed to improve morale by providing an opportunity for soldiers and employees to take part voluntarily in the improvement of management within the Government.

1-2. References

a. Related publications. A related publication is merely a source of additional information. The user does not have to read it to understand this regulation.

(1) AR 215-3 , Nonappropriated Funds Personnel Policies and Procedures.

(2) AR 672-20 , Incentive Awards.

b. Prescribed forms.

(1) DA Form 1045 (Army Ideas for Excellence Program (AIEP) Proposal) (prescribed in para 3-4a ).

(2) DA Form 1045-E (Army Ideas for Excellence Program (AIEP) Proposal) (EGA) (prescribed in para 3-4a).

(3) DA Form 2440 (Suggestion Evaluation) (prescribed in para 5-4 ).

(4) DA Form 2441 (Suggestion Award Certificate) (prescribed in para 7-4a ).

(5) DA Form 5912-R (Worksheet for AIEP Report) (prescribed in para A-1 ).

(6) DA Form 5912-R-E (Worksheet for AIEP Report) (EGA) (prescribed in para A-1).

(7) DD Form 1609 (Incentive Awards Program Annual Report (Military Personnel)) (prescribed in para A-1).

(8) OPM Form 1465 (Incentive Awards Program Annual Report) (prescribed in para A-1).

c. Referenced forms.

(1) DA Form 2442 (Certificate of Achievement).

(2) DA Form 2443 (Commendation Certificate).

1-3. Explanation of abbreviations and terms

Abbreviations and special terms used in this regulation are explained in the glossary .

1-4. Responsibilities

a. The Secretary of the Army (SA) will--

(1) Exercise overall responsibility for AIEP policy and program implementation.

(2) Submit to the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), as required by each of those offices, award recommendations exceeding $10,000, recommendations for Presidential suggestion awards, and annual reports on civilian and military suggestion activity.

b. Assistant Secretaries, principal officials of Army Staff agencies, and other Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA) principal officials will--

(1) Facilitate adoption and implementation of improved management processes and systems.

(2) Adopt as policy those ideas that prove successful by identifying and quickly implementing proposals that have Army-wide application.

(3) Award, where appropriate, cash payments to persons whose proposals are adopted and who qualify under the rules of the AIEP.

(4) Ensure that the AIEP is responsive in providing recognition to deserving individuals.

c. Assistant Secretaries and other Secretariat principal officials will serve as denial authority for recommendations pertaining to their functional areas.

d. The Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations, Logistics, and Environment) (ASA(IL&E)), as the AIEP program director, will--

(1) Serve as the primary point of contact (POC) on AIEP matters for the Army Secretariat, Office of the Secretary of Defense, and other Services.

(2) Provide policy development, program direction, and management oversight.

(3) Execute final authority for all HQDA recommendations to deny waiver requests referred for resolution.

e. The Director of Management (DM), Office of the Chief of Staff, Army (OCSA) is the AIEP program proponent and program manager. The DM will--

(1) Develop and recommend policy changes to the ASA(IL&E).

(2) Publish guidance on AIEP policies and procedures, as approved by the ASA(IL&E).

(3) Oversee program management, implementation, and administration of the AIEP program.

(4) Conduct analyses of program execution and performance.

(5) Act as primary interface between Army commands, HQDA Staff elements and the Army Secretariat with regard to management of the AIEP and processing of ideas.

(6) Provide assistance to field and HQDA Staff elements as requested.

(7) Prepare recommendations for idea awards of more than $10,000 for review by the Army Incentives Awards Board and dispatch through ASA(IL&E) to OSD or OPM those recommendations approved by the board.

(8) Oversee and process the annual "Suggester of the Year" award.

(9) Submit through ASA(IL&E) to OSD annual reports and program accomplishments.

f. Commanders of major Army commands (MACOMs), intermediate commands, and installations will--

(1) Establish local policy and procedures for, and ensure administration of, the AIEP within their commands.

(2) Establish and manage the idea program as a function within the Directorate of Resource Management (DRM), and appoint a program coordinator (PC).

(3) Ensure awards are granted according to the intent of program policy and are consistent, equitable, and timely.

(4) Approve or recommend approval of awards as prescribed in this regulation.

(5) Compile and forward annual reports to HQDA, (through Idea Express (IDX) if available) not later than 31 October.

(6) MACOM commanders will recommend annually one or more military and civilian "Suggester of the Year" nominees to HQDA not later than 31 May.

(7) Publicize achievements and promote the AIEP within their commands.

(8) Assist installations in resolving complex actions, upon request.

(9) Program, budget, and pay cash awards for all adopted ideas unless directed otherwise.

(10) Establish, sponsor, or encourage attendance at appropriate training programs for suggesters, PCs, and functional proponents (FPs).

1-5. Authority

This regulation is issued pursuant to section 45, title 5 United States Code ; section 1124, title 10, United States Code ; section b, part 451, title 5, Code of Federal Regulations ; Federal Personnel Manual, chapter 451.

Chapter 2
Program Policy

2-1. Program administration

The AIEP will be administered entirely on the basis of merit, without regard to age, sex, race, color, religion, national origin, or physical or mental handicap. Participation will be voluntary.

2-2. Program promotion and publicity

a. Active promotion of the AIEP is the responsibility of all levels of command. MACOMs and installations are encouraged to develop their own materials and use all suitable techniques of publicity and promotion consistent with law and within funds available.

b. Appropriated funds may be used to buy inexpensive items to promote AIEP. Ideally, such items will be appropriate to the work environment or serve as a reminder of the benefits of participating in the program. Coffee mugs, key rings, and small plaques are typical promotional items. To the greatest extent possible, MACOMs and installations should share good promotional ideas with other organizations and the Army at large. HQDA (DACS-DME) will collect and share promotional approaches both within and outside the Army.

c. As part of promotional efforts, commanders at all levels may--

(1) Identify and systematically publicize key areas in which constructive ideas are especially desired.

