FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (Army News Service, Jan. 21, 2016) — Warrant officers told Lt. Gen. Robert Brown, commander of the Combined Arms Center, and other senior leaders that it’s hit or miss when it comes to broadening assignments, depending on the branch and command.
The Warrant Officers (WO) Solarium is a significant effort to inform and shape the future direction of the U.S. Army. This effort brings together WOs to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, from January 13 to 15, 2015. Through this initiative, these WOs will identify issues that will have an impact on the Army into the foreseeable future and provide recommendations to the Chief of Staff of the Army. The WOs were welcomed to the Solarium by Brig. Gen. Willard M. Burleson III. TRADOC CG, Gen. David Perkins talked with warrant officers about the importance of adaptive leaders in a complex environment. The WOs finished the Solarium by briefing Combined Arms Center CG, Lt. Gen. Robert B. Brown.
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (Army News Service, Jan. 19, 2016) — Two major problems impact readiness, warrant officers said at the first-ever chief of staff of the Army-sponsored Warrant Officer Solarium, at the Command and General Staff College, Jan. 15.
SAN ANTONIO (Jan. 8, 2016) — During the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, 30 Army ROTC cadets from across the country are serving as cadet marshals, providing leadership and examples of being a team player to the athletes and band members performing at the game this week. Today, the cadets received a little mentoring of their own from cadet command leadership at an officer professional development session.
Maj. Gen. Peggy Combs, commander of U.S. Army Cadet Command and Fort Knox; Brig. Gen. Sean Gainey, cadet command deputy commanding general; and Command Sgt. Maj. Gabriel Arnold, command sergeant major of cadet command, led the professional development, providing guidance and answering questions from the cadets.
Combs fielded various questions from the cadets, with several about the cadet leader course, or CLC, and cadet summer training changes.
“I believe CLC this last year got us one step closer to where we wanted to be,” she said. “We introduced the OTM [observer-trainer-mentor] concept this year, and we did away with lanes. It was more of an immersive scenario. This year, it will be a completely immersive experience from the start.
“Last year, you were in the field for nine days and, this year, it will be 13 days. It will be structured free play, 24/7, much like we do at JRTC [Joint Readiness Training Center] and NTC [National Training Center], it will be an immersive environment with OPFOR [opposing force] that’s dedicated to each company.”
Combs added that not all of the upcoming changes will be physical/training modifications.
“Another change to CLC this year is that we are going to do EQ, emotional quotient/social intelligence testing, so that everyone understands where they’re at as far as their ability to interact interpersonally with others,” she said. “I think leadership, fundamentally, at its very roots, is nothing more than a relationship between the leader and the led. If you can’t relate to one another, how can you motivate and inspire others to commit to a mission if you can’t connect as a person? If you can’t relate to people, you can’t be an effective leader.”
One more change to this upcoming year is plans to give cadets a more hands-on experience as a part of their branch orientation.
“We’re having the branches out there with you, so if you have aviation support and they come in for an air insertion mission, you’ll have that first lieutenant platoon leader there to talk to you about what they do as an aviation officer. What a better environment to learn about them and see them performing their job rather than at a display,” Gainey said.
Combs shared her hopes that all of the new changes to upcoming summer training will further refine the officer producing process.
“We don’t care as much about if you just get the tactics 100 percent right compared to ‘were you able to think on your feet? Did you develop the situation? Did you collaborate with your team, and did you make a decision and move out?’ – because the worst thing can do as a leader is do nothing and not make a decision,” she said. “We want complex problem solving, and we want our young leaders to actually think their way through situations. It’s going to be much more complex this year, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
In its introduction, the Army Human Dimension Strategy 2015 stresses, “In this changing world, the Army must actively seek innovative approaches to leverage its unique strength–its people. Through investment in its human capital, the Army can maintain the decisive edge in the human dimension–the cognitive, physical, and social components of the Army’s trusted professionals and teams.”
The Army Operating Concept 2025 and the Army Functional Concept for Sustainment are designed to strengthen the Army today and into the future. The Army’s Human Dimension Strategy 2015 complements both of these concepts. When viewed holistically, these documents establish the long-range vision for an affordable and sustainable premier fighting force.
