By Kevin Fleming, ASC Public AffairsNovember 5, 2015
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- About 350 senior and mid-level leaders from the U.S. Army Sustainment Command learned about strategies the Army is taking to maximize personnel potential during the first Commanding General's Leadership Professional Development training event, here, Nov. 4.
Maj. Gen. Kevin O'Connell, commanding general, ASC, has leadership development ranked as one of his top five priorities. O'Connell's priorities are aligned with the Army's Force 2025 and Beyond initiative, which calls for strong Army leadership development during a future of complex environmental, geopolitical and technological changes.
Richard Parker, director, Capabilities Development Integration Directorate, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, served as keynote speaker for the event. Parker talked about the importance of developing what he said is the Army's most effective asset -- its people.
Parker focused on the new Army Human Dimension Strategy, which states: "Through investment in its human capital, the Army can maintain the decisive edge in the human dimension -- the cognitive, physical, and social components of the Army's trusted professionals and teams. With this investment, the Army is capable of developing cohesive teams of trusted professionals that improve and thrive in the ambiguity and chaos of 2025."
The strategy forecasts that, by 2025, other global powers will advance in closing the technology and knowledge gaps between them and the U.S.
According to Parker, uncertainties and other forecasts about an increasingly diverse and complex set of threats underscore the need for the Army to invest more in teaching personnel to be skilled, flexible and innovative.
"We don't know for certain where we're going, and what we are going to have to do when we get there. We have to be ready; ready to be able to move into areas we are not familiar with, create relationships, because we are not going to go alone," he said. "We are going to have to build those relationships and maintain those relationships with people we might not have normally worked with before."
Parker talked about the need to better understand culture and improve personnel management. He said it is important to address generational differences to improve retention of new talent and to create a more inclusive Army culture that encourages diverse ideas.
Parker said the strategy includes individual leadership development, but that the most important part is teamwork development.
"It's about building teams to be successful in a complex world, and that's the heart and soul of this strategy," he said.
In response to audience concerns about a proposed new language requirement in the concept document for the Army's Force 2025 and Beyond initiative, Parker said that exactly how the initiative will be implemented is still largely under discussion.
"The concept document is a collection of ideas that we need to surface, discuss, and then decide whether to implement them or not. This is not a directive, this is not saying that if you don't have a second language you won't be promoted," he said. "It is suggesting that certain jobs should have a second language requirement. Now we have to decide if we agree that's true."
Out of everything discussed, Parker said that he hopes participants realized how important it is to develop teamwork and leadership.
"I hope people will take away the understanding that to build and maintain good relationships, we have to take the time to understand how people think, how people behave, how people relate," he said. "We need to understand our differences and create a better bond."
The CG LPD was divided into two sections for mid-level (GS-12s and GS-13s, E7s and E8s, O3s and CW2s) and senior level leaders. Each section discussed the same content, but the senior level focused more on the proposed structural approaches for implementing the strategy.
The next GC LPD is scheduled for December, and the speaker is slated to be Kim Summers, director, Army Management Staff College.