(2) Use internal and external public affairs channels to publicize outstanding suggestions and program accomplishments through honor roll displays, news releases and articles, video or television presentations, or ceremonies honoring individuals or groups.

(3) Familiarize personnel at all levels with the AIEP by conducting briefings and presentations at commander's call, newcomer orientations, staff meetings, management and leadership courses, and the like.

(4) Advertise the program through posters, billboards, inserts in bulletins, or other media which frequently reach soldiers and employees.

(5) Develop slogans, logos, and other short, striking materials designed to call attention to the program.

d. Commanders, at their discretion, may select two Suggesters of the Year, one civilian and one military, and nominate these individuals for Army-wide Suggester of the Year. The Army's Suggester of the Year is honored at the annual Secretary of the Army Awards Ceremony, usually held during the fall of each year. Commanders are similarly urged to nominate suggesters for comparable honors in the private sector, such as the Suggester of the Year competition of the National Association of Suggestion Systems. MACOMs will forward the names of nominees and justification to HQDA by 31 May of each year.

e. Commanders at all levels initiate procedures for recognizing--

(1) Supervisors who demonstrate distinctive ability to stimulate AIEP participation, or extraordinary willingness to aid suggesters in developing their submissions.

(2) Evaluators who consistently provide timely, high quality evaluations.

(3) PCs who excel in facilitating AIEP processing, maintaining good relations with suggesters, or otherwise enhancing the performance or reputation of the AIEP.

f. These categories of contributors will be recognized with special act awards, and will never share in a prospective award for a suggester. Selection of an evaluator or PC of the month, quarter, or year is another method of recognition.

2-3. Decision prerogative

The decision to adopt or not adopt an idea, or to grant or not grant an award, is a commander's prerogative within the limits of his or her authority. At the same time, the Army is committed to fair and consistent administration of the AIEP, and will adhere to this regulation in making all decisions on the disposition of ideas and the payment of awards.

2-4. Idea disapproval due to regulatory guidance

a. No idea will be disapproved solely because--

(1) It is contrary to applicable laws, regulations, or other written provisions.

(2) Implementation of the idea or the amount of the cash award is cost prohibitive.

b. Adoption of an idea, however, may be contingent upon a change to applicable laws, regulations, or other written provisions.

2-5. Immediate adoption

An idea may be immediately adopted and a full award (less than $10,000) paid if full implementation within 1 year of adoption is guaranteed.

2-6. Testing ideas

a. Test evaluation is a critical part of the AIEP process. Installation commanders submit requests for changes to regulations, through channels, to the regulation proponent. The proponent will approve the test evaluation unless a test at one location will have serious adverse effects for the Army. At the end of the test period (normally 1 year), the test installation forwards an evaluation of the idea to the regulation proponent. Each intervening command headquarters will provide analyses, appropriate comments, and recommendations on whether the idea should be approved for Army-wide implementation.

b. An idea should also be tested when it offers a prospective benefit to the Government which cannot be ascertained or adequately quantified without a test. At the conclusion of the test period, normally not to exceed 1 year, the idea either will be adopted, and an award paid based on documented benefits, or disapproved. In either case, full evaluations should be done at both the beginning and the end of the test period.

c. If an idea is approved for testing, the submitter should receive nonmonetary award recognition pending completion of the test and validation of savings.

d. Successful installation-level testing may provide sufficient basis for implementing an idea more broadly. FPs at all levels retain the basic responsibility for determining whether or not an idea will be implemented fully, based on test results and all other relevant evidence. FPs at higher levels must also project benefits at those levels; this may or may not be evident from local testing experience.

e. If it is concluded, after testing, that an idea proposal should be implemented Army-wide, an applicable regulation change, if appropriate, will be processed and published within 6 months.

f. If it is decided, after testing, not to implement the idea Army-wide, the testing MACOM may continue to use the idea procedure until the end of the fiscal year. At that time, compliance with the appropriate regulation must be resumed.

2-7. Proprietary rights

Suggesters have an interest in the use and disposition of their ideas. Proprietary rights begin when the idea is initially entered into the system and remain until 2 years after the date of final action (that is, the date of approval of an award or written notification of nonadoption). The principal intention is to protect against use of suggesters' ideas by the Government without proper credit being given and against unauthorized acquisition and use.

2-8. Requests for reconsideration

a. A suggester may request reconsideration of an idea evaluation or other aspect of the idea's disposition. The request must be submitted in writing within 60 days of the date of notification of final disposition to the PC who initially registered the suggestion.

b. In support of the request for reconsideration, the suggester must do one of the following:

(1) Provide evidence that an evaluator made a material error of fact or logic that had an effect on the idea evaluation.

(2) Provide new material, information, or rationale.

(3) Clarify significant issues or questions.

c. Mere dissatisfaction or disagreement with the previous determination is not by itself justification for reconsideration. The request for reconsideration will first be reviewed by the installation PC to determine if it qualifies for reconsideration. If it does, it will be processed as the original idea was processed; that is, it will be reevaluated at each appropriate level of command and evaluated at one level higher than the rejecting official. Commanders or their designees must approve the forwarding of any requests for reconsideration to higher headquarters. The reconsideration of an idea that was not adopted will not extend proprietary rights.

d. If a suggester whose proprietary rights have not expired believes that official action has been taken to implement all or part of the idea without proper credit being given, the suggester may request reexamination. The request must be submitted to the PC who initially registered the idea and must indicate the regulation, directive, or action which implemented the idea. In some cases the suggester clearly raises issues which warrant consideration, and the PC determines that the suggester's idea might have been used without giving due credit to the suggester. The PC will forward the request through idea command channels to the organization which allegedly made use of the idea. Within 60 days, the organization will respond to all of the suggester's contentions. The local commander will then review the response and, if he or she concurs, forward it to the suggester.

2-9. Tenant and similar submissions

a. Employees and soldiers belonging to tenant units on an installation will submit their ideas to the installation DRM PC. Depending on the subject matter of the idea, the PC will route the suggestion for evaluation as follows:

(1) Tenant-unique ideas will be forwarded to the tenant DRM PC for processing within the tenant chain of command. If not locally resolvable, the tenant PC will forward the idea, along with the local evaluation, to the next higher headquarters.

