VICENZA, Italy -- The Commander and Command Sergeant Major of Human Resources Command, Maj. Gen. Thomas Seamands and Command Sgt. Maj. Wardell Jefferson, discussed professional development, current manning initiatives and strategic impact with Vicenza Military Community leaders, Monday during a tour of military installations throughout Europe, known as the HRC Road Show.
The tour served as an opportunity for Seamands and Jefferson to get face-time with Service members and feedback on changes being made as the Army transforms to a smaller, yet highly skilled and multitalented force.
"It allows me to tell the Soldiers and commanders out there what is going on in the Army, such as the drawdown, promotions, etcetera, and to inform them of the big picture of what is happening. On a personal level I get unvarnished feedback from commanders, Soldiers and leaders from across the formation, which allows me to sharpen, refine and do my job better," said Seamands. "Being able to talk first-hand to those people who are living with the policies, and to get that kind of feedback, helps me and my command at Human Resources Command at Fort Knox, Ky. do our job."
Seamands said the information gained from the tour is important and critical in achieving Army Chief of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley's number one priority of soldier readiness.
"HRC's mission really nests nicely into that [priority]; getting the right solider in the right place at the right time builds readiness," Seamands said.
Seamands and Jefferson divided their time between enlisted and commissioned Service members and then culminated their visit with an executive brief, specifically for leaders in command positions.
The two held simultaneous professional development briefings to maximize their time and exposure among the Service members. Seamands briefed commissioned officers at the Caserma Ederle Reel Time Theater and Jefferson briefed noncommissioned officers at the Caserma Del Din gymnasium.
"It fires me up, to be honest. The opportunity to come out and see the formations and understand what's keeping the commanders up at night, what's keeping the soldiers up at night, what's bothering the families and what we can do to fix it," said Jefferson.
"It was great having Maj. Gen. Seamands here to provide insight on some of the human resource questions that tend to have a lot of rumors but not necessarily a lot of answers," said Cpt. Thomas Pierce, an intelligence officer with 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry Regiment (Airborne), 173rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne).
Later in the day, Seamands provided a similar briefing to VMC leaders, serving in command positions. The intent was to inform those in the senior rater category of changes being made to ensure the Army emerges from the transition better off.
"There is not a single person in the Army who likes a drawdown…we all want to get through it…we all want it to pass. The intent is to have a better Army that is capable of doing what our nation needs us to do," Seamands said.
The HRC command team said that the desired outcome of the Road Show is to better understand how Soldiers are adapting change during this time of transition.
"I would ask our [Service members] to have faith in the process. It is not perfect, but we really try to get it right. I would tell you that 90% of the time, we get it right and for the 10% we don't get right, we work to get it right the next time," Said Seamands. "We understand that at the end of every action is a Soldier, their family, their dreams, aspirations and goals. We have a moral obligation to do whatever we can to get it right."
"The biggest takeaway is that HRC is doing the best they can to implement policies that make sense across the army," said Pierce. "They are listening to feedback from the bottom up and taking that feedback into account when making decisions that could affect Soldier's careers."
"Maj. Gen. Seamands said it well," said Pierce. "We are retaining the top performers because the only incentive they need is to do a good job," he added.
Seamands said one of the objectives in the beginning of the drawdown was have a better army in the end, which HRC has been working on for the past five years to achieve.
"Getting that right is part of what we do," he said.
Seamands and Jefferson's visit here was one of the last stops in their tour before returning home to review their newly obtained feedback. From here, they are scheduled to depart for Naples.