By Command Sgt. Maj. Roy Ward (Fort Leonard Wood)August 13, 2015
Service members, leaders, civilians, Families and teammates:
Below is a perspective from a Fort Leonard Wood paralegal concerning Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel Dailey's initiative to empower young leaders to know and care for those they lead.
This week I culminated my discussions with leaders around Fort Leonard Wood to share diverse views from service members, civilians and leaders before our Leader Professional Development sessions at 1 p.m. Aug. 20 in Baker Theater and 1 p.m. Sept. 2 in Abrams Theater.
Dailey's effort is to identify areas of improvement and implement ways for leaders to enforce standards across the Army Values, the initiative, "Not in My Squad, Not in Our Army: We are Trusted Professionals," pledges to focus on the well-being, safety and dignity of our service members and civilians.
Please read my dialogue with Elizabeth Dye and what "We are Trusted Professionals" means to her.
Dye is a paralegal specialist with the Fort Leonard Wood Legal Assistance Office. Dye has worked as a DA civilian for 12 years, previously working with the Litigation Division as a magistrate court clerk.
Born in Germany, Dye has resided in Missouri since she was 5-weeks old and is a graduate of Plato High School.
She graduated (Cum Laude) from Drury University, earning a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice.
Question: "We Are Trusted Professionals" reminds Army personnel that wherever they are -- at home or abroad -- they represent the American people. We must demonstrate the highest moral and ethical ideals of our nation. What do you think are some of the biggest challenges we face, as an Army, in regard to upholding our values?
Dye: Army Values differ from many cultural, moral and religious values, which most of us learn from our parents and/or upbringing.
The Army Values can be taught, but at times are not followed, because individuals may decide to disregard them.
A person's faith, culture or personal morals may differ or be more significant than what the Army sees as values. Doing what is right 100 percent of the time is a tough standard, but that's what makes the Army's Values so appealing.
As part of the Army team, it's important for us to watch out for one another, and let others know if they do something to violate these values. If I ever did anything to go against the values, I would want someone to take time and talk to me about it -- face-to-face.
So, I try to do this with others, if I ever see something happen, or someone doing something that isn't in line with our Army Values.
Question: You're absolutely right in that we must have each other's backs in regard to making sure we uphold and stand by our Army Values. This is part of being a team. One of the most important components of our team is our Army civilians, who work alongside Soldiers to uphold the Army Values. What recommendations do you have to foster an environment which promotes trust, dignity and respect? What advice do you have for service members who have not had experience working with our civilian corps, or Department of the Army civilians new in our Army?
Dye: I think more integrated training amongst Soldiers and civilians would be beneficial in promoting trust, dignity and respect. Soldiers and civilians are often split up even in mandatory training environments, so we lack cohesion at times.
My advice to service members is to trust your civilians. They are trained and equipped with knowledge and continuity within Army organizations.
Even if a civilian has never put on a uniform (although many have), they are hardworking, held to many of the same standards as uniformed personnel and deserve the same respect service members provide to their peers.
For new DA civilians, my advice is to trust the military and the other experienced civilians.
Individuals may do things differently, but nine times out of 10, it's because it has worked, and it's the most efficient way to do it.
We are all working to ensure the mission is accomplished, no matter if we wear the uniform or civilian clothes.
Question: You said some great things about trust, which is an essential component of this initiative and the cornerstone of our Army profession. Do you have any recommendations to maintain/increase trust?
Dye: Trust is knowing, no matter how big or small the mission is, everyone in the equation will pull through and do their part.
Owning up to mistakes, if they happen, is also important if the mission fails or could've been executed better.
To maintain and increase trust in any organization, you have to know the end goal or desired outcome. If you are unclear in the planning and executing of the task and it fails, so does the trust.
Detailing timelines, goals and following through with every aspect of the plan or task will foster trust.
Constructive criticism and after-action reviews go a long way for future tasks and ensure the mission is always accomplished to its full potential.
Everyone can always improve; not getting feedback (whether positive or negative), overtime, can begin to affect individual and organizational trust.
Question: The initial focus of this initiative is on the prevention of sexual assault and harassment, bullying, hazing and substance abuse. What advice do you have for other service members and civilians in battling these challenges to mission readiness?
Dye: Use the resources available: Legal, ACS, chaplains, victim advocates and mental health. There are many trained individuals who are passionate and dedicated to this initiative. These people genuinely care about victims and getting them the assistance needed to cope with being victimized by (often times) someone among their own ranks.
Question: I'm glad you mention the many outstanding services available to our service members to assist them with some of these potentially life-altering challenges. This initiative empowers Army leaders to uphold standards of conduct and professionalism to proactively prevent acts of indiscipline. What are your thoughts on this? How do we, as a part of the Army team, empower our leaders to enforce standards while maintaining the balance of caring for Soldiers?
Dye: This initiative has come a long way, since I began working for the Army 12 years ago.
I believe our senior leaders are doing the best they can with more training, seminars and overall awareness that sexual assault is real and happens more than we'd like to admit.
Sexual assault will never be eliminated (this is hard for the Army and individuals to swallow), but if the number of sexual assault incidents begins to decline due to awareness and/or harsher punishments through the military justice system, then we are doing our job.
Sexual assault is not just a problem in the Army; high schools (quite possibly even middle schools), college campuses and other organizations in the private sector also deal with sexual assault.
They are just better at keeping their numbers and statistics hidden from the public.
Leaders enforce standards by bringing awareness to their Soldiers. If a Soldier commits any act that is toxic to the mission, they should be punished.
Leaders are setting the example to victims and other Soldiers when they punish the wrong-doers. These incidents take time away from the normal operation of an organization.
Leaders are doing an excellent job of caring for their Soldiers by focusing on sexual assault prevention and proper punishments for those who violate the Uniformed Code of Military Justice.
Enforcing the UCMJ has always been a standard that leaders have been in charge of, and I believe they will continue to uphold those duties as our Army evolves.
(Editor's note: Ward is the Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood command sergeant major.)