(2) Other ideas will be forwarded to the proper local FP and returned to the installation PC. If appropriate, the PC will forward the idea through channels for higher level evaluation.

(3) United States Army Reserve (USAR) ideas may be processed through the affiliated parent continental United States (CONUS) Army command or supporting installation.

b. HQDA level and other parent commands with responsibility for field operating agencies (FOAs), Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC) and Reserve units, elements of the United States Army Recruiting Command (USAREC), and other organizations not located on installations will ensure access to the AIEP for their employees and soldiers as determined by the responsible commander.

2-10. Other Services and agencies

Members or employees of other Services and agencies will submit their ideas to their own organizations and not directly to the Army, even if those ideas primarily affect the Army. However, an idea submitted by a member or employee of another Service or agency who is assigned to an Army installation may be submitted through Army channels when submission to the other Service or agency is not convenient.

Chapter 3

3-1. Eligibility for participation

All members of the Army community, and others concerned with the welfare of both the Army and the Nation, are eligible to submit ideas. However, payment of awards is limited to soldiers and certain categories of civilian employees (paras 3-2 and 3-3 ). If an idea from a person not eligible for a cash award is adopted, the local commander may choose to present appropriate noncash recognition such as a medal, plaque, or locally devised certificate.

3-2. Eligibility for cash awards

Participants eligible to receive cash awards include--

a. Direct-hire Army civilian personnel (including USAR technicians and local nationals) who are paid from appropriated funds.

b. Military members of the Active Army.

c. Members of the USAR in an active reserve status; this includes ROTC cadets in such status, as well as cadets at the United States Military Academy (USMA).

d. Army National Guard (ARNG) members in Federal service (under 10 USC orders).

e. Non-Army Federal employees paid from appropriated funds and military members of the other armed services.

f. Retired or otherwise separated employees and soldiers whose ideas were entered into the AIEP system while they were in an eligible status.

3-3. Ineligible participants

Participants ineligible for cash awards funded by appropriated funds include--

a. Private citizens, including but not limited to, military and civilian retirees (except as indicated at para 3-2, spouses and other relatives of eligible employees and soldiers, and employees of private contractors).

b. Foreign exchange members, that is, foreign military personnel temporarily assigned to U.S. forces.

c. Employees of nonappropriated fund (NAF) activities. AR 215-3 provides regulatory guidance for entitlements under NAF.

d. ARNG military members and ARNG technicians, enlisted and employed, respectively, under title 32, United States Code ( 32 USC ). ARNG military members in Federal service under the above title are eligible ( para 3-2 ).

e. Indirect-hire local nationals. Outside continental United States (OCONUS) MACOMs may establish their own programs to recognize and reward such employees who contribute to the AIEP.

3-4. Eligible ideas

To be accepted in the AIEP, an idea must satisfy the following conditions:

a. Be submitted in writing on DA Form 1045 (Army Ideas for Excellence Program (AIEP) Proposal (DA Form 1045-E) or through the IDX automated system to the PC. If the idea has been put into effect prior to submission, it cannot have been in effect over 90 days.

b. Benefit the Army or other U.S. Government activity.

c. Present a problem or situation and propose a solution with sufficient rationale to support the requested new procedure.

3-5. Basic content of ideas

In order to make a positive evaluation possible, the following information should be legibly included in any idea submission:

a. The current practice, method, procedure, task, directive, or policy affected. If possible, cite the particular law, regulation, or policy involved.

b. The proposed method, change, or idea, with an explanation of why the present practice is deficient, and why the change will be beneficial. A statement of known or estimated benefits should also be included.

c. Drawings, photographs, specifications, or other supporting documentation. These may be appended; they will always be referred to in the idea itself. For IDX users, such documents will be affixed with the suggestion number assigned by the local PC and forwarded for evaluation by way of U.S. mail.

3-6. Group ideas

Any group may submit an idea. The group may include individuals who are eligible or ineligible to receive monetary awards.

a. Should one or more group members (as determined by the DRM) be ineligible for an award, that fact will be made known to all members of the group at the time of submission or as soon thereafter as possible. In all cases of award for a group idea, the award will be divided equally among all award-eligible group members, or as appropriate based on the relative contributions of each award-eligible group member to the adopted idea.

b. All members of the group must sign the idea. Once an idea has been given a number, names may not be added or deleted to the idea without the written consent of all the members. The reasons for addition or deletion must be thoroughly explained in writing and kept on file.

c. Ideas originating in groups can be either individual or group ideas. In order for an individual member to submit a valid idea on a topic which has been discussed in the group, all members of the group must sign a consenting statement. This acknowledges that the idea originated with that individual and that the other members waive any claim to an award based on the idea.

3-7. Eligibility requirement for ideas

a. An idea (or reconsideration request) will not be processed for evaluation when it--

(1) Presents a problem but offers no solution.

(2) Is vague or incomplete.

(3) Merely calls attention to a word omission or typographical or printing error that is normally corrected during formal reviews.

(4) Proposes realignment of text or addition of a word when there has been no serious misunderstanding or error reported by anyone other than the suggester.

(5) Proposes a change in housekeeping practices or routine work orders for the maintenance of buildings and grounds. However, an idea may be accepted if it significantly increases safety, saves property or material, improves working conditions, or has the potential for improving the use of energy resources that may result in tangible or intangible benefits.

(6) Suggests the use of items in the Army, Department of Defense, or Federal stock for their intended purposes.

(7) Would benefit only an Army contractor. However, an idea is eligible if it proposes a change in contractor services or products that would benefit the Army or the Federal Government. Contractors should be encouraged to create their own suggestion programs for their employees. Adherence to standards like those for AIEP are desirable. To the extent that submissions under such programs result in benefits for the Government, allowance for administration of such a program, including payment of awards, can legitimately be made part of a contract.