The Quartermaster School (QMS) has implemented leader development practices through its Leader and Workforce Development Program, which promotes the growth and sustainment of its leaders and members of its composite workforce. Among these practices are a robust counseling, coaching, and mentorship program, enhanced training and educational opportunities, and a highly effective civilian professional development (CPD) strategy, which was recognized as a best practice during a recent fiscal year 2015 Training and Doctrine Command accreditation assessment.
Effective leader-employee workforce development is a deliberate, continuous, and progressive process, solidified in Army values, that grows Soldiers and Army civilians into competent, committed professional leaders of character. The QMS Leader and Workforce Development Program is based on three key attributes: simplicity, relevance and value added, and achievability and sustainability.
Army Doctrine Publication 7-0, Training Units and Developing Leaders, adamantly conveys that “unit training and leader development are inextricably linked.” An integral part of the QMS charter is to provide basic knowledge and requisite skills to assist with the growth and development of leaders and members of the composite workforce.
While fully realizing that most leader development occurs in operational assignments and through self-development, the QMS has enhanced its Leader and Workforce Development Program through various initiatives. Effective counseling, coaching, and mentorship requires special individuals who are committed to investing in human capital.
The school’s success is attributed to a top-down and bottom-up approach. Effective leaders epitomize and continually promote the role and criticality of effective counseling, coaching, and mentorship. The school has now embedded this into its overall Ready and Resilient Campaign in an effort to better fulfill key tenets of the Army’s Leader Development Strategy 2015 and the complementary Human Dimension Strategy.
CIVILIAN PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
The key features of the QMS CPD strategy are its simplicity and achievability. The strategy promotes a Department of the Army civilian professional career development and progression culture in QMS that ensures civilian members of the workforce are proficient in their job assignments. This strategy contributes to overall mission effectiveness and operational readiness. Furthermore, the strategy embraces the desire to help civilians develop and sustain the requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities that can help them make use of career-enhancing job opportunities.
The QMS CPD strategy has two important parts that directly complement the Army’s Civilian Workforce Transformation program: the QMS CPD Handbook and the QMS Civilian Employee Wellness Program.
QMS CPD HANDBOOK. The Quartermaster School’s CPD Handbook serves as the school’s primary source document to assist its civilian employees with using available opportunities. It provides clear direction on developing knowledge and skills for career development and advancement. It also serves as a guide to assist in developing the knowledge and skills required to meet performance objectives and complete organizational tasks.
QMS CIVILIAN EMPLOYEE WELLNESS PROGRAM. The Civilian Employee Wellness Program helps QMS employees “achieve and sustain professional and personal balance.” It leverages and incorporates key workforce professional growth and development enablers, such as effective mentorship and coaching programs, new employee acculturation and onboarding, physical fitness, and stress management programs.
QMS also conducts a Civilian New Hires Acculturation and Onboarding Program annually. Acculturation is the process through which new employees learn, adjust to, and internalize the Army culture. Onboarding is the strategic process designed to integrate and acclimate new employees into the organization and prepare them to contribute at a desired level as quickly as possible.
The CPD strategy is considered successful if QMS can meet two requirements. First, at least 95 percent of civilian employees must have current, approved, and viable individual development plans that are nested in the Combined Arms Support Command Action Plan and Quartermaster School Action Plan. Second, at least 33 percent of the assigned civilian workforce must conduct at least 80 hours of formal training or education annually.
QMS civilian employees who commit to embracing the QMS CPD strategy will undoubtedly achieve some success. However, that should not keep employees from actively pursuing self-development opportunities throughout their professional civilian careers.
The desired result of the strategy is for the QMS to have civilian professionals with critical thinking skills and functional competencies that enable them to make an immediate impact in support of unified land operations and our nation’s security interests.
The QMS Leader and Workforce Development Program leverages multiple efforts to assist with shaping its human dimension strategy in support of its leaders and workforce at large. Although still evolving, the program is a valuable asset for the Army’s current and future sustainers and helps to ensure that the Army sustains a decisive edge.
Brig. Gen. Ronald Kirklin is the 53rd Quartermaster General and the commandant of the Quartermaster School at Fort Lee, Virginia. He is a graduate of the Army War College.
Marshall J. Jones is the Quartermaster School deputy commandant and senior civilian advisor to the Quartermaster General. He holds a bachelor’s degree in plant and soil science from Virginia State University and a master’s degree in agronomy from the Ohio State University.
