HRC Visits Troops in Kuwait
December 3, 2010
By Natalie Cole
- Army career management
CAMP ARIFJAN, Kuwait - A team from the Army Human Resources Command paid a visit to logisticians on Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, Dec. 3., to discuss logistics-specific assignment opportunities, promotion preparation, and professional development.
Maj. Nathan Swartz, Capt. Joe Contreras and Sgt. 1st Class John Erickson travelled from Fort Rilley, Kan., to lead seminars for officers and noncommissioned officers in the 1st Theater Sustainment Command and the 1st Sustainment Brigade. The Soldiers on the HRC team are part of the staff that reviews personnel records and uses the data to make assignment choices - responsibilities that influence the careers and relocations of Soldiers.
During the seminars, the HRC team shared the many factors branch managers consider when they make selections for officer and NCO positions. Contreras, who specializes in assignments for Captains and below, said the factors include needs of the Army, skills and education, past performance, experience, and personal preferences. "We try to get the right officer to the right job," he said.
The HRC team also gave specific tips for career progression. Swartz, who specializes in assignments for Majors and above, encouraged officers to seek opportunities to broaden their experiences; he emphasized that those with skills that augment their core training are typically selected to move up the ranks.
Additionally, Swartz encouraged officers to develop a five-year career plan and share it with their branch manager. Swartz said officers and NCOs need to ensure their personal and professional records are accurate and complete. For example, he said Soldiers who indicate in their records that they have a Master's Degree need to upload their transcripts into their file.
The HRC team also gave specific examples related to positive and negative trends in professional evaluation writing. Each year, NCOs and officers receive an evaluation of their performance and accomplishments. Well-written and accurate professional evaluations are critical when competing for assignments and promotions. Swartz's advice on evaluation writing was clear: "get to the point and to it quick," he said, adding that evaluations should convey the rated Soldier's potential and performance in a concise manner specific to the individual.
Finally, because of the many factors at play in Army HR, Swartz emphasized the need for mentorship in the officer ranks. "There's somebody out there you can seek guidance from," he said, adding that both senior officers and peers can be sources of support. "Your peer can be a mentor, too - somebody you can bounce ideas off of."
As part of its visit, the HRC team held open question-and-answer sessions and round table discussions. Erickson, who said for him his work with HRC is all about helping Soldiers, led meetings for both senior and junior enlisted personnel. The team's visit is part o the 1st TSC's initiatives to inform and empower the logisticians in its ranks about career progression and opportunities in the Army.