(8) Indicates potential tangible savings but does not provide the rationale or calculations on which to base the estimate.

b. Most ineligible ideas will be identified by the PC, who will return the ideas to the suggester with specific reasons for the return. When an ineligible idea inadvertently is submitted to the AIEP, the evaluator who recognizes its ineligibility will return it to the PC. All ideas submitted to the local PC will be counted in determining office workload, even if (because of ineligibility), not counted in the AIEP annual reports.

3-8. Duplicate ideas

a. PCs should keep obvious duplicates out of the idea system. Proposals which are apparent duplicates should be sent to the FP to determine whether the idea is a duplicate. After verification by the FP that the idea is not a duplicate, the evaluator may process the idea in accordance with normal procedures.

b. If a suggester proposes an original solution to a previously addressed problem, that idea should be processed. The PC and evaluator determine the substantive difference between ideas with the local commander or his designee as the final decision-maker.

3-9. Eligibility of other programs

By agreement between OCSA, DM, Installation Management Division, and the other organization, evaluations of submissions to other Army suggestion programs (such as Supply and Maintenance Assessment and Review Team (SMART), Tool Improvement Program (TIPs), or Value Engineering (VE)) can be accepted as the basis for cash awards under the AIEP. Such evaluations must meet AIEP standards for quality and content, and processing and calculation of benefits must be consistent with AIEP procedures.

Chapter 4
Idea Processing

4-1. Disposition of ideas

In all cases in which a submission qualifies as an idea, there will be prompt evaluation and disposition. If the evaluating FP can make final disposition, there must be adoption or nonadoption, or approval for testing. In case of adoption, a benefits determination should be made, and any award due (less than $10,000) should be paid promptly. If the FP cannot make final disposition of an idea, he or she should submit views and recommendations with the idea to the PC for forwarding to the next level of authority.

4-2. Idea Submission

a. All AIEP proposals must be submitted on DA Form 1045 , to the installation DRM PC. For valid submission, the suggester must sign and date the form.

b. In the case of a group idea, all participants must sign, though only one needs to be on the basic submission, with the others attached thereto. The principal signer is designated as "primary contact," and is responsible for keeping all co-suggesters informed of activities affecting the suggestion.

c. As soon as possible after the suggester makes submission, the PC will take the following steps:

(1) Assign an AIEP number and enter it in block 3c of the DA Form 1045.

(2) Sign and date the acknowledgement of receipt in block 4 on DA Form 1045.

(3) Notify the suggester of receipt and of the Idea number.

d. The suggestion will have status in the AIEP as of the date of acknowledgment of receipt on the DA 1045.

4-3. IDX processing

All eligible ideas will be processed using the IDX automated system, where available.

4-4. Contingency processing

War, a more limited emergency, or failure of the IDX automated system will cause changes in processing. In such cases, the following guidelines will apply:

a. To the greatest extent possible, processing procedures during wartime or emergency conditions will parallel those during peace. However, AIEP operations may be suspended or curtailed while immediate needs are met and, as necessary, thereafter.

b. In the event of failure in communications or the IDX automated system, a manual idea system will be instituted. The same rules and routing patterns will be followed as under the automated system.

4-5. Additional information requests

Suggesters can be requested to provide additional information to the PC or evaluator if an idea is incomplete, or to help prepare draft documentation needed to secure approval of the idea. However, if a suggester fails to respond within 60 days to a request for information from the PC or FP, the idea will be evaluated without the requested information, and disposition made.

4-6. Idea language

All ideas will be submitted and processed in English. Assistance, if available, will be provided through supervisory or technical channels if English is not the native language of the suggester.

4-7. Denial authority

a. At installation, intermediate command, and MACOM level, authority to disapprove an idea resides with the commander. This authority may be delegated to the MACOM Chief of Staff or to the Garrison Commander at installation level. This applies to initial evaluations or evaluations resulting from a previously approved test.

b. If disapproval is on the basis that the idea is already in use or under consideration, higher level authority is not necessary. However, such disposition must be documented as fully as possible. If available, the previous idea or other source of the idea will be provided with the evaluation. Mere assertion that the idea is already familiar is not sufficient justification for nonadoption.

c. For ideas sent for HQDA consideration, only general officers or SES members with expertise on the subject matter may recommend denial. All ideas will be forwarded to the DM, and policy issues will be forwarded to the functional Secretariat principal official for denial decision. The ASA(IL&E) exercises final denial authority for all policy ideas referred for resolution. Requests to reconsider disapprovals will be forwarded to the DM, who will coordinate with the correct HQDA proponent. The HQDA activity will coordinate evaluations with appropriate policy proponents and other pertinent officials. The ASA(IL&E) will forward requests that require OSD or other Government agency approval.

4-8. Determination of idea eligibility

The installation PC will determine the suggester's cash award eligibility, and that of the idea submitted.

a. If the idea is eligible, the PC will--

(1) Assign the idea a number and a title, if needed, and enter it into the IDX automated system, where available. To ensure proper tracking, the idea number will consist of a two digit MACOM code, a two-digit installation code, and a six-digit sequence code.

(2) Provide the suggester a signed and dated acknowledgment of receipt.

(3) Determine the proper local FP to which the idea should be sent for evaluation.

b. If the idea is ineligible, the PC will return the submission to the suggester expressing the Army's appreciation. Included will be a clear explanation for the action taken.

4-9. Idea processing

a. Ideas adopted at a local or intermediate level and forwarded for wider consideration, or ideas which require higher level approval, will be sent to the next higher headquarters with accompanying recommendations. Installation, intermediate commands, and MACOM commanders, or their designees, must endorse the forwarding of any idea from those levels.

b. Routing will be through DRM channels using the IDX automated system where available.

c. Installation PCs will send tenant mission-unique suggestions to the tenant organization on post for evaluation. Tenant idea POCs will keep the installation PC advised of the status of proposals forwarded for evaluation through tenant channels.

