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Army Civilian University (ACU)

What is it?
The ACU is a new education structure staffed by 21 professionals and headquartered at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. The ACU mission is to enhance the effectiveness of the functional and leadership training and education opportunities provided for Department of the Army (DA) Civilians. The Army’s Civilian Education System (CES) provides the current baseline of Army Civilian leadership training and is composed of five courses offered concurrently at the Fort Belvoir and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas campuses.

What has the Army Done?
On July 11, 2008, the Secretary and the Army Chief of Staff of the Army chartered the standup of the ACU—initially as an element of the Headquarters, Department of the Army (HQDA) and ultimately as a subordinate element of The United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) with full responsibility for Army Civilian functional and leadership training. An initial concept plan and Program Objective Memorandum submission have been approved and are currently being implemented.

From the outset, ACU has focused on improving the effectiveness of DA Civilian training and education. The ACU President has established governance forums for each aspect of the DA Civilian training and education. Specifically, there is a forum focused on ACU President and Commandant issues, and separate forums for academic computing issues, and a separate forum for registrar issues. These forums have already been instrumental in identifying significant systemic challenges such as those associated with distributed learning and course attendance. Initial analysis of which indicated some “quick fixes” available by changing internal policies.

Additionally, in keeping with the ACU overarching responsibility for DA Civilian training and education, the ACU is facilitating the establishment of a standing council of Army Senior Executive Service (SES) executives specifically focused on ensuring timely and applicable continuing education for the SES Corps. Continuing senior executive education is required by law and is similar to the executive level education provided for general officers. Unfortunately, a robust structured fulfillment of the SES requirement has lagged behind that provided for general officers. This SES council will help ensure consistent implementation across the two cohorts.

What continuing efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
In the near-term, the ACU is focused on resolving issues that inhibit DA Civilian education from providing consistent high-quality training opportunities, for example, ACU will continue its role as a primary stimulus to resolve systemic difficulties associated with the use of distributed learning. While the ACU is focusing on improving the use of distributed learning for Civilian education, the solution will actually benefit both military and Civilian training.

Long-term, the ACU will work closely with the Combined Arms Center (CAC) Leadership Development and Education organization to ensure that Civilian and military leadership training and curricula are complementary, additionally, ACU will ensure that Civilian leadership training is timely and relevant based on Army missions in the current global environment.

Achieving long-term goals requires that the ACU conduct in-depth reviews of the content and methodologies used in the various DA Civilian education and training programs. Doing so will necessitate a future-oriented perspective on the Army’s requirements for Civilians, a standard means of measuring conformance with that perspective, and an appropriately egalitarian structure for governing the fulfillment of the requirements.

Although the ACU President will report to the Commanding General of CAC, the ACU is located at Fort Belvoir; where a number of Civilian schools are already located. The ACU will incrementally integrate other schools in order to complement ongoing Civilian development initiatives approved in the Army Leader Development Program. Ultimately, the ACU will synchronize and enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of all TRADOC and non-TRADOC Civilian educational institutions.

Why is this important to the Army?
The ACU will prepare DA Civilians for new demands and fully engage the Army in meeting the objectives of the President’s Management Agenda and the Department of Defense Civilian Human Capital Strategic Plan 2006-2010. One of the ACU’s major responsibilities is providing training oversight that ensures all Civilian training not only produce skills for local missions but also develops the skills needed to support the Army at all levels.

 
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