Department of Army civilian logisticians serve as an integral part of the Army team to support the defense of our nation. Selected for positions based on their specialized knowledge, skills, and abilities, civilians provide a broad range of services and capabilities while serving at all levels, from the tactical to the strategic.
As the Army’s missions have evolved, so have the roles of the Army civilian logistician. The Army People Strategy describes how we will shift from simply “distributing personnel” to more deliberately managing the talents of our civilian workforce. This means creating a 21st century talent management system with policies, programs, and processes that recognize and capitalize on the unique knowledge and behaviors of all members of the Army team, allowing us to employ each individual to the maximum effect.
Highly successful businesses abandoned industrial-era labor management practices long ago. They moved to talent management, which leverages the unique productive capabilities of each person rather than treating them as interchangeable parts. The Army is doing the same with its logisticians, ensuring the right talent is trained and ready to assume the next level of responsibility.
The Army People Strategy has four lines of effort: acquire, develop, employ, and retain talent. These LOEs enable the Army to grow and maintain a competitive workforce. This places a significant focus on the civilian workforce by providing a more integrated career management structure, broader opportunities for leadership and functional education and training, and funding for civilian professional development. In accordance with Army Regulation 690-950, Career Program Management, the Army has established 32 career programs for all Army civilians to ensure there is an adequate base of qualified and trained professional, technical, and administrative personnel to meet the Army’s current and future needs through effective career program leadership, identified progressive levels, recruitment, central referral, and career development.
The Department of Army Civilian Logistics Career Management Office (CLCMO) assists the Army with its talent management strategy by hiring and developing logistics apprentices (formerly interns), managing a credentialing program, and providing career management guidance, assistance, and central funding for developmental assignments, training, and academic degrees for careerists within Career Programs 13 – Supply Management, 17 – Material Maintenance Management, and 24 – Transportation and Distribution Management. CLCMO also assists the Army in developing policy that directly affects civilian logisticians.
The CLCMO has two talent management programs dedicated to the development of civilian logisticians, its Career Development Program and the Master Logistician Certificate Program.
The Department of Army Career Development Program is an 18-month developmental program designed to train, educate, coach, and mentor the next generation of career-minded DA logistics management professionals. The program ensures the availability of well-trained and experienced employees equipped with the right skills to support the Army civilian workforce of the future. The apprentice program includes a highly selective hiring process and trains the latest logistics concepts and methods through formal classroom instruction and a series of rotational on-the-job training with Department of Defense agencies throughout the United States. Apprentices are hired at the GS-7 level, promoted to GS-9 after successfully completing the 12-month, and then sent to their permanent duty locations and promoted to GS-11 at 24 months.
The Master Logistician Certificate Program was created to build and deliver across the Army enterprise multi-functional logisticians capable of planning and executing mission requirements in key Master Logistician positions. The three-tier certificate program – Foundation (GS-7 to GS-11), Intermediate (GS-12 to GS-13), and Advanced (GS-13 to GS-15) – provides both training and a career path for Army civilian logisticians. The certificate program provides the Army with validated multi-functional logisticians who are well trained and have experience in at least two of the three logistics functional areas: supply management, materiel maintenance management, and transportation and distribution management.
The certificate program is accredited through the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), which verifies the certificate program meets rigorous standards similar to any university certificate program and allows the Master Logistician (ML) designation to be added to a careerists' signature block. Careerists who earn a Master Logistician certificate at the Advanced level become a member of the Logistics Talent Pool and are eligible for Master Logistician-designated positions throughout the Army. Such positions are competitive, but competition is limited to other Master Logisticians.
A ML is an experienced professional who can operate successfully in dynamic conditions, is capable of integrating and synchronizing the sustainment functions to provide support and services, and leads with character, commitment, and competence. The Army draws on the Master Logistician Talent Pool when it requires experienced and trained employees prepared to assume technical and leadership roles.
Talent management finds the right people for the right jobs to achieve the strategic goals set forth by leadership. The Army is committed to recruiting, staffing, and succession planning for the highest-quality employees. Talent management is further refined through talent development, which focuses on how to develop employee skills and competencies. It provides learning opportunities and tools for them to advance their overall careers. The Competitive Professional Development Program and Civilian Education System (CES) further enhances the talent pool of high-quality employees by ensuring long-term success of the talent pipeline.
The Competitive Professional Development Program is a competency-based approach to provide technical, professional, managerial, and leadership training to Army civilians at appropriate times in their careers. By linking training to competencies, the Army creates a highly professional and agile civilian workforce capable of executing the current mission and continuously adapting to future demands that support the Army’s strategic requirements. Professional development consists of short-term training (fewer than 120 days), long-term training (more than 120 days), and academic degree training, and it is centrally funded by the Army Civilian Training Education and Development System. These training and developmental opportunities are designed to close current competency gaps, provide depth and breadth of functional core competencies, and allow the careerist to learn new functional and leadership competencies as a part of professional development. Academic degree training provides careerists the opportunity to obtain degrees in logistics, supply chain management, business, or management, while providing valuable learning experiences to stimulate innovation.
CES provides progressive and sequential education for civilians who are committed to developing their leadership competencies at key positions throughout their careers. Courses of instruction are provided through blended learning – both distance learning and resident instruction. CES courses are to be taken in sequence over time as civilians progress through their careers.
CLCMO’s mission to grow logisticians capable of operating and leading in a joint environment aligns with The Army People Strategy efforts to acquire, develop, employ, and retain talent. Managing the talents of our Army civilian logisticians ensures we have the right individual optimizing support to our Army. Talent management and development ensures Army Civilians are agile and adaptive to adjust to ever-changing requirements.
Additional information about the Department of Army Career Development Program and Competitive Professional Development Training can be found at: https://cascom.army.mil/s_staff/clcmo/index.htm#. Information about the Master Logistician Certificate Program can be found at: https://www.milsuite.mil/book/groups/civilian-logistics-career-management-office-cp-131724/projects/os-0346-certificate-program.
Jeff Garland is a career program manager with the Civilian Logistics Career Management Office (CLCMO), at Fort Lee, Virginia. In this position he exercises leadership and provides career management guidance for approximately 25,000 Army careerists assigned to the Materiel Maintenance Management Career Program. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and a Master of Science Degree in Human Resource Management and Development. His military education includes an abundance of leadership and management training such as the Army Command and General Staff College (resident course), Army Force Management Course, Support Operations Course Phase I/II and Combined Arms and Services Staff School among others.
Kesha Johnson is a career management specialist assigned to the CLCMO. In this role, she is responsible for managing the Master Logistician Certificate Program, supports enterprise-level civilian logistics career development policies, projects, and programs, and she provides expert advice and customer service on professional education, training, and development. Johnson has been an Army Civilian for 17 years, starting her career as a Transportation Management Intern. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, with a concentration in Public Administration, from Norfolk State University, and a master’s degree in Business Administration, with a concentration in Management, from Florida Institute of Technology.
This article was published in the January-March 2021 issue of Army Sustainment.