4-10. Idea forwarding to other agencies

The Army Staff or the Secretariat, as appropriate, will review ideas before they are forwarded to OSD, other Services, or non-DOD Government agencies. The Installation Management Division is responsible for forwarding, through the chain of command, all requests needing approval authority beyond HQDA level.

4-11. Answering suggester inquiries

Suggesters should first contact the PC who initially received an idea submission for inquiries about the proposal while it is being processed. Only if the desired information is not available or obtainable, should suggesters contact other PCs for status requests. HQDA will provide a status report on all suggestions pending an HQDA evaluation. This report will identify the activity reviewing the ideas, date forwarded to the evaluator, and expected completion date.

Chapter 5
Evaluation Policy and Procedures

5-1. Suggester evaluation entitlements

Suggesters are entitled to clear, complete, and fair evaluations of their ideas. Evaluators should be predisposed to approve rather than disapprove and be willing to work in cooperation with suggesters to seek the valuable elements in all submissions. Because ideas directly affect the economy and effectiveness of the Army and Federal Government, evaluators must give suggestions timely and thorough responses.

5-2. Functional proponent duties

The FP is liable for idea evaluations at all levels of command. However, commanders may authorize alternative approaches to idea evaluation within their commands. They may use teams to conduct internal reviews, local suggestion programs, or use other personnel qualified in the subject matter area in addition to an FP representative.

5-3. Evaluation completion time

Receipt, evaluation, and disposition (approve, disapprove, return, forward) of ideas should take no more than a total of 30 calender days at each command level. In cases where savings must be validated by an external agency, another 30 days is allotted.

5-4. Recommended format

Evaluations will be performed using the IDX automated system, where available; if not, then a DA Form 2440 (Suggestion Evaluation will be used). When evaluations are prepared without a DA Form 2440, FPs and PCs must ensure that sufficient data to support the recommendation (adopt, nonadopt, or other) and to support the payment (or nonpayment) of an award are included.

5-5. Functional proponent options

a. If an FP has authority to make final disposition, he or she must either adopt or not adopt the idea or approve it for testing. For an adoption to be valid, the FP must be willing and able to implement the idea adopted. Adoption carries with it the obligation to implement at the earliest possible time.

b. Nonadoption can take the form of either of the following:

(1) Disapproval for cause.

(2) Disposition as an idea already in use or under consideration. Duplicates of ideas, or of other proposals (already developed within the FP office or previously acquired from non-AIEP sources), can be nonadopted on this ground provided the earlier proposal was actively considered during the 2 years before the FP office received the current idea. Backup documentation substantiating this disposition is required.

c. If the FP cannot make final disposition or approve for testing, he or she must recommend for or against adoption or testing.

d. If more than one organization would have input to an evaluation, the organization to which the idea is sent must coordinate with the others and prepare a final assessment taking all other inputs into account. All organizations involved in the coordination process will be indicated in the evaluation. If the proponent determines no coordination is required, that shall be stated.

e. Whatever disposition is made, the FP must in all cases provide a rationale for what has been done. This justification need not be lengthy, but should reflect serious consideration of the idea submitted. All points made by the suggester should be addressed, and reasons given on why the idea is or is not meritorious. If disposition is already in use or under consideration, detailed facts must be provided about the similar proposal previously considered and the evaluation must indicate whether the idea contributed to the action in any way.

f. When appropriate, a statement of net estimated or actual benefits (total first year benefits less cost of implementing the idea) should be provided, as should an indication of how costs and benefits were determined. Such data is required for all adopted ideas, as well as for those which must be forwarded for higher level decision or are approved for testing.

g. If benefits are intangible, the FP is required to recommend a precise award amount within the appropriate range provided in figure 5-2 .

h. FPs at all levels will provide cost and benefit analyses on proposals recommended for forwarding to higher headquarters or those approved by the FP. Such analyses must however be limited to the costs and benefits at the FP's level of organization. Local and MACOM evaluators should not, for example, speculate on costs and benefits to the Army as a whole.

i. If an FP receives an idea by mistake and does not have technical jurisdiction over or primary interest in the subject, the idea should be returned to the PC with the appropriate action FP identified.

Legend for Table 5-1:
Estimated First-Year Benefits to GovernmentAmount of Award
Up to $10,000............................................................................................................. percent of benefits
$10,001-$100,000........................................................ $1,000, plus 3 percent of benefits over $10,000
$100,001 or more..........................$3,700 for the $100,000 plus 0.5 percent of benefits over $100,000

Figure 5-1. Contributions with tangible benefits

Figure 5-2. Scale of awards based on intangible benefits

Chapter 6

6-1. Tangible benefits

a. Whenever possible awards will be based on tangible benefits ( table 5-1 ). Only if it is extraordinarily difficult to measure benefits in dollar terms will intangible-benefit calculations be used.

b. Tangible benefits may be calculated on the basis of estimated value, but actual value is preferable. In most cases, savings will be determined for the first full year of use, whether for testing or full implementation. Offsetting costs will then be subtracted to obtain the net benefit on which an award would be based. If costs exceed 50 percent of first-year benefits, calculations may be based on an average of net benefits for the first 3 to 5 years. If the reasonable life of the initial implementation or the clearly predictable period of use is less than 3 years, calculations will be based on the shorter of the latter two periods. Exceptions to these methods may occur; however, they should follow generally accepted costing procedures and reflect an annual savings amount. All calculations are subject to audit.

c. Direct savings, cost avoidances, and increased output at the same cost are all tangible benefits as defined in this regulation; that is, they are measured in dollar terms. Therefore, they will be counted equally in arriving at the basis for an award.

d. All tangible dollar and manpower savings are subject to audit and must be verifiable.

6-2. Intangible benefits

a. Intangible benefits will out of necessity be estimated on the basis of judgment rather than precise facts or calculations.

b. If benefits are intangible, the evaluator must clearly indicate the value and extent of application and recommend a precise award amount ( figure 5-2 ). Suggestions with intangible benefits of limited value should be recognized.

c. An idea may have tangible or intangible benefits only or a combination of both tangible and intangible benefits. The suggester will be paid an award commensurate with both tangible and intangible benefits realized.

d. If an evaluation concludes that implementation of an idea should be optional, benefits will be given as intangible. The award will be recommended on the basis of moderate value and the expected extent of usage (limited, broad, extended, general).

