TRADOC knowledge management victories part of bigger picture
August 20, 2009
FORT MONROE, Va. (Aug. 20, 2009) - Imagine trying to fight a war as a leader when your intelligence assets don\'t share what they gather, possibly leading to a catastrophic event. Thus the importance of Army Knowledge Management efforts, which synchronize and share individual insights and experiences to create knowledge, and in which U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command leads the way.
In fact, several TRADOC employees and teams were recognized today for their outstanding contributions to AKM. The awards were presented at the first KM awards ceremony, held at the LandWarNet Conference, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
TRADOC winners were represented in three categories: people, process and technology. The three categories define the 12 Army KM principles approved and signed in July 2008 by Secretary of the Army Pete Geren and Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George Casey.
Mike Gradoz and Warren Childs won one of the "people" category awards. Their project created a manual called "An introduction to knowledge management for today's Soldier". The booklet mapped out the KM process in everyday situations and even included notes on KM etiquette.
"The manual engages Soldiers in thoughtful reflection of knowledge as an organizational asset rather than a personal asset," said Gradoz. "When organizations learn and implement the principles of KM, knowledge superiority will become clearly evident on the battlefield."
Other TRADOC KM award winners included Jim Bradley, also in the "people" category; James Ritter and Austin Pearson in the "technology" category; and, in the "process" category, the TRADOC KM "brain trust," which includes not only the representatives of Headquarters TRADOC but also the command's major subordinate organizations and centers of excellence.
Bradley served as lead for the TRADOC KM and information-management study and, as a result, the architect for the TRADOC KM strategy's underpinnings. The study revealed a specific need for TRADOC to adopt a robust KM system and plan. Bradley led the study team, which included coordination from roughly 50 organizations and the approval of TRADOC senior leaders.
Tom Light and Pat Conway, who accepted the award on behalf of the brain trust at the LandWarNet Conference, proactively participated in the brain trust/TRADOC KM council, which enhanced and consolidated KM processes for the centers of excellence, major subordinate organizations and field operating agencies.
"[The brain trust] set the course for implementing the TRADOC Campaign Plan," said Light.
"[TRADOC's KM plan] is not a HQ TRADOC plan, but it's an MSOs and CoEs document with their input," Bradley reflected. "This is not our plan. We vetted it through the MSOs and CoEs and codified it in the TRADOC Campaign Plan as a truly joint effort."
The ranges of TRADOC's projects are not limited to the winners' organizations. For example, "An introduction to knowledge management for today's Soldier" is already in its second edition and has been disseminated throughout the Army. "The manual is being used beyond the Army as a model for the federal, interagency KM community," said Gradoz.
Joe Oebbecke, TRADOC chief knowledge officer, sees the winning projects ushering in changes for TRADOC. "We're working with the people to change the people, to change the culture to make it more sharing [and] collaborative," he said. TRADOC, which has centers and schools spread all over the nation, had run into the challenges with ensuring information is shared through the command. The TRADOC KM office works to manage the information that its employees handle every day.
While KM may seem like a simple concept, practicing it within an organization as large as the Army requires resources and manpower. Streamlining the processes and consolidating information repositories to make information more accessible to the warfighter is a key theme and challenge addressed in the TRADOC Campaign Plan.
In the diverse nature of the winners lies a common thread.
"Applications that took an enterprise approach were ranked higher than those that were narrowly command- or Army-organization-specific focused," said Dr. Robert Nielson, KM adviser for the Army Chief Information Office/G-6, which sponsors the KM awards.
"The Army is aligning its reward structure with its priorities," Nielson explained. "KM is one of Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Sorenson's [the Army CIO/G-6] top 12 priorities in support of the Army Campaign Plan and [the plan's] efforts in the national-security arena."
"People have been [managing knowledge] all along, but not in the context or the understanding - the framework - that we've laid out to them," Oebbecke summarized. "Doing so requires a process, requires that exchange of information and knowledge - a total process. The real power behind KM is sharing, collaboration [and] exchange, and that's what these awards are proving."