ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Nineteen newly hired U.S. Army Sustainment Command interns and employees began an eight-week training program designed to familiarize them with how the Army and ASC operates, here, Jan. 11-15.

The program, called an intern boot camp, is part of the Army's push to prepare the next generation for leadership.

Gen. Mark Milley, Army chief of staff, said in his first message to the force in August 2015 that developing the Army of the future was one of his foremost priorities. Gen. Dennis Via, commanding general, U.S. Army Materiel Command, and Maj. Gen. Kevin O'Connell, commanding general, ASC, have similar priorities.

"The intern boot camp comes out of an ASC initiative to revitalize the workforce," said Lisa Schuldt, training specialist, G-3/5/7 (Operations). "This is our first rendition of this program."

Schuldt said that new employees and interns should strive to understand the command soon after being hired.

"I think it is very important to give these interns a good basic understanding of [ASC]," said Schuldt. "We want them to learn not only where we began and where we are going, but also about our missions and functions."

The program consists of six weeks of class time and two weeks of intermediate training in the position in which the participants were hired. The classes include briefings from ASC's primary and special staff offices.

Participants also receive an introduction to U.S. military history from George Eaton, command historian, ASC.

During the first week, participants learned about the history of logistics in the Army, the history of the command, the command's mission, and the history of Rock Island Arsenal. Participants were also assigned mentors to help them with career development and leadership.

Eaton led a tour of RIA, which included a trip to Quarters One. Quarters One was the second largest government-owned residence, following the White House, until it was removed from residential classification in 2008 due to maintenance costs.

Col. Lance Koenig, chief of staff, ASC, and Michael Hutchison, deputy to the commander, ASC, welcomed the new hires and kicked-off the program.

Hutchison encouraged the newcomers to ask questions when they do not understand aspects of their jobs. He told them to be innovative about how things are done and to never become stagnant in their careers. He also said they should always strive to accomplish goals and to think critically about how to complete the mission.

"Your reputation precedes you as you go through your career," he said. "You always want to be in a position where people are fighting for you to be on their team."

Koenig shared what he called his top three pieces of advice for new hires: treat everyone with respect, practice positive and inspirational leadership, and work well in teams.

"The organization is much better off with people who will share their competence and raise the level of the team up," he said. "I look for those people, those are the people I want to advance."

T.J. Ukleja, training specialist, G-3/5/7 (Operations), said he thinks it is important for new hires to meet the senior leadership.

"Having both the deputy to the commander and the chief of staff there, both a military and a civilian representative from the command group, was a good experience for [the students]," he said. "I think that is a great way to start the program."