6-3. Benefits calculations

a. All benefits of a particular idea, or costs incurred to implement the idea, will be calculated in terms of savings or expense to the Government as a whole. Excluded from idea implementation costs are administrative overhead costs incurred in processing and evaluating Army ideas.

b. Labor costs will include fringe benefits and be based on actual costs, where available, or estimated costs using cost center average labor rates.

(1) Military labor costs will include the current composite standard rate of pay plus percentage allowances for "other personnel costs."

(2) Civilian labor costs will be computed as base pay plus percentages for retirement (both funded and unfunded), life and health insurance, medicare, and other benefits.

(3) For both military and civilians, a percentage for leave and holiday costs will be included only in cases where calculations are on the basis of hourly, daily, or other rates for less than a full work year.

Chapter 7
Payment of Awards

7-1. Eligibility

At the time of submission, individuals will be advised of their eligibility to receive a monetary award. All suggesters, regardless of eligibility to receive cash awards, are required to sign a statement acknowledging that the acceptance of a cash award or other form of recognition for the suggestion shall constitute an agreement that the use of the suggestion by the United States shall not form the basis of a further claim of any nature upon the United States by the suggester, their heirs, or assigns.

7-2. Job duties determination

Subject to the following guidelines, a commander may disapprove payment of an award on grounds that the contribution falls within the individual's job duties.

a. Experience has shown that the best ideas are those having to do with the suggester's own work. Therefore, decisions to deny an award on the basis of job duties will be taken only after the closest scrutiny with the benefit of every doubt granted to the suggester. In all cases in which the decision is to deny a recommended award, the commander or his designee will concur in writing. In such a case, the suggester could be a candidate for a Special Act Award under the Incentive Award Program.

b. Job duties refer to those aspects of a particular job which are specifically stated in either the job description or performance standards for that job. Phrases in a job description such as "other duties as assigned" will not be used as a basis for concluding that an idea falls within job duties. However, an idea which clearly and directly results from a temporary or special assignment may be considered to be within job duties.

c. Job duty determination can be made after adoption. It is not part of the process of deciding to adopt or not adopt an idea. In no case will an individual be kept from submitting an idea because it may fall within job duties.

d. A cash award is not appropriate for an idea that falls wholly within job duties. However, a letter of appreciation or commendation, a certificate, or other appropriate recognition can be granted ( AR 672-20 ). Job duties do not preclude award payment if the adopted idea--

(1) Is not explicitly stated in the job description or performance standards for civilians or equivalent documents for military.

(2) Is implemented above the installation level, or at another installation, and the suggester does not have a specific job duty for providing ideas beyond the immediate installation.

(3) Provides tangible benefits that are so superior or meritorious that it warrants special recognition. In making such determinations, careful consideration should be given to the employee's job description, assigned duties, the performance requirements or standards for the position, and the extent of application of the contribution and its impact on the organization.

e. If an idea falls partly within job duties, exceeds performance standards only in part, or involves only a small portion of the job duties, an award will be paid. The award may be reduced by the commander or his designated representative by a percentage consistent with the extent of job duties involved.

f. Normally, the suggester's first-line supervisor makes the job duty determination. It will always be made within the individual's chain of command. A supervisor or other official who has evaluated the suggestion is disqualified from making the job duty decision. Classification and personnel management specialists, as well as PCs and evaluators, may be consulted, but they should not make the job duty decision itself.

7-3. Payment approval

The commander responsible for the budget of the organization to which the suggester is currently assigned will approve payment and pay the award. However, the commander may delegate approval authority to his or her designee.

7-4. Award certificate preparation

a. The PC responsible for arranging payment of an award will prepare a DA Form 2441 (Suggestion Award Certificate), or other acceptable document, with all information required to secure payment. The certificate will be sent to the finance and accounting office or other payroll office to secure payment of the award. Copies will also be sent to the civilian or military personnel office for information, and one copy will be filed in the suggestion folder in the DRM.

b. If the award exceeds $100, DA Form 2443 (Commendation Certificate) or DA Form 2442 (Certificate of Achievement) may be presented to the suggester.

7-5. Appropriated funds payment

a. Civilian and military suggestion awards will be paid out of appropriated funds.

b. The award will be paid by the current employing organization even though the suggestion was entered or adopted, or benefits realized elsewhere. The installation may seek reimbursement, if another Service or agency benefits and the award, based on benefits realized by that Service or agency, is more than $200.

c. If the suggester has left the Army, the last Army organization to which he or she was assigned is responsible for payment.

7-6. Cash award eligibility

An adopted idea is eligible for a cash award when--

a. The idea is approved for testing.

b. The idea is approved for implementation. The award is based on tangible or intangible benefits identified in table 5-1 and figure 5-2 .

7-7. Awards paid commensurate with usage

Suggesters will be paid awards commensurate with the extent of usage at each level of organization. In addition to an award paid for local adoption only, monies will be paid for ideas used at MACOM and HQDA levels, as well as for ideas used by other agencies. Higher level awards will be reduced by the amounts already paid at lower levels. By law, the total compensation for any one suggestion cannot exceed $25,000 regardless of the number of persons who may be entitled to share in the award. Civilian suggesters can, however, receive additional monies upon recommendation by the employing agency and OPM, and approval by the President.

7-8. Group idea awards

In the case of a group idea, the award will not exceed the amount which would have been authorized for the same idea by an individual. An exception may be made if the idea is clearly of significant value, but diverse of the prospective award among multiple suggesters would make the amount received by any one person too small to be meaningful and motivating. Commanders should then decide on appropriate additional awards. All else being equal, each member of a group should receive the same share of the total award. However, if contributions differ significantly, the management official most knowledgeable of the relative contributions of each suggester will consult the commander, who will decide the proportions in which the award will be distributed.

