By Mr. Franklin Fisher (Red Cloud)June 26, 2013
CAMP RED CLOUD -- The Army in Area I is launching a new training program geared to helping Soldiers and civilians in junior grades develop the knowledge and skills needed to advance up the Army career ladder.
The new effort, by the U.S. Army Garrison Red Cloud and Area I, will be tailored to Soldiers in pay grades E-4 and below and all KATUSAs -- South Korean Soldiers assigned to the U.S. Army; for civilians in the grades GS-9 and below; in the Non-appropriated Fund (NAF) category, NF-3 and below; and for Korean employees in equivalent KGS grades.
The training is set to start in July and represents a major expansion of a professional development initiative the garrison kicked off in May.
At that time, it held a professional development session for more senior Soldiers and civilians, those who typically have supervisory duties -- officers and senior noncommissioned officers and civilians in grades GS-11 and above, NF-4 and above, and equivalent KGS grades.
The training for more senior grades will continue but that for junior grades is set to start July 31st with a half day set aside for instructional sessions at the Gateway Club on Camp Casey.
The sessions are to cover topics aimed at grounding them in the Army's professional standards and giving insight into how to best map an upward career path, garrison officials said.
For junior enlisted Soldiers, topics will include: standards and discipline; Army customs, courtesies and traditions; military expertise; and trust, said Command Sgt. Maj. Michael L. Hatfield, USAG Red Cloud and Area I's senior enlisted leader.
For junior grade civilians, the list of topics to be covered will likely include: leadership; what Department of Defense schooling is available to them as Army civilian employees; what steps they should take if they hope to gain promotion, including the time and grade requirements; and a presentation titled "The Ladder for Civilian Career Progression," garrison officials said.
"So what we're trying to do is prepare them for the future," said Jammie Hawkins, Director of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation with USAG Red Cloud and Area I.
The civilian training sessions will be taught by heads of some of the garrison's directorates and by other senior officials, all of whom will be able to draw on years of first-hand experience that can benefit more junior employees, said Hawkins.
"We're going to discuss everything from career mapping, what kind of schools are available out there, how to prepare yourself in terms of individual development plans, what options do they have in terms of qualifying for positions, what they need to do to prepare themselves for the next position," Hawkins said.
"So if you have ambition, if you are mobile, if you want to move forward, that plan is there and 'here is how you do it,'" said Hawkins.
"I believe many, many employees don't know that plan exists, and that's what we want to show them," he said.
The training for military personnel will be based on content taken directly from the Army's newly-developed professional education program, called "America's Army -- Our Profession."
The program's 2013 teaching plan lists quarterly sessions, as follows: Standards and Discipline, which was scheduled for teaching in the January -- March quarter; Army Customs, Courtesies and Traditions, April -- June; Military Expertise, July -- September; and Trust, October-December.
"Every quarter we're supposed to teach these themes to ingrain it into our Soldiers," said Hatfield.
For clearly explaining to Soldiers the Army's career path for them, officers will teach officers, and the garrison's senior enlisted leaders -- its command sergeants major -- will teach noncommissioned officers and junior enlisted Soldiers, Hatfield said.
"What we're trying to get after on our professional development is…to change the culture, the mindset of the Soldiers, going back to our roots of standards and discipline, customs, courtesies, traditions, military expertise and trust," he said.
Eleven years of continual combat deployments in the post-9/11 era have favored Soldier development and promotability based on performance in combat, an emphasis that has come at the expense of equally important non-combat Soldier knowledge and behavior, Hatfield said.
"Our mid-grades now, they've grown up into the war environment so they don't really know the Army as a profession," he said. "There's a gap there."
The aim, Hatfield said, will be creating "more of a balance, bringing it back to balance, saying 'Hey, this is what we want in a leader.'"
The decision to expand the training to personnel in lower grades came after the year's first session, held May 29 at the Community Activity Center on Camp Casey, which provided training to about 145 of the garrison's employees in more senior grades.
"After we conducted the training," said Hawkins, "we said 'Okay, we're going to work with the lower-graded folks, explain to them, well, as they're growing to become leaders, what do you need to prepare yourself? How do you get from where you are now to the point where you consider yourself a leader?'"
The next training session is scheduled for July 31 at the Gateway Club on Camp Casey. Both levels of training are conducted during normal duty hours, and involve two-way discussion between the audience and instructors, which include members of the garrison's leadership.
Such individual development training is in keeping with the Army's current emphasis on mentoring and otherwise fostering the development of leaders across the rank spectrum -- seniors, subordinates, peers -- and to prepare them to assume greater levels of responsibility, said Freddie L. Giddens, Deputy to the Garrison Commander, USAG Red Cloud and Area I.
In addition, Col. John M. Scott, Commander, USAG Red Cloud and Area I, has directed that the garrison begin -- for now on a test, or pilot, basis -- a program of weekly English-language improvement sessions for Korean members of its workforce.
The language training will focus on overall speaking skill, to include conversational proficiency, and be taught by retired Korean volunteers.
The language classes are slated to start in July on Camp Casey and Camp Red Cloud at a date still to be determined.
Garrison officials will assess the progress of the classes and weigh whether to adopt the program on a longer-term basis.