Remarks by Secretary Pete Geren to Army Management Staff College - Jan. 29, 2009
February 3, 2009
Army Management Staff College
Remarks by Secretary Pete Geren
January 29, 2009
Good morning. Col Williams, thank you for your introduction.
LTG Caldwell, other distinguished guests and leaders military and civilian - your presence at this symposium underscores the importance of Army civilians in our Army Family. Thank you for being here this morning.
I also want to recognize the dedicated staff of the Army Management Staff College. Since its inception in 1987, you have taken your mottos from "Building the Total Team" to "Transforming Leaders Through Education" to heart.
As the Army Training and Doctrine Command's lead agent for our Civilian Education System curriculum, you have prepared and instructed over 58,000 Army leaders to assume leadership and management responsibilities throughout the Army- and we are a better Army because of you.
Special recognition also goes to one of the Army Management Staff College's own, Dr. Arthur McMahan. As Director of Educational Services of AMSC, he spearheaded AMSC's accreditation effort, resulting in AMSC's full TRADOC accreditation. He developed the Excellence in Education Award - a new initiative that establishes a partnership with AUSA and gives AMSC visibility as a leading institution for leadership and management education.
This morning, the first ever Excellence in Education Awards were given to the Center for Army Analysis, IMCOM, and AMCOM - in recognition of their progressive career development training and focus on lifelong learning. Congratulations to the award recipients, Dr. McMahan and the team here at the Army Management Staff College!
I also come before you at an exciting time in the life of our Army: later this month, the newly formed Army Civilian University will assume oversight of the Army Management Staff College. This new structure will enable us to better integrate competency-based leader development and education for our Civilian work force. And I am confident that the College will continue to excel under this new framework.
Over the past two days, you have been inspired by motivational speakers, received advice on how to enhance your leadership and management skills, and have been given the tools that will help you succeed in new roles and missions and "navigate new challenges" - the theme for this year's symposium.
This morning, I would like discuss the Army's vision for our Civilian Corps - our vision to create an enterprise-wide system to recruit, train, educate, develop, promote and retain talent in the Army Civilian Corps that aligns the workforce with the Army's goals and missions.
I will highlight several of the initiatives we have implemented, and talk to you about the vital role you play in helping the Army meet its ongoing challenges. After my remarks, I look forward to a dialogue with you and have brought a panel of experts to join me in our discussion.
Today, as each of you can attest, we are asking more of our Civilians than ever before.
We are a nation long at war - an Army long at war - in our 8th year in Afghanistan and in our 7th year in Iraq. We're engaged in the third longest war in our nation's history and the longest war we have fought with an all-volunteer force. And over the course of these 7 years, our Army has transformed itself.
The Army of today looks vastly different than it did in 2001. We've transformed the Army from a division-based structure to modular brigades - the foundation for the expeditionary Army we field today and the most significant reorganization since World War II.
This transformation is only half the equation. The Army is all about people - and that includes our leaders. General Abrams said, "People aren't in the Army, people are the Army." We must have the kind of leaders who can serve effectively in the ever-changing threat environment of this new century. And when the Army talks about leaders, we mean both military and civilian.
Consider the following statistics: Today, approximately 300,000 Army Civilians are on point and serving our Soldiers and our nation. Of that number, 23,000 Army Civilians have been deployed in OEF/OIF - 5 who have given the ultimate sacrifice, and 42 who have been wounded in action.
Army Civilians serve in approximately 540 occupational fields and have responsibilities throughout all levels of our generating force.
From day one in the Army, teamwork and teambuilding are taught as keys to success for any leader. As Civilian leaders, you build teams. You support our Soldiers. You facilitate moving necessary resources from bureaucracy to battlefield - and provide the critical support for our Soldiers and their families at home.
As the recent years have shown us, Army Civilians have stepped up to the plate and supported the Army's modular transformation and increased manpower requirements. You have filled positions in human resources, logistics, property management, infrastructure, transportation and depot maintenance.
This is nothing short of a paradigm shift. When the Global War on Terror began, we didn't anticipate the number of jobs, types of jobs, we would ask our civilians would take on - roles traditionally performed by Soldiers. You have taken over leadership of critical functions throughout the generating force and filled critical skill requirements. And you have met these increased and different requirements with professionalism and skill.
While the Army is recognized as a global leader in developing commissioned and noncommissioned officers, it became apparent that our work in developing civilian leaders had not progressed at the same pace - and did not keep up with the new operational requirements.
Faced with this challenge, the Army moved forward with the implementation of Army Initiative 5 (A-I-5).
A-I-5 called for the acceleration of our Civilian leader development programs to ensure the Army would grow leaders for the future strategic environment. It also required a comprehensive review of current leader development initiatives to highlight areas of improvement.
And we acted on the recommendations. Let me highlight some of the key initiatives we have implemented since 2007.
For each, we've adopted a collaborative approach - an "enterprise" approach that leverages proven best business practices developed in the private sector.
Based on findings which identified a lack of coordination across the Army, we expanded the role of TRADOC to include responsibility for all leadership development across the Army - military and civilian.
Building on the successful model that Army has developed for officers, we began to centrally manage and develop the Senior Executive Service, our civilian equivalent to the General Officer Corps.
The Civilian Fellows Program, open to all Army Civilians, expands leadership development opportunities and enhances our ability to attract and retain highly skilled experts and professionals. It identifies high-potential Civilian employees and provides them with executive experience assignments and educational opportunities. It will help us develop Army civilian leaders who are experts in the business of running the Army and whose management skills complement those of their uniformed counterparts.
We also launched the Army Senior Fellows Program - an open, competitive program for GS-14 and 15 Civilian leaders - to give them diverse assignments and education in a two to three year long program. It is designed to increase their executive skill sets and provide the Army with strong, interchangeable civilian leaders.