7-9. Prompt payment of idea awards

Prompt payment for idea awards should be made as soon as final approval is granted for an adopted idea. The suggester should be kept informed, verbally or in writing, of the status of the award.

7-10. Award approval authority

MACOM commanders may approve all cash awards up to $10,000 as long as savings have been validated according to this regulation, inclusive of awards approved by activity commanders. No payment over $10,000 will be made without approval from OSD and OPM. MACOM commanders may redelegate to subordinate commands or activities the authority to approve idea cash awards in any amount up to $10,000 based on tangible or intangible benefits or a combination of both. Once HQDA-level validation is achieved, even if final OSD or OPM approval remains pending, the MACOM may authorize payment of an additional award giving the suggester a total of $10,000. Any excess will be paid upon final approval. MACOMs will issue appropriate implementing instructions.

7-11. Awards in excess of $10,000

Nominations for cash awards in excess of $10,000 must be processed expeditiously. At the same time, procedures set forth in this regulation must be fully adhered to. Dispatch all $10,000-plus nominations to HQDA (DACS-DME), WASH DC 20310 which will convey them to the Army Incentive Awards Board for review. From the board, they are sent for final approval to OSD and OPM. Before such nominations are sent to HQDA (DACS-DME), benefits must be validated by an internal review or equivalent agency at the same or higher level as the evaluating organization, but independent of the organization. Results of this review will be forwarded with the nomination. Nominations will also be accompanied by a statement indicating that the suggester's contribution does not fall wholly within job responsibility. If job responsibility is a partial factor, the statement will include full justification of the award.

7-12. Validation of benefits

Before payment of an award of $5,000 or more, validation of benefits by an internal review or review by an equivalent agency at the same level as the evaluating organization is advisable.

7-13. Interagency or interservice awards

Awards may be paid to soldiers or Army employees for ideas which benefit other Services or Government agencies, just as employees and Service members of those other organizations may receive awards for ideas that benefit the Army. In both cases, the benefiting agency will pay the award if it exceeds $200. When the award is less than $200, the suggester's employing agency will pay.

7-14. Award payment after separation from service

When payment of an award is authorized after an individual has separated from employment or military service, efforts will be made to reach him or her at the last known address. When no address is available at the local installation, other locator information will be requested.

7-15. Payment to deceased suggesters

In case of death, the unpaid award will be treated as an amount due, and processed according to regulations that pertain to amounts due to the estates of the deceased employees.

Appendix A
Annual Reports

A-1. The AIEP Annual Report

The AIEP produces an annual report to OSD with information compiled from MACOMs, installations, the Army Staff, and the Secretariat. Refer to DA Form 5912-R (Worksheet for AIEP Report) ( table 5-1 ) for the principal information required to complete OPM Form 1465 (U.S. OPM Incentive Awards Program Annual Report), IRCN/059-OPM-AM and DD Form 1609 (Incentive Awards Program Annual Report (Military Personnel). FM&P(A)1345, which includes strength figures for both military and civilians, by officer and enlisted, and General Schedule (GS), General Merit (GM), and Wage Grade (WG) categories, respectively. DA Form 5912-R is authorized for local reproduction on 8 11-inch paper. A copy for reproduction purposes is located at the back of this publication. DA Form 5912-R is also authorized for electronic generation. Electronically generated versions will carry the form number DA Form 5912-R-E . Eventually, most information will be gathered through IDX and will be available to management at all levels on monthly, quarterly, and annual bases. However, the basic requirement to compile and report the needed data remains the obligation of all levels of responsibility for the AIEP.

A-2. Categorizing suggestions

In categorizing suggestions, the following should be noted:

a. "Suggestions received" should be composed of ideas found eligible and entered into the AIEP.

b. "Suggestions disapproved"should be the total of the following:

(1) Those not adopted because already in use or under consideration (compiled separately).

(2) Those disapproved because of lack of sufficient merit.

c. Figures for tenant organizations should be included in installation totals.

d. All installations and MACOMs are also required to prepare narrative reports at the end of each fiscal year.

Figure A-1. Sample of a completed DA Form 5912-R




Army Ideas for Excellence Program


Army National Guard


Assistant Secretary of the Army


Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations, Logistics, and Environment


Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs


continental United States


Director of Management


Directorate of Resource Management


enlisted evaluation report


field operating agency


functional proponent


Federal Personnel Manual


General Merit


General Schedule


Headquarters, Department of the Army


Idea Express


Major Army command


nonappropriated fund


outside continental United States


Office of the Chief Staff of the Army


officer evaluation report


Office of Personnel Management


Office of the Secretary of Defense


program coordinator


point of contact


Reserve Officers' Training Corps


Secretary of the Army


Supply and Maintenance Assessment and Review Team


social security number


Tool Improvement Program


United States Army Reserve


United States Army Recruiting Command


United States Military Academy


Value Engineering


wage grade


Adopted good idea

An idea which has been implemented or on which there has been, after formal adoption, official action which guarantees implementation.

Army Ideas for Excellence Program

The program which allows ideas to be submitted in writing or through an accepted automated mode (see Idea Express below). The ideas are intended to contribute to the economy, efficiency, or productivity of Army activities, or other elements of the U.S. Government, or to the morale, level of quality, or extent of service in connection with such activities. The idea can result in a change to a regulation and may be required to be tested as part of the evaluation process.

Cost avoidances

Reduction in identified future requirements for which funding has been requested and programmed in the budget or future year.

Direct-hire civilian

Any employee recruited and hired directly by the Army or other U.S. Government organization. Although the term may be correctly applied to U.S. citizens recruited and hired through usual employment processes, its principal relevance is to the direct recruitment and hiring of local nationals in a host country. (See indirect-hire local national, below.)

Functional proponent

The individual in an office or organization who has principal technical jurisdiction over the subject matter of a good idea, and to whom the idea would most suitably be sent for evaluation. FPs exist at local, MACOM, or HQDA level, as well as in organizations outside the Army.