This article was published in the January-February 2016 issue of Army Sustainment magazine.
I am a member of the Army Civilian Corps. The Army Civilian Corps was established in 2006, formalizing a 230-year record of service as a critical component of the total Army force structure. Army civilians serve in all theaters and are deployed worldwide in support of the Army mission. As the Army’s missions have evolved and become more complex, so have the roles of Army civilians.
The Army Operating Concept drives how future Army forces operate to accomplish campaign objectives and protect U.S. interests. The vision for the future must drive change to ensure Army forces are prepared to prevent conflict, shape the security environment, and win wars.
Army civilians serve as a vital part of the Army team to support the defense of our nation. We are trusted to make decisions that produce high-quality results by applying technical knowledge and managing human, financial, and information resources, while operating and accomplishing objectives in unknown, unknowable, and constantly changing environments.
DEVELOPING CIVILIANS IS DIFFERENT
A trained and ready Army will always require leaders who are professionals in every way–leaders who exemplify traditional Army values and professional ethics. The Army of the 21st century relies on top quality civilians in professional, technical, and leadership positions to provide continuity of operations and expertise essential to national defense.
The Army’s civilian component and uniformed component operate under different systems of legislation, regulation, and policy. Generally speaking, the uniformed component’s intake, promotions, training, and leader development are mandated, centralized, and structured.
In comparison, civilian talent management decisions to hire, compete for promotion, and seek self-development and leader development opportunities are less structured and more decentralized. They rely on the employee in most cases to take the initiative to seek such opportunities.
The uniformed policy of “up or out” forces Soldiers to get the necessary ticket punches to advance or else they will be passed over for promotion and ultimately released. Civilians, however, can stay in the same position at the same grade level for an indefinite period of time.
So civilians who want to advance and compete for higher level positions of responsibility must take it upon themselves to take advantage of the opportunities provided. To be clear, those opportunities are there, available, and accessible to those who take the initiative to seek them.
Additionally, in today’s Army, many civilians are former and retired Soldiers like I am. They bring 20 or more years of leader development to the table when they are hired, having already benefited from formal uniformed service leader development opportunities, including senior service college.
So, in order for a career civilian to compete on a level playing field, they must seek opportunities, establish a mentor network, and obtain all levels of formal training and developmental opportunities. Civilians seeking to advance must view opportunities as invitations and should “refuse no invitation” in order to remain competitive in the Army market.
CIVILIAN LEADER DEVELOPMENT
The Army’s civilian leader development program is aimed at creating a cohort of Army civilians who are knowledgeable leaders, collaborators, and innovators. The Army has invested significantly in developing the leadership skills of its civilians to provide more professional, capable, and agile civilians who can lead during times of change and uncertainty.
Army civilians are equipped with the values, skills, and mindset to serve as competent, resilient members of the Civilian Corps. Leader development is achieved through a combination of training, education, and experience by way of schooling, assignments, and self-development.
The Army has made great changes in establishing programs to grow civilians into confident, high-functioning leaders capable of decisive action. Training opportunities for civilians can be put into the following categories:
• The Civilian Education System.
• The Senior Enterprise Talent Management (SETM) and Enterprise Talent Management (ETM).
• Career program training.
• Academic degree training.
THE CIVILIAN EDUCATION SYSTEM
The Civilian Education System is the Army’s leader development program for all civilians. It provides progressive and sequential education for civilians at key points throughout their careers. Courses are targeted to individuals in specific grades.
The Foundation Course is required for all interns and new Army civilians; the Basic Course is for GS-01s through GS-09s; the Intermediate Course is for GS-10s through GS-12s; the Advanced Course is for GS-13s through GS-15s; and Continuing Education for Senior Leaders is for GS-14s and GS-15s. Additionally, the Action Officer Development Course and the Manager Development Course are open to all Army employees as self-development opportunities.
SETM AND ETM
The SETM and ETM programs were developed to allow GS-12s through GS-15s and their equivalents to gain professional, senior-level developmental and experiential learning opportunities. SETM and ETM produce civilian leaders who can serve in increasing levels of responsibilities with an enterprise perspective.
SETM (for GS-14s and GS-15s) includes the following programs:
• The Enterprise Placement Program.
