Civilian Workforce Transformation: Enterprise management of the Army civilian corps
July 10, 2013
At the Association of the U.S. Army 2010 annual meeting and exposition, Under Secretary of the Army Joseph W. Westphal announced the Civilian Workforce Transformation (CWT) initiative, which is designed to change how the Army hires, trains, develops, and sustains its civilian workforce.
The purpose of CWT, as announced, was to create an enterprise approach to how the Army manages its civilian corps based on the long established, highly effective, centrally managed and resourced leader and professional development model that is used by the uniformed force.
CWT is the result of a number of efforts over the past 10 years designed to ensure that Army civilians have the necessary skills to accomplish their missions. As CWT integrator Scott Rowell has said, "The Army faces a period of monumental change and now, as never before, the Army is calling upon its civilian corps to assume greater levels of responsibility and accountability."
The Army civilian corps makes up about 23 percent of the total Army force, encompassing more than 300,000 professionals serving in almost 500 unique job series both in the United States and around the world. Of these employees, more than 25,000 have been deployed in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2004 and almost 3,000 are currently deployed to Southwest Asia.
In the past decade, the roles of civilians have increased significantly, not only in technical, professional, and support areas but also in the number and levels of leadership roles. Despite the reliance placed on Army civilians, the Army historically has not viewed the development of civilians in an integrated or enterprise manner. To a great degree, civilians have been expected to come to their jobs with the requisite skills.
Compare this situation to that of Soldiers. From the time a Soldier (enlisted or officer) enters the Army, he knows that both his technical skills and his leadership skills will be developed. The Army has made a commitment to do this and seriously invests in training and education with the end result being that our Soldiers are the best in the world. If the role of the civilian corps is equally critical to the success of the Army Total Force, civilian development also demands focus, structure, and resources.
THE INTENT OF CWT
The mandates for CWT include hiring the right people, managing the entire workforce within career programs (CPs), meeting civilian workforce training and development goals, and providing a pathway for professionally developed civilians to meet the Army's needs of today and tomorrow.
The CWT initiative will also develop and deploy competency-based education and training systems to cultivate general schedule (GS), wage grade, and senior executive service talent to ensure planned succession in critical positions. This initiative has the full support of the Secretary of the Army, the Under Secretary of the Army, and senior leaders throughout the Army.
The Army Deputy Chief of Staff, G-1 (personnel), is responsible for bringing the CWT program to fruition and for leading the effort to establish a competency-based civilian management system. The Deputy Chief of Staff of the Army G-3/5/7 (operations, plans, and training) is leading the effort for the Civilian Training, Education, and Development Program.
The Training and Doctrine Command is ensuring that the civilian portion of the Army Leader Development Model is developed in sync with CWT. Commands at all levels are responsible for reviewing position descriptions and making assignments of positions to individual CPs.
The functional chiefs (FCs) and their representatives (FCRs) who are responsible for leading CPs have been given a greater role in strategic human capital planning. With the establishment of new CPs, new FCs and FCRs are being named and educated on their responsibilities for their programs. CP offices are currently developing career maps and training plans for all series for which they are responsible.
Two years have brought great progress to the CWT initiative, which now benefits from greater coordination and ease of administration.
CPs. A memorandum dated Jan. 26, 2012, that provided a CWT update to civilian careerists high-lighted the successes of the first year, which focused on establishing the infrastructure for CWT. Existing CPs were reviewed and eight new programs were added to the list to support the wide array of civilian positions in the Army. (See figure 1.)
Position descriptions for all Army civilians were reviewed to determine in which CPs the careerists best fit. As a result of the update, some assignments to programs are still being fine-tuned. The FCs and FCRs have taken on their new or expanded roles. The Army validated the manpower requirements for this mission with additional positions expected in fiscal year 2014. In the meantime, a contract supported bridging strategy was established for fiscal years 2012 and 2013.
ARMY SENIOR ENTERPRISE TALENT MANAGEMENT. Another result of CWT is the Army Senior Enterprise Talent Management (SETM) initiative, which was established by the Secretary of the Army in March 2012 and is administered by Assistant Secretary of the Army (Manpower and Reserve Affairs) and the Civilian Senior Leader Management Office. The SETM's purpose is to provide for a more coordinated management plan to prepare senior civilians at the GS-14 and GS-15 levels to assume duty positions of the greatest responsibility across the department.
