ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. -- Leadership from the U.S. Army Communciations-Electronics Command provided its workforce with updates on CECOM’s return to work plan from the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as an upcoming cyber readiness inspection and new programs for potential supervisors during a command town hall held Monday.
The town hall, hosted virtually on Microsoft Teams, took place at the Myer Auditorium.
As Aberdeen Proving Ground is in Phase 1 of its road to recovery, 30% of the workforce may return to the installation. When Phase 2 occurs — CECOM Commanding General Maj. Gen. Kilgo said it could occur as soon as the middle of next week, if conditions permit — 40% of the workforce would be allowed to return. During Phase 3, 80% of the workforce would be allowed to come back, while the entire workforce would return in Phase 4.
Kilgo said the installation is taking a slow and limited approach to bringing the entire workforce back following the Army’s return to work campaign. He said it’s up to individual units to determine who specifically comes back to work and when.
“The goal is to get to Phase 4 resilience and of course that’s dependent on how all of you behave, how all of you act and the discipline that’s displayed,” he said.
CECOM employees at other installations should refer to the senior mission commander at their location for an updated status. Kilgo said the Tobyhanna Army Depot is beginning Phase 2 this week, while Fort Huachuca was in Phase 1 and had to be paused due to an increase of COVID-19 cases in the area.
Kilgo encouraged those who may not be feeling well to telework or take a day off.
“If you’re not feeling well, do not come to work,” he said. “That’s each and every one of us holding ourselves accountable.”
Automated non-touch hand sanitizer stations are being installed at all C5ISR Campus buildings, including two in lobbies, one in break rooms and one in elevator lobbies, said Michael Vetter, director of CECOM G4. Two face masks per individual, hand sanitizer and workspace cleaning materials are being distributed.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also affected the target start date for the Army Medical Logistics Command, headquartered at Fort Detrick, to join CECOM. Kilgo said the target date was moved from July 1 to Sept. 15, to give AMLC the opportunity to continue work that is being done as part of the Army’s COVID-19 response.
As the workforce returns to the office, CECOM will be preparing for a Command Cyber Readiness Inspection. APG’s is scheduled for March 2021, while Tobyhanna is scheduled for an inspection in February 2021.
The installation-wide inspection criteria includes SIPR, NIPR, web servers, database servers and users.
“The most important factor is the user,” said Kenneth Trabue, chief of the G6 cybersecurity division. “You are the biggest factor involved in this.”
Users are encouraged to practice secure computing. This includes securing Common Access Cards at all times, completing Information Assurance training, protecting devices and making sure they are not left unattended, shielding pin codes, keeping desktops clean and shredding information when necessary.
Supervisory Programs and Assessments
CECOM supervisory position candidates are now required to complete two assessments during the evaluation process. The first is skills-based, to evaluate work-related personality and abilities, while the second evaluates leadership characteristics, to measure strengths against key dimensions.
“This is just one tool in a manager's toolbox to help [...] hiring officials and leaders select the people who most embody those leadership and supervisory skills,” said John Oltarzewski, a CECOM staff analyst.
CECOM also introduced a new program called the Practical Introduction to Supervising Employees program, designed for GS-13 or equivalent employees seeking to prepare themselves for a potential supervisory role.
PRISE consists of five three-day sessions spanning several months. The curriculum includes resource management, communication and interpersonal skills, human resources, building team culture, the acquisition life cycle, critical thinking and problem solving, strategic messaging and situational supervision.
Kate Calvert, a CECOM human resources specialist, said the first class is expected to take place in October.
Awards and Retirements
CECOM recognized the retirements of three team members totalling more than 65 years of service to the nation: Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Gutierrez, CECOM’s senior enlisted adviser; James Meredith, director of the Integrated Logistics Support Center’s Security Assistance Management Directorate; and Col. Christopher Ford, director of the CECOM Central Technical Support Facility.
The CECOM Software Engineering Center was given the Army Superior Unit Award and members of Tobyhanna’s public affairs team won awards for outstanding digital media management, video series and feature photography.
Chaplain (Col.) Darin Bielsen, Maj. Robert Rowland and Maj. Ellis Allen earned meritorious service medals, while Lt. Col. Rob Barnhill earned an Army commendation medal.
Paul Carbin was named the U.S. Army Materiel Command’s top employee of the quarter and earned a civilian service achievement medal, while Danielle Moyet earned a meritorious civilian service medal.