Aberdeen Proving Ground is unique in the Army. As far as installations go, APG is large. We have more than 144 miles of Chesapeake Bay coastline along the base. But it's not just unique because it's large. We're unique because of our people.

People are what make the difference. This is also part of my personal philosophy that has served me well in my 40 years in uniform.

To set things in perspective, "People first, mission always."

As the commander of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, I have set in motion an imperative. We call it the "5 P's" for short. That stands for people, places, purse, processes and products. It's a way of looking at our mission and keeping us centered on what's important.

I believe in the 5 P's, and I want to share them with you because you may find them useful in your organization.

Over the next five weeks, I want to go into detail on this way of thinking. Today, I want to talk about people.

Many of you remember the Army of the 1970s. It was a challenging time to be a Soldier. The military was recovering from Vietnam, and we were moving from a draft-time Army to an all-volunteer force. What brought us out of those dark days was a focus on people.

In the 1980s, the Army introduced the Noncommissioned Officer Education System. For the first time ever, young sergeants were getting a valuable education. Our NCOs went from being foremen to having the same education that we gave our officer corps. They understood levels of technical competence in their own specialty, in their own skill set. They started learning leadership and the strategic nature of the Army's purpose.

It dramatically changed the Army.

We're doing the same thing today with Army Civilians. We want our workforce to become multi-skilled, agile leaders of the 21st Century.

So, it's about workforce development. Leaders at every level need to recognize the benefits that come with a highly educated and motivated workforce.

As APG continues to grow, we have a responsibility to make sure no one falls through the crack. If someone is new, make sure they have a sponsor. Sponsorship is something we should all take seriously. That sponsor has the responsibility to introduce the installation and the area to the new employee.

You know what they say about first impressions. It's true.

If our focus is on people first, we need to put more effort into recruiting, retaining and educating our workforce. Folks, this is easy. If you've been following our social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, you've been seeing a wide variety of jobs available at Aberdeen Proving Ground.
That's recruiting. But we also need to be proactive in matching the right person with the right job. Hiring officials need to be asking the right questions. Leaders need to be making the right choices.

Once we have a quality employee onboard what are we doing to keep them around'

Providing ample educational opportunities is part of the answer. Good leadership, not just management, that's another step in the right direction. But quite honestly, I believe there is more to it than that.

In order for people to truly feel like their job is a perfect fit depends on three things. Ask yourself these questions. Is what you do challenging' Is it rewarding' And finally is it exciting'

A reward doesn't just mean money. Sure, it's nice to be able to pay the bills. But think for a minute how what you do supports our Soldiers, our Warfighters.

All of us at Aberdeen Proving Ground play a role in supporting our troops. We all are in some small way making America safer.

That in itself is rewarding and exciting. I encourage you to make your job more challenging. It's kind of like lifting weights. You'll never get any stronger unless you push yourself to lift more. You can make your job more challenging by pushing yourself.

Finally, consider this, I don't want the best players from every team in the country. What I want is the best team in the country. All of us at Aberdeen Proving Ground have the potential to be members of that team. Let's work together toward that goal. Army Strong!

Page last updated Thu October 14th, 2010 at 00:00