Hard dollar savings

Dollar or manyear savings obtained from reductions to funds appropriated by the Congress and allocated to the MACOMs and agencies.

Idea Express

The automated system for processing Army good ideas.

Indirect-hire local national

An employee of a host-country government who is assigned to work with the U.S. Forces and for whose services the U.S. Government reimburses the host government. Although the host government is the official employer, operational control of the employee, including day-to-day management, is granted by agreement to the U.S. Forces for which the individual actually works.

Intangible benefits

Those benefits which cannot be measured in dollar terms. Awards based on such benefits must be based on judgment rather than precise facts or calculations.

Job responsibility

Those duties of a particular job which are specifically stated in either the job description or performance standards for civilians, or equivalent documents for military for that job. Phrases in a job description such as "other duties as assigned" should not be used as a basis for concluding that a suggestion falls within job responsibility.

Program coordinator

The individual in an installation, major subordinate command, or MACOM DRM who is designated as directly in charge of the AIEP program.

Proprietary right

The interest held by a suggester in relation to the elements of his or her proposal, and particularly to the central idea contained therein. The suggester acquires such interest at the time of formal entry into the AIEP. It extends for 2 years after the date of final action on the idea. Final action is defined as the date on which the PC in the DRM which initially took in the idea informs the suggester of the result. Proprietary right protects the suggester against the Government arbitrarily using the idea without credit being given and against plagiarism by others.


The individuals who conceive and formally submit an idea.

Tangible benefits

Those benefits which can be measured in dollar terms, usually in relation to the cost of labor, materials, and offsetting costs of putting an adopted idea into effect.

Special Terms

There are no special terms.


This index is organized alphabetically by topic and subtopic within topic. Topics and subtopics are identified by paragraph number.

Abbreviations, 1-3

Annual reports

Submission, 1-4

Appropriated funds

Appropriated funds payment, 7-5

Eligibility for cash awards, 3-2

For purchase of promotional items, 2-2

Army National Guard (ARNG)

Eligibility for cash awards, 3-2

Ineligible participants, 3-3

Army staff

Denial authority, 4-7

Responsibilities of, 1-4

Assistant Secretaries

Responsibilities of, 1-4

Assistant Secretary of the Army (Installations, Logistics, and Environment) (ASA(IL&E))

Denial authority, 4-7

Responsibilities of, 1-4

Authority, 1-5


Award approval authority, 7-10

Awards to deceased suggesters, 7-15

Cash award eligibility, 7-6

Certificate preparation, 7-4

Determination of idea eligibility, 4-8

Eligibility for cash awards, 3-2

Group ideas, 3-6

Ineligible participants, 3-3

Job duties determination, 7-2

Nonmonetary recognition, 2-6

Paid after separation, 7-14

Paid commensurate with usage, 7-7

Payment approval, 7-3

Payment of awards eligibility, 7-1

Prompt payment, 7-9

Awards over $10,000

Procedures for, 7-11

Recommendation for, 1-4


Calculation of, 6-3

Functional proponent options, 5-5

Intangible benefits, 6-2

Job duties determination and award payment, 7-2

Statement of benefits, 3-5

Tangible benefits, 6-1

Validation, 7-12

Commanders of MACOMs, intermediate commands, and installations

Award approval authority, 7-10

Denial authority, 4-7

Payment approval, 7-3

Program promotion and responsibility, 2-2

Responsibilities of, 1-4

Director of Management (DM)

Denial authority, 4-7

Eligibility of other programs decision, 3-9

Responsibilities of, 1-4


Completion time, 5-3

Recommended format, 5-4

Suggester entitlements, 5-1

Functional proponent (FP)

Duties of, 5-2

Options, 5-5

Group Ideas

Eligibility, 3-6

Group idea awards, 7-8


Additional information requests, 4-5

Basic content, 3-5

Contingency processing, 4-4

Decision prerogative, 2-3

Denial authority, 4-7

Disapproval due to regulatory guidance, 2-4

Disposition, 4-1

Duplicate, 3-8

Eligible, 3-4

Eligibility requirement, 3-7

Functional proponent evaluation options, 5-5

Group ideas, 3-6

Immediate adoption, 2-5

Language, 4-6

Preparation, 4-2

Processing, 4-9

Reconsideration requests, 2-8

Testing, 2-6

Idea Express (IDX)

Contingency processing, 4-4

Eligible idea submission, 3-4

Evaluation format, 5-4

Idea eligibility numbering, 4-8

Idea processing, 4-9

Supporting documentation, 3-5

Indirect-hire local nationals

Ineligible participants, 3-3

Job duties determination, 7-2

Nonappropriated fund activities

Ineligible participants, 3-3

Other Services and agencies

Awards paid to, 7-13

Idea forwarding, 4-9

Idea submissions, 2-10

Program administration, 2-1

Program coordinator

Answering suggester inquiries, 4-11

Appointment of, 1-4

Award certificate preparation, 7-4

Determination of idea eligibility, 4-8

Processing duplicate ideas, 3-8

Processing eligible ideas, 3-4

Processing tenant suggestions, 2-9

Promotion and publicity, 2-2

Reconsideration requests, 2-8

Program eligibility, 3-1

Eligibility of other programs, 3-9

Program promotion, 2-2

Responsibility, 2-2

Proprietary rights, 2-7

Reconsideration requests, 2-8

Secretary of Army (SA), responsibilities of, 1-4

Suggester of the year

Oversight, 1-4

Program promotion and publicity, 2-2

Recommendation, 1-4

Tenant submissions, 2-9

Field operating agencies (FOAs), 2-9

Idea processing, 4-9

Reserve Officers' Training Corps, 2-9

United States Army Reserve (USAR), 2-9

United States Army Recruiting Command (USAREC), 2-9

United States Military Academy (USMA), 3-2

United States Army Reserve (USAR) 2-9

Eligibility for cash awards, 3-1

Tenant submissions, 2-9

United States Army Recruiting Command (USREC)

Tenant submissions, 2-9