405th AFSB conducts first of several project inclusion town halls
A local national employee assigned to the 405th Army Field Support Brigade’s AFSBn-Benelux works on a Humvee. Recently, several hundred employees from the 405th AFSB took part in a virtual town hall focused on local national employee inclusion. It was the first in a series of project inclusion town halls. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army courtesy photo) VIEW ORIGINAL

KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany – With the intent of improving diversity, equity and inclusion, and eliminating all forms of discrimination and harassment across the command – the 405th Army Field Support Brigade is conducting a series of small group discussions, sensing sessions and town halls focused on project inclusion.

Several hundred members of the 405th AFSB from across Europe took part in the virtual town hall Jan. 22. The primary focus of the town hall was local national employee inclusion. Every other month the brigade conducts a project inclusion town hall on another area of concern.

Develop a culture of diversity and respect

The idea is to develop a culture here at the 405th AFSB where we are all looked at as one team, said Col. Brad Bane, the 405th AFSB commander. Whether a local national, a contractor, an Army civilian or a Soldier – the entire team needs to be aligned in order to support the mission.

“When you’re able to communicate, and you’re able to share ideas, and you’re able to treat each other like valued members – what you get is a diverse organization that’s able to get the job done regardless of the circumstances,” Bane said.

Prior to the town hall in small group settings, personnel from across the 405th AFSB brainstormed ideas and provided several areas to focus on. They are local national inclusion, gender inclusion, communications, local national professional development and mentorship, military and Army civilian professional development and mentorship, sexual harassment and assault prevention, and equal opportunity.

The brigade will target each one of these areas every other month, said Larry Torres, the director of operations, 405th AFSB. Working groups and town halls will continue throughout the year as the brigade makes improvements and becomes an even better organization.

405th AFSB conducts first of several project inclusion town halls
Italian local national employees from the 405th Army Field Support Brigade’s Logistics Readiness Center Italy prepare a shipment in support of the Humanitarian Assistance Program. The 405th AFSB hosted a virtual town hall Jan. 22 with the intent of improving diversity, equity and inclusion, and eliminating all forms of discrimination and harassment across the command. (Photo Credit: Elena Baladelli) VIEW ORIGINAL

Areas of concern

The small groups identified several areas of concern regarding local national inclusion during their discussions, such as not including local national employees in the problem solving and decision making processes; not acknowledging the value of local national subject matter expertise and experience; not acknowledging local national employees as equal members of the organization and more.

Craig Shields, the director of the Logistics Readiness Center Stuttgart, 405th AFSB, brought up awards panels and the importance of recognizing the local national workforce for their efforts supporting the brigade’s missions.

“I can say that an awards panel does work. That’s what we do here. We have an awards panel that includes our works council so that it’s fair and maintains transparency,” said Shields, who believes communicating with local national employees and emphasizing how well they are doing is extremely important.

“When I saw the comments that came out of my local sensing session, it hit me in the gut,” said Keli‘i Bright, the director of the Logistics Readiness Center Italy, 405th AFSB.

“When I saw the comments that came out of my local sensing session, it hit me in the gut,” said Keli‘i Bright, the director of the Logistics Readiness Center Italy, 405th AFSB.

“A lot of it has to do with perception, and a lot of that can be fixed by increased communications with our workforce,” Bright said. “It all goes back to what you are trying to address at the enterprise level. That’s leadership’s job – to standardize, to codify and to institutionalize.”

“I acknowledge we’ve got some work to do,” Bright added.

A wealth of information – to include questions, concerns and ideas to help improve the organization -- came out of the small group discussions and the first town hall. Many people actively participated and provided valuable input.

And what comes next is change

“Hold us accountable for implementing change, implementing processes to get after this so that we don’t continue to replicate what’s being perceived,” said Jody Fasko, the deputy to the commander, 405th AFSB.

“Hold us accountable for implementing change, implementing processes to get after this so that we don’t continue to replicate what’s being perceived,” said Jody Fasko, the deputy to the commander, 405th AFSB.

“That was really the idea of those peer groups,” said Fasko, “to hold us accountable and keep progress moving forward so that employees at all levels feel heard, see change and make a difference.”

The next project inclusion town hall for the 405th AFSB is scheduled for March and will be focused on gender inclusion. Fasko will lead the session.

More on the Army's project inclusion efforts and the 405th AFSB

To learn more about Army Project Inclusion, visit the STAND-TO! project inclusion page at www.army.mil/standto/archive/2020/06/29/.

The 405th AFSB is assigned to U.S. Army Sustainment Command and under the operational control of the 21st Theater Sustainment Command, USAREUR-AF. The brigade is headquartered in Kaiserslautern, Germany, and provides materiel enterprise support to U.S. Forces throughout Europe and Africa – providing theater sustainment logistics; synchronizing acquisition, logistics and technology; and leveraging the U.S. Army Materiel Command materiel enterprise to support joint forces. For more information on the 405th AFSB, visit the official website at www.afsbeurope.army.mil and the official Facebook site at www.facebook.com/405thAFSB.