By Staff Sgt. Michelle Patten, OCSJX-16 PA CellMarch 29, 2016
FORT BLISS, Texas- "Actions speak more than words," Brig. Gen. Michael Hoskin, commanding general of U.S. Army Expeditionary Contracting Commander, reminded the audience before an ethic training session for command teams at Operational Contract Support Joint Exercise 2016.
To facilitate training on ethic this year, the Center for the Army Profession and Ethic's senior enlisted advisor Sgt. Maj. David Stewart conducted seminars for both command teams and the general training audience at OCSJX.
"Though we may be different services we are all having the same conversations about how to do the same thing," Stewart said.
Ethic and profession are complex and ambiguous topics that the seminars made understandable with exercises that tested social norms. While what is right and wrong may sometimes seem apparent it is important that all OCS professionals share the same values.
"Ethics is different for everyone," said U.S. Army Reserve Lt. Col. Renie Bright, commander of the 915th Contracting Support Battalion. "Everyone has their own social norms and values so we need to understand what is expected."
With billions of dollars and the needs of the warfighter at stake, it is vital that Service members and civilians remain focused on being good stewards for the American public.
"We are the ones who spend taxpayer dollars and so it's very important for us to be efficient and effective in our spending and to get the most for our dollar," Bright said.
Training on ethic was one of the first academic elements presented to OCSJX participants, as it will help prepare them for the scenario execution they will be completing later in the exercise.
"I think it's the foundation of everything we're going to be doing here," Bright said. "You cannot give someone a contract warrant if you're questioning their ability to do the right thing."
The ethic training seminar for the general participants focused on critical thinking. This training was also geared toward all OCSJX attendees instead of being career field specific.
"It doesn't matter if you're contracting, finance or another job, everybody here that's participating they're dealing with the public's money so you have to be ethical as a person to make sure you're [acting] in the best interests of the government," said Tech. Sgt. Kevin Shaffer, Air Force Sustainment Center contracting officer. "It doesn't matter what your profession is."
Stewart remarked that the training session for command teams, the current and incoming commanders and senior enlisted of units, was important to teach how they can build the identity of their members. Also, ensuring the command teams received training demonstrated their buy-in for the priority on ethic in their organizations.
"It's important for them to understand the concepts so they can create the right culture and climate that most people actually want to have in their organizations," Stewart said.
Even small, incremental change can make a difference in a unit according to Stewart.
"What I hope comes from both sessions is that I have given people enough to think about that three to five people will go and make a positive change on their organization, and if I've done that then I've been successful," Stewart said. "I think that over time if that happens then we'll start to see change across the military."
Stewart emphasized that anyone can and should start a conversation within their units on ethic.
"This is a leader responsibility," Stewart said. "You can have these same conversations inside your organizations no matter how small it is or how big it is. It is all of our organizations' responsibilities to share our values and beliefs and to help people inside our organization understand our values and beliefs the way they were intended to be done."
OCSJX-16 is a three-week joint exercise funded by the Department of Defense and sponsored by the Director for Logistics, Joint Staff J4. The exercise focuses on supporting the warfighter and uses a U.S. Southern Command scenario of defending the Panama Canal and providing humanitarian assistance.
For more information on ethic and training resources visit CAPE's website: http://cape.army.mil/.