By Lt. Col. Chevelle Thomas, U.S. Army Human Resources Command Public AffairsJuly 28, 2014
FORT KNOX, Ky. (July 18, 2014) -- U.S. Army Human Resources Command hosted Lt. Gen. Frederick B. "Ben" Hodges, commander, North Atlantic Treaty Organization's Allied Land Command to discuss NATO's role in the Army at the Maude Complex July 18, 2014.
Hodges discussed opportunities and current mission requirements with HRC leadership, Assignment Officers and The Adjutant General's staff. The dialogue centered on NATO as a broadening experience, LANDCOM's historical significance and ways HRC provides support to Soldiers in the field.
Broadening Experiences for NCOs and Officers:
Many Soldiers are not aware NATO is considered a broadening assignment.
"Our Headquarters has 350 positions across 24 different nations, 48 are US positions spread across the entire staff. We are all assigned to the NATO Brigade," said Hodges.
HRC is a key part of fielding those positions in order to meet requirements from the alliance and strategic growth of the organization. As the LANDCOM commander spoke with HRC assignment officers and branch managers he wanted to ensure this was clearly understood.
"NATO wants you to help us by ensuring NATO is manned 100 percent to meet U.S. commitments. Manning is essential to the U.S. and NATO Alliance strategy. The NCOs or Officers you send to LANDCOM are the face of the U.S. and I want the best talent that can operate in a multinational environment," said Hodges.
This is not a simple task as the Army is in the midst of a drawdown and HRC is working to meet strength readiness of 490K by FY15, explained Maj. Gen. Richard P. Mustion, commander, U.S. Army HRC. Every leader plays a critical role in shaping the Army, in order to maintain balance and readiness.
"I can tell HRC is working very hard to explain what is going on when you have to call someone and say thank you for your service, even though that individual may have deployed four times…. The Chief's approach is about keeping talent and I am impressed with how well you are doing this," said Hodges.
Broadening assignments are geared toward aptitude. The purpose of broadening assignments is to grow flexible and agile leaders to perform at the strategic level. The desire is to put CPTs and MAJs in these positions so years later the Army will have developed leaders to take complex issues and make them simple, explained Brig. Gen. William K. Gayler, director, Officer Personnel Management Directorate.
These types of assignments center on building breadth in order to expand a leader's capabilities and understanding in a diverse, joint, interagency and multi-national environment. Often time it is more art than science. Therefore, leaders must do two things to assist HRC. They must ensure evaluations identify an individual's strengths and provide recommendations for the best candidates for future broadening experiences. This enables those Soldiers to better develop their operational skill sets and talents, explained Mustion.
LANDCOM located in Izmir, Turkey is a unique organization with a distinct mission and is the only land command for NATO.
"At the Lisbon Summit a few years ago the 28 nations of NATO felt they needed to transform the alliance to modernize it, so it was relevant for the world after the end of the International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan," said Hodges. "It needed to be sustainable and affordable, which meant a reduction in the number of Headquarters. So the alliance cut the number of Headquarters by almost half and the uniforms and civilian forces by more than a third."
In the process of transforming the organization, the overall objective was to ensure NATO remained one of the most successful alliances in the history of the world.
"They strive to maintain land forces capabilities, readiness, and advocacy. Capabilities such as facilities, partners and evaluation standards for training; readiness such as accessible land operations, advisors for strategic contingencies and planning; and advocacy such as doctrine development, lessons learned and an advocate for land issues," said Michelle Cox, U.S. Army NATO Liaison Officer at HRC.
The headquarters was created to ensure all NATO land forces and its Partnership for Peace countries are effective and interoperable.
The Alliance is more interoperable now then it has ever been in its history because of all the work done in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Balkans. NATO must maintain interoperability and all those common standards, procedures and lessons learned, explained Hodges.
Helping Soldiers in the Field:
Traveling over five-thousand miles away, Hodges said he came to HRC "to listen and learn" and to see how he could "help to shape the forces of NATO."
Discussions ranged from how manning is conducted for NATO, advancements in the new officer and NCO evaluation report, changes in Tuition Assistance to the Department of the Army Board process.
One of HRC's main priorities is to man the force and ensure overall readiness of an All-Volunteer Army.
"We manage personnel down to the installation level and provide flexibility to commanders in the field to determine where the needs or requirements will be fielded at the Brigade level," said Mustion.
In order for organizational units to be more effective in the management of personnel, G-1s need to stay engaged with HRC to identify requirements, said Gayler.