We established the Army Civilian University (ACU) as a governing headquarters for schools where a majority of the students are civilians - including AMSC, as I discussed earlier.
The university will enhance central visibility of development opportunities throughout the Army's education system. Although ACU's development is in its early stages, the institution's impact over the long term will be significant for the Army.
Some of the Army's expectations for ACU are to:
Aca,!Ac Develop trained, ready and adaptive Civilian leaders who are strategic thinkers;
Aca,!Ac Prepare leaders to operate across the full spectrum of operations in an environment of persistent engagement and conflict;
Aca,!Ac Create leader development strategies and education systems for more integrated, competency based development systems for Army Civilians; and
Aca,!Ac Assist the Army to develop a clear, positive Civilian identity, while streamlining leader development and providing cross-functional opportunities.
At the heart of ACU's mission to develop our Civilian Corps is the Civilian Education System, or CES. Its curriculum provides progressive, sequential, leader development courses that are founded on the Army Civilian Corps Creed.
The courses are designed to establish the standard for leaders of integrity and character; leaders who are competent decision-makers, and leaders who are professionally educated and dedicated to life-long learning.
The first course in the CES curriculum is for every new member of the Army family. We orient them to the Army's rich heritage - our warrior ethos, our commitment to character and ideals, and our dedication to our men and women who serve in harm's way.
The second course - the CES basic course - is organized to provide our new leaders the tools they need to be successful in their first leadership roles.
The third course is designed for those who become "leaders of leaders" - the mentors of the next generation of Army leaders.
And the fourth course provides our senior leaders the skills they need to execute significant institutional responsibilities within the Army.
This curriculum reinforces the Army's values-based culture and reinforces our common ethos. These values, combined with our culture of developing leaders and building teams - have helped make today's Army the most successful the world has ever known - the best led, best trained and best equipped Army on earth.
The Army's vision for its civilian workforce for today - and for tomorrow - requires individuals who are innovative decisionmakers, and who can operate on asymmetric battlefields.
Our goal is to make our already extraordinary civilian workforce even better equipped to meet future challenges. And by doing so, our Army civilians will be better prepared to lead our Army in support of our troops around the world.
General Cody, former Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, reminded us that our contributions to the fight were not measured by our proximity to the battlefield. Each of you - is critical to the success of the Army's mission.
Civilians like Corps of Engineers Captain Billy Zar who, during Hurricane Gustav's landfall on the Gulf Coast last September, jumped into the Industrial Canal to anchor an unsecured 500 gallon fuel tank, averting a major catastrophy.
Civilians like Stephanie Carter, a Program Manager at Fort Carson. Because of her efforts, a two-megawatt solar array - the largest in the Army - was constructed on a landfill, at no cost to the Army. It reduced landfill restoration costs and generates renewable energy.
Civilians like Toni Graves, who is using her 34 years of Army civil works experience to provide clean drinking water for thousands of Iraqis.
They are Army Civilians - building a stronger Army, building a stronger Nation - saving lives, protecting lives and improving lives.
As our Army performs its missions in this era of persistent conflict and engagement, the Army will continue to rely on the leadership and dedication of our Civilian workforce - we will rely on you.
In the most recent issue of the Joint Forces Quarterly, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mullen, described what he has learned from the Army. He wrote:
"...I have learned that the Army, above all, is a learning organization. From rapid development and adaptation of doctrine, to command organization, to movement of brigade combat teams and modular headquarters, to the way people are promoted, the Army is constantly changing and adapting to meet the challenges of the day."
I share Admiral Mullen's confidence. Yes, we are a learning institution and our Civilian Corps is as resilient and as adaptable as our Soldiers in the field.
Since before our country's birth, Army civilians have performed with selfless dedication and adapted to the currents of change. In fact, in 1775, Army civilians were clerks, skilled tradesmen, craftsmen, physicians and laborers who contributed to our fight for independence.
You are building on that historical legacy today.
Army Civilians take the identical oath of office as do our Army officers... Know that your commitment, roles and contributions are no less essential, no less meaningful to the success of our Army's missions than those performed by those in uniform.
We need your sustained selfless service, commitment to mission and personal courage. And we are committed to providing you the opportunities to continue to be the best in the Federal workforce.
Let me close this morning with the words of one of our Civilian colleagues. Kelly Newell completed the CES Basic Course at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas in the summer of 2007. She reflected on what she took back from the course to her colleagues, the members of her team and her chain of command. One of the changes she implemented was to display the Army Civilian Corps Creed in her workplace because, as she wrote, "[It's] a reminder that the values of duty, loyalty and honor are the ultimate make-up for Soldiers and Civil Servants. Working for the Army is more about the values than the money; it's about being dedicated to the Army and the mission at hand."
To all of you, thank you for your dedication, your selfless service, your commitment. I know you too will take back your enthusiasm and your energy to inspire your teams. You are part of an enduring legacy and on behalf of our Army, you have our gratitude and appreciation.
Now, as we begin our dialogue, I would like to introduce members of the panel I have brought with me:
Aca,!Ac BG (Ret) Jim Warner, CEO of the Army Civilian University;
Aca,!Ac Mr. Raymond Horoho, Director, Civilian Senior Leader Development;
Aca,!Ac Ms. Vicki Brown, Chief Civilian Leader Development Division, G-3;
Aca,!Ac Ms. Elaine Swearigen, Civilian Senior Leader Management Office;
Aca,!Ac Ms. Linda Donaldson, Director, Central Talent Management Office, and
Aca,!Ac Ms. Jennifer Tavares, Chief, Ft. Belvoir's Civilian Personnel Administration Center.