SMA Chandler's Fort Gordon visit spreads message of challenge, change
April 4, 2014
FORT GORDON, Ga. (April 4, 2014)-- Not even a full day after the official publication of Army Regulation 670-1, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III took the stage at Fort Gordon to elaborate on expected changes across the Army and to address Soldiers' questions during a tour of the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence Tuesday and Wednesday.
"How we wear our uniform and how we present ourselves, not only to each other but to the American people we serve, is important," said Chandler. "We've taken a hard look for almost three years to determine what's feasible, affordable, and reasonable to support our profession and to ensure the trust of the American people."
Chandler was able to specifically address concerns about portions of the publications that have been reported in the media.
"There was a lot of research leading to the actual publication of AR 670-1," said Chandler said at one of his town hall meetings here.
In response to a question about tattoos, Chandler said he and his board of directors, comprised of senior non-commissioned officers from across the Army, collected data and discussed proposed changes over the past three years. They also listened to the opinions of Soldiers and leaders across the Army while they deliberated on their collective policy recommendations to the Secretary of the Army.
"I think what's important about Army Regulation 670-1 is that it is a part of an overall strategy called the Army profession, and it is focused on persons of character, commitment and competence," said Chandler. "First, understand your professional responsibility. As a professional your appearance is a part of that responsibility."
Chandler's visit also focused on his priority to encourage Soldiers and leaders to "stand strong" in the face of many challenges the Army faces, including the ongoing drawdown and fiscal restrictions. He said these challenges test the commitment and character of Soldiers and can help build their leadership skills.
"I'll tell you that the most dangerous person in our Army today is a person who is highly competent but lacks character or commitment because they make decisions that are not in line with the policy, the spirit, or the intent of what we are as an Army," said Chandler to students and staff of the Non-commissioned Officer Academy here.
It's with the help of that enforcement of character, commitment and engaged leadership that Chandler hopes to also reduce sexual assault and harassment, hazing, suicides, and criminal acts within the Army.
"The number one thing is trust, trust between Soldiers. That if I come forward to you whether it's sexual assault or anything else that you're not going to chastise me or ridicule me or put me down, but that you're here to help me get better as a Soldier," Chandler told the NCOs about what they could do to assist in the reduction of sexual assault and harassment. He told the audience he knows the Army is making progress here, but he reminded them that there can be no bystanders in these efforts.
The revamping of the NCO education system was another topic of discussion as Chandler and other senior leaders drive on with NCO 2020, including assessing backlogs and establishing a more beneficial system of developing future Army leaders.
A part of developing an enhanced education system is promoting science, technology, engineering and math programs, all of which the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence intends to do.
"I've seen nothing but positive things since I've been at Fort Gordon," said Chandler. "I'm very impressed with the senior leadership and what they are trying to achieve. And to come here to see some young Soldiers doing training and be able to talk to some of them and see their motivation -- I don't think I could ask for much more."