AMC redesigns staff elements at headquarters
June 24, 2010
By Diana Dawa
FORT BELVOIR, Va. -- The Army Materiel Command has reorganized and streamlined certain staff elements in the headquarters to better position itself in preparation for its move to Huntsville, Ala. in July 2011.
According to the Executive Director to the Commanding General, Teresa Gerton, under the headquarters AMC redesign, the Deputy Chief of Staff G-3/5 Support Operations Directorate will be aligned under the DCS G-4/7/9, and the DCS G-3/5 Enterprise Integration Directorate will align under the DCS CIO/G-6. Additionally, the command leadership will continue to review functions and capabilities to find gaps and better organize staff and structure realignments.
The HQ AMC redesign was declared Initial Operational Capability (IOC) on May 1. Gerton stated the headquarters staff would have about five months to work out the kinks until the redesign goes to Full Operational Capability in October, which is when the headquarters will start to operate under the new alignment.
Gerton led the AMC senior staff in the identification of alternatives and development of the way ahead for the staff reorganization. She directed the staff to look at this effort in a new way.
"A lot of times you see these kinds of efforts begin at the AO [Action Officer] level and bubble up. We did this one in reverse," said Gerton. "We pulled all the staff principals together and said, "Ok, look at yourselves from a senior leader perspective. Do you like the way the AMC staff is organized' If not - what do you see that we could do differently'""
Gerton said sometimes when you start from the bottom up; you have many people with very good ideas who are just squashed by the status quo. "We wanted to come at this from the top so our senior leaders would know that this was their opportunity to make changes and that the organization is vested in the change," she said, adding, "We could then drive it down knowing the senior leaders have bought into it, instead of having to try to sell it all the way up - it's a very different dynamic."
The process of moving AMC headquarters to Huntsville, said Gerton, was viewed as an opportunity -- given the high volume of personnel transitions - to look at the command and ask if there is something more to be done to reorganize to better accomplish the mission.
"Knowing that we were going to be changing out a big chunk of our workforce already as a result of the BRAC move, we took the opportunity to say, ok, if we looked at ourselves -- the way we are organized -- are we best organized to accomplish the set of missions we see today and in the near future' And the answer was no, and the answer is no for a couple of reasons that get back to the whole point of constantly reorganizing," said Gerton.
Over the past several years as new functional commands were stood up within AMC, part of that bill was paid with people from the AMC headquarters. "For example, when we stood up RDE (Research, Development and Engineering) Command, we staffed a good portion of their headquarters with the R&D expertise that was resident in the AMC staff. We gave that competency from the staff to the subordinate command. We did the same thing when we stood up ACC (Army Contracting Command). We used a good portion of the HQ's AMC contracting competency to staff the ACC," she said.
While it was important to get those commands up and running, it left AMC headquarters with functional holes, said Gerton. "The behavior that that engenders is not bad on anyone's part, but by having a vacuum in a capacity on the staff, it encourages people who need that capacity to go directly to the units and so the headquarters staff does not have situational awareness. We needed to address that issue."
Another thing that drove the consideration of a rebalancing of the staff was over the last eight to ten years the focus was on current operations and the tactical side of what AMC does. That mission had grown and grown. With the establishment of the Army Sustainment Command and the focus on the war fight, what had happened was the G-3/5 had gotten huge, said Gerton. In fact, nearly half the headquarters staff was organized under the G-3/5.
"We had the G-1 with about 80 people, the G-8 with about 120, the G-2 with a handful, the G-4/7/9 with less than 100. The G-6 had a pretty good portion, but the G-3/5 had over 500 people. So when you look at the staff as a span of control issue, and as a workflow issue, what we were finding was 90 percent of the taskers on the staff were going to the G-3/5," said Gerton. "From a span of control assessment, we asked, "Is that really the best way to run the staff' Or, are there competencies across our staffs that could be reorganized in such a way that it makes us easier to understand both to the people above us and the people below us'""
Gerton explained the other big opportunity that was discovered had to do with the G-4/7/9, which will be shortened to become the G-4, and the support operations piece of the G-3/5. She said part of the reason for pulling those pieces together was because when you looked at the Department of the Army G-4 staff, those pieces are together.
"It was somewhat confusing for the DA staff to know where to go here (HQ AMC), because, first, when the DA G-8 has a question about depots they go to the DA G4. They couldn't understand why they came to the G-3 in HQs AMC, and then the DA G-4 would like to come to the G-4 in AMC but some of those functions were in the [G-]3, and some were in the [G-]4, so it was kind of confusing for our echelons above us."
The other place where we saw opportunity was on the support operation side. They deal with the production capability of the industrial base - they have industrial base planners, supply chain planners and they understand the workload in the facilities, said Gerton. On the G-4 side, we had the facilities engineers, the industrial base policy, engineering functions, and again we had them in two separate chains. The goal is to work smarter by integrating people more closely than they were in those separate sections.
"This reorganization makes a lot of sense to a lot of folks who have looked at it, so I'm optimistic about the program's chance for success," said Gerton. "We're doing this because we want to make sure that when we land in Huntsville, Ala., we are best positioned to support our customers, respond to our higher headquarters, and involve as many people on the AMC staff in the delivery of our products as we can."
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