As the Army continues to draw down, it is imperative that the talent within the noncommissioned officer (NCO) corps be identified. NCOs should be groomed and placed in the right positions to allow organizations and Soldiers to flourish. Senior leaders owe the Army and its NCOs a management process that allows Soldiers to maximize their potential both professionally and personally.
In July 2015, a new 4th Infantry Division (ID) Sustainment Brigade command team implemented a talent management program. The brigade was given the responsibility for managing the senior logisticians in both the 4th ID and across Fort Carson, Colorado. The 4th ID Sustainment Brigade dedicated a room within its headquarters to host quarterly talent management meetings with senior logistics command teams from across Fort Carson.NCO TALENT MANAGEMENTWithin the talent management room, photos of the installation's senior logistics NCOs (E-8s and E-9s) are organized on a white board. Also in the room is a display of every senior logistics position on the installation, organized by brigade combat team (BCT) or section, to provide awareness of current and upcoming talent gaps.The room also houses binders that contain officer and enlisted records briefs and cards that provide the Soldiers' official photos, previous assignments, future goals, desired assignments, year groups, and family circumstances.The 4th ID Sustainment Brigade embedded two NCOs (a staff sergeant and a sergeant) within the division G-1 to assist with the talent management program. These NCOs have access to most of the systems used by the G-1. They are responsible for forecasting requirements, identifying, contacting, and recommending placement of inbound Soldiers, creating packets, and identifying potential gaps or losses.They also ensure that every senior logistics NCO that arrives at the installation meets with the 4th ID Sustainment Brigade command team as part of in-processing. The two embedded NCOs within G-1 are critical to the success of the talent management program.QUARTERLY MEETINGSDuring quarterly talent management meetings, the commanding general establishes priorities based on mission sets. Business practices are announced in advance, and battalion commanders and command sergeants major provide input and comments. Each battalion command team assesses its officers and NCOs using a colored-chip assessment. These assessments, combined with the Soldiers' records, provide a 360-degree perspective of the leaders' past performance and future potential.The quarterly talent management meetings allow the 4th ID Sustainment Brigade to discuss with battalion-level leaders potential company command team challenges. The talent management team can then look across the installation and find the right match for both the commander and first sergeant positions.The talent management program enables NCOs to diversify their experience. An NCO can start out in a forward support company, move to a brigade support battalion, and eventually move to a sustainment brigade. This allows NCOs to experience all three levels of tactical sustainment within the division. Placing master sergeants and sergeants major in key developmental positions expands their capacity and makes the Army stronger.The program also identifies NCOs who are excelling so that leaders can continue to foster their development and encourage broadening assignments through the Human Resources Command.Because the 4th ID is the Army's only balanced division (with a Stryker BCT, infantry BCT, armored BCT, sustainment brigade, combat aviation brigade, division artillery, a Special Forces group, and several separate organizations on the installation), the 4th ID Sustainment Brigade has an advantage in its ability to rotate senior NCOs around the division to gain experiences from a variety of units. A sustainment NCO assigned to 4th ID leaves the installation well-rounded with a sound foundation for future assignments.Today's noncommissioned officer is asked to be, know, and do more than ever before, so senior leaders must establish programs that will help manage, cultivate, and foster talent in the Army. Leaders should also establish key developmental positions for certain grades. NCOs will benefit from having opportunities to acquire knowledge of the operational and strategic levels of the Army without losing their mastery of tactical-level skills.The 4th ID is managing the talent of all its senior logisticians. Through this process, the division will continue to build competent Soldiers of character that are committed to the Army and are great logisticians. We owe it to our Soldiers to take a vested interest in their development.
______________________________________________________________________________Command Sgt. Maj. Jacinto Garza is the senior enlisted Soldier in the 4th ID Sustainment Brigade. He holds a bachelor's degree in health sciences from American Military University with a concentration in sports management. He is a graduate of the Sergeants Major Academy, Primary Leadership Development Course, Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course, Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Course, First Sergeant Course, Drill Sergeant School, Squad Designated Marksman Course, and the Airborne, Air Assault, and Ranger Schools.
This article was published in the January-February 2017 issue of Army Sustainment magazine.