By Mr. Robert Dimichele (CECOM) Public AffairsDecember 12, 2013
Fort Huachuca, Ariz: Thirty years ago, Brenda Kadet left Indiana, PA, seeking something beyond what was available in her hometown…seeking something more. She found the United States Army. The Army opened up a whole new world and made her a part of "a greater mission" that taught her leadership and gave her responsibilities in doing what she loves…taking care of people.
Brenda currently holds that responsibility as a Command Sergeant Major in a unique workplace that provides world-class information technology for Soldiers, wherever they may be.
The traditional role of the Command Sergeant Major is to take care of Soldiers, often hundreds sometimes thousands of Soldiers. It is the pinnacle of the Non-Commissioned Officer Corps, and one is that vested with responsibilities as an advocate for the requirements and needs of enlisted Soldiers in a command.
But for CSM Brenda Kadet, the role of the Command Sergeant Major in the U.S. Army Information Systems Engineering Command (ISEC) has a unique twist. There are only 21 other Soldier billets in the command and more than 600 civilian employees with unique technical skills.
So, she assessed her role as ISEC CSM to determine the best way to make a positive difference in a command with civilians working technical communications challenges worldwide. She explained, "I had to look at how I could make a difference for the command. What I realized is the position is more similar than I first believed. My job is still focused on taking care of people and making sure our team is able to remain focused on the importance of supporting the warfighter in the field."
ISEC is headquartered at Fort Huachuca, Ariz., but provides systems engineering, installation, integration implementation and evaluation support for communications and information technology systems around the globe. Its missions reach from supporting the stand-up of new, state-of-the-art communications requirements of a four-star headquarters at Fort Bragg, N.C., to the information technology infrastructure support for the Yongsan, Korea, relocation initiative.
"I do exactly what other CSMs do, but for a different kind of team. Working with hundreds of civilians with unique technical skills makes you step back and think a little differently. I don't go down to the motor pool to listen and talk to Soldiers. Instead, I go into the cubicles to find out about the challenges they are facing." Kadet said.
The bottom-line for Kadet is simply taking care of this valuable Army asset, the ISEC workforce. "I'm the proponent for resources that help the workforce succeed and help improve their quality of life," she said. "I'm always watching and listening, looking for the truth behind what really is impacting the workforce, both pros and cons."
Certainly, the past couple of years have been a challenge for Kadet as the civilian workforce has faced hiring freezes, pay freezes and furloughs. "We've had to come up with creative ways to recognize and show appreciation to our employees," she said. One such show of appreciation was a lunch prepared and served by Kadet and ISEC's Soldiers for their civilian workforce after the October furloughs.
"Our DA civilians are critical to everything ISEC does and there wouldn't be an ISEC without them. My goal as ISEC's CSM, therefore, is to ensure our personnel are resourced, motivated, and supported in a manner necessary to provide their unique engineering expertise to improve the communications across posts, camps and stations that will enable the best possible support to the Warfighter that's out there on the ground," she emphasized.
Kadet's experience brings another benefit to ISEC…her NCO network. "My military experience definitely has a big benefit when it comes to networking. Many people that I know hadn't heard of ISEC before I was assigned here. So, I'm reaching out to my peers to share ISEC's story and many successes."
Whether it's bringing resources to bear for new customers, helping resolve issues for deployed civilians or simply working to keep up morale for an under-strength workforce, Kadet fully embraces her job as the "eyes and ears to all of the ISEC team members."
"I am hoping to prove that the Command Sergeant Major is critical member of the team and is truly value-added to a one of a kind organization like this. I'm not just the Commander's advisor for enlisted personnel matters, rather I am a senior leader who advises the Commander on all aspects of his command.