Selection for SETM is linked to a careerist's past and present duty performance, potential for leadership and career progression, and the needs of the Army. SETM candidates should be the best of the best. Currently, the SETM program has four developmental pathways available to GS-14 and GS-15 leaders. Detailed information about the SETM program is available at https://www.csldo.army.mil/index.aspx.
CIVILIAN STUDENT TRAINING ACCOUNT. Another result of CWT is the civilian student training account for funding civilians' attendance at senior service colleges. The account mirrors the central account for military attending such training. This alleviates the burden on commands to pay salaries while senior civilians attend senior service colleges and allows immediate backfills for vacant positions.
ARMY CAREER TRACKER. The web-based Army Career Tracker (ACT) was expanded to incorporate civilian careerists in all CPs. ACT allows both Soldiers and civilians to use a single website aligned by cohort for information on their individual careers, education, and training, gathered from up to 14 separate Army databases.
For civilians, ACT is a source of information on career plans for job series within each CP. It also provides a means of communication between program leaders and civilians since every CP has an individual landing page similar to those for each military occupational specialty.
PROGRAM ASSESSMENTS. The Army CWT Report for 2012 describes the program's continuing progress, which is resulting in more responsive and flexible civilian professional development, better management of the Army's civilian workforce from an enterprise perspective, and the development of more capable civilians who are well grounded as leaders and technically proficient to meet the mission.
Army Civilian Training Education and Development System (ACTEDS) plans and workforce assessments have been conducted for all 31 CPs. All Army civilians are now assigned to one of the 31 CPs, which have 488 career maps to cover the entire GS workforce. Plans for developing wage grade series career maps are in the works. An additional 86 CP support positions were validated in order to manage professional development.
WAY AHEAD. A major initiative for CWT and its logisticians will focus on how CWT support for wage grade employees can best be achieved. The Civilian Logistics Career Management Office (CLCMO), located at Fort Lee, Va., is involved in a wage grade series pilot program to develop logistics wage grade career maps and career path templates that will be tied to competencies.
The goal is to provide wage grade employees with opportunities similar to those provided to GS employees. Eventually, CWT will ensure that all CPs achieve full operating capability and continue to develop and integrate competencies in the design and development of training, education, and professional development.
SUPPORT FOR CIVILIAN LOGISTICIANS
Almost 64,000 Army careerists, or 22 percent of the Army civilian workforce, are logisticians. Four CPs support the civilian logistics workforce: supply management (CP-13) with 22,439 careerists, materiel maintenance management (CP-17) with 31,521, transportation and distribution management (CP-24) with 6,984, and ammunition management (CP-33) with 2,628.
CLCMO provides central management of the first three programs, and the CP-33 Career Management Office located at the Joint Ammunition Center at McAlester, Okla., services ammunition management careerists.
CLCMO centrally manages the ACTEDS Intern Program for logisticians as well as centrally supported professional development opportunities. Logistics careerists are encouraged to avail themselves of the opportunities offered through these programs as they continue their lifelong learning and professional development.
Civilians should stay abreast of the progress in CWT by visiting the website at www.cwt.army.mil. CWT will provide road maps for success with training and developmental opportunities to assist careerists in achieving career goals, but they must take advantage of them.
Civilians should also visit the Civilian Training and Leader Development website at www.civiliantraining.army.mil for news on how the Army provides training, education, and operational experiences to develop leader competencies and enhance the functional and technical capabilities of the Army civilian corps.
The ACT website, www.actnow.army.mil, outlines opportunities shown on the logistics career landing pages. Civilians should work with their supervisors and CP office staffs to pursue these opportunities.
As Secretary of the Army John McHugh charges, "I hold each Army Civilian accountable for mapping and navigating a progressive program of self-development. Commanders, supervisors, and managers share responsibility for enabling Army Civilian employees to reach their full potential."
Barbara G. Mroczkowski is the director of the Civilian Logistics Career Management Office. She is responsible for career management for more than 60,000 Army civilian logisticians in supply, materiel maintenance management, and transportation and distribution management and for developing human capital strategy policy for civilian logisticians. She centrally executes the Department of the Army Civilian Training, Education and Development System Intern Program for logisticians as well as the Competitive Professional Development Program for civilian logisticians.
This article was published in the July-September 2013 issue of Army Sustainment magazine.