HRC professionals on track to complete extremism stand-down training

By Bill CostelloApril 2, 2021

FORT KNOX, Ky. – Leaders, Soldiers and Civilians assigned to U.S. Army Human Resources Command remain on pace to complete a mandatory Department of Defense-wide extremism stand-down no later than April 6, 2021.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III directed the stand-down in a memorandum signed in early February. In it, he emphasized, “Service members, DoD civilian employees, and all those who support our mission, deserve an environment free of discrimination, hate, and harassment. It is incumbent upon each of us to ensure that actions associated with these corrosive behaviors are prevented.”

Not long after the Secretary’s memo was signed, HRC’s G3 shop conducted a mission analysis and developed a plan to ensure that all employees received the best training possible.

“Our plan focused on distributive training, pushing training down to the lowest level to empower first line supervisors and facilitate open dialog with employees that already have a working relationship,” said Maj. Ryan Eandi, HRC’s Chief of Protection.

HRC employees made the most of opportunities to accomplish the task in either a small group setting or through online discussion forums.

“Our directorates and staff sections had the flexibility to conduct smaller group sessions in person, the desired method, provided they did not violate COVID protocols,” Eandi explained. “Not having face-to-face discussions and dialog can limit the contributions from all our employees; however, a small group of co-workers training over MS Teams, or even on the telephone, provides a more open environment than packing hundreds of employees in an auditorium where leaders are listening to all the comments,” he added.

Eandi partnered with HRC’s command equal opportunity advisor, Master Sgt. Timothy C. Gutierrez, to conduct train-the-trainer sessions providing tips and best practices for discussing what could be a controversial topic.

“I believe the vast majority were extremely receptive to the training even though there were a lot of different views and opinions. The conversation and discussion portion really paid off with a lot of open, honest and candid conversations that assisted us in gaining a better understanding of each other,” Gutierrez confided.

During each session, facilitators reminded HRC’s workforce that extremist and other impermissible behaviors are not only detrimental to unit and Soldier morale, they also violate the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and the oath of military and government civilian service.

The stand-down included a number of case studies that afforded the opportunity to see how the use of social media and other on-line behaviors often detract from the Army profession and limit the ability of Soldiers and civilians to serve with dignity and respect.

Eandi explained that while this is a one-time stand-down, it’s possible additional requirements in the future could have this topic added to annual training requirements.

HRC is using the Army-wide Digital Training Management System (DTMS) to track compliance with the stand-down mandate. That way, whenever a Soldier reports to a new assignment, their Individual Training Report will show the date Extremism Stand-Down training was completed.