• SETM-Temporary Duty.
• Senior service college programs.
• The Defense Senior Leader Development Program.
The Enterprise Placement Program provides permanent placements and details into specially designated, key GS-15 positions. SETM-Temporary Duty is a short-term developmental assignment into a command-nominated project. Senior service college is open to applicants who compete for allocated seats at the Army War College or the Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy.
The Defense Senior Leader Development Program is a two-year program that includes a senior service college, leadership seminars, and a developmental assignment. The Army Senior Civilian Fellowship involves postgraduate study. Mobility and continuation of service agreements are required for most of the SETM programs.
ETM (for GS-12s and GS-13s) includes ETM shadowing assignments, ETM-Temporary Duty, the Command and General Staff Officers’ Course, and the Executive Leadership Development Program, which is a 10-month series of learning and training experiences.
CAREER PROGRAM TRAINING
Career program training is where Army civilians receive their functional or specialty training. The Army has 31 career programs, and every civilian position is coded into one of the programs based on the requirements of the position. Career programs have functional chiefs at the departmental level and a hierarchy of program managers down to the activity level. They offer the technical training required for job proficiency.
ACADEMIC DEGREE TRAINING
Academic degree training opportunities are generally offered through career program channels. All Army employees are eligible except those occupying or seeking to qualify for appointment to an excepted service or senior executive service position. At the time of application, the candidate must have three years of permanent, full-time employment as an Army civilian.
LEADER DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY
The Army Leader Development Strategy, which applies to the four leader cohorts (officers, warrant officers, noncommissioned officers, and civilians), provides guidance and direction for the Army in developing its leaders by laying out the ends, ways, and means to develop competent and committed leaders. As part of the broad strategy, each functional community has the responsibility to develop the tactical and technical competencies of its leaders.
For those working in one of the logistics fields, the Logistics Leader Development Strategy (LLDS), currently under development, will lay the foundation for how to develop agile, innovative logistics leaders who have the requisite leader attributes, tactical and operational skills, and strategic- and enterprise-level proficiency to thrive in the global environment in which the Army serves.
Although functional development and leader development are different for each of the four cohorts, the goal is to provide an overarching strategy that will continually update the LLDS across all cohorts. This will ensure the right developmental opportunities are available and all cohorts are able to adapt to changes in the operational and strategic environments while supporting the Army’s contribution to winning in a complex world.
The value of the strategy for civilians is twofold: to provide an overarching framework for civilian logisticians to view their role, development, and mission, and to provide expanded developmental opportunities for civilian and military members to participate in common training when appropriate. The strategy ensures that learning outcomes and opportunities for civilians are in sync with those of the military cohorts.
Like their uniformed counterparts, civilians must be functionally proficient and technically competent leaders. The Army has established civilian training programs; however, barriers exist that inhibit civilians from taking full advantage of these opportunities.
Unlike much of the required professional military education, civilian leader development is voluntary, is not tied to promotions, and is based on funding. Some leaders are reluctant to approve training outside of the organization because of minimal staffing to meet current mission requirements. Many training opportunities require employees to relocate temporarily or permanently, and some employees are not willing to move for personal or professional reasons.
As leaders, we have to innovate to find ways to overcome barriers even in times of limited budgets and resources. Supervisors should encourage training attendance to foster an environment where employees are deemed more competitive. They should look for ways to establish follow-on assignments that do not require relocation yet can still meet the ever-changing needs of the Army.
Through succession planning, organizations should recruit superior personnel, develop their knowledge, skills, and abilities and prepare them for more challenging positions to ensure personnel are constantly developed to fill needed roles.
Training and developing employees for leadership positions ensures they are agile and adaptive to adjust to ever-changing requirements. The Army is committed to the development of its leaders. The training and development of the Army Civilian Corps is required to sustain a mission-ready Army.
John E. Hall is a member of the Senior Executive Service and is currently the deputy to the commander of the Army’s Combined Arms Support Command and Fort Lee.
This article was published in the January-February 2016 issue of Army Sustainment magazine.
Photo credit: Adam Stoffa, a lawyer with U.S. Army South, explains the legal aspects of the supervisor-civilian employee relationship during a supervisor development course held at the Army South headquarters on Oct. 27 and 28, 2015. (U.S. Army photo)