JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. — After more than 33 years of service to the Army, Command Sgt. Maj. Paul E. Biggs, former Futures and Concepts Center command sergeant major, retired on May 13, 2021 at the Fort Eustis Club, Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Va.
Biggs enlisted in the Army in April 1988 and attended One-Stop Unit Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky. He has held numerous leadership positions, including M1A1 armored crewman, gunner, tank commander, company master gunner, battalion master gunner, drill sergeant, platoon sergeant, first sergeant, senior military science instructor, operation’s sergeant major, battalion command sergeant major, brigade command sergeant major, senior enlisted leader for Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan, Army Capabilities Integration Center command sergeant major, and the first FCC command sergeant major.
While serving as FCC command sergeant major, Biggs was instrumental in spearheading the leader professional development program that ensured Soldiers, civilians, and their families were taken care of, leading the conversation on Army modernization from tactical to strategic concepts at the same time providing critical advice to Army leadership. His leadership also supported various programs at FCC and AFC to include Multi-Domain Operations, Future Operating Environment, Future Study Program, Team Ignite, and Project Convergence. These programs are critical to the Army's Modernization Strategy while aligning with and supporting the National Security, National Defense, and National Military Strategies of the United States.
In July 2018, two important events happened for the Army and Biggs.
On July 1, 2018, Army Futures Command was stood up to lead the transformational modernization of the U.S. Army. The establishment of AFC marks one of the most significant Army reorganization efforts since 1973 when the U.S. Army disestablished the Continental Army Command and Combat Development Command and redistributed their functions between two new commands, U.S. Army Forces Command and U.S. Army Training & Doctrine Command.
Biggs arrived at Fort Eustis and took on his new role and responsibilities as the ARCIC command sergeant major. A few short months later, he would become the first FCC command sergeant major.
On December 7, 2018, Biggs became the last ARCIC command sergeant major and the first FCC command sergeant major when the United States Army Capabilities Integration Center, TRADOC, was designated as FCC and transitioned to AFC. Biggs described the event held at Jacobs Conference Center that had General Stephen J. Townsend, Commanding General of TRADOC, and General John M. Murray, Commanding General of AFC co-presiding.
“General Townsend removed the TRADOC patch, and General Murray came in and put on the AFC patch. It was symbolic as the Army set up its first new command in 45 years.”
During his almost three years serving in ARCIC and FCC, the transformation of AFC and FCC continues to evolve.
“Being part of the first subordinate unit under AFC has been great,” said Biggs. “As an organization, we had to find our role and get comfortable in it while aligning and creating core competencies that support the higher headquarters.”
ARCIC's relationships with Capabilities Development and Integration Directorates shifted as CDIDs became subordinate units to FCC.
“The Centers of Excellence have a large role to play with the CDIDs,” stated Biggs. “We wanted to adjust those relationships to support the roles of FCC, AFC, and the Army."
Biggs visited the CDIDs over the past two years, engaging with leaders and understanding their particular role in the Army's modernization efforts. The ability to communicate change when there are many unknowns is vital. As a young Soldier, he understood how important communication is and how your communication style changes as you increase position, rank, and responsibility.
"At the tactical leadership level, do what your boss tells you, but when something has to be said, say it, and if you do need to take charge, take charge," Biggs stated. “At the strategic level, the ability to listen and not respond is critical. The expectation is to say something but listening, learning, and understanding the crosstalk is important.”
AFC is working diligently to modernize the Army for the next generation of Soldiers to dominate the battlefield, but it's the decades of experience crucial to make these changes.
"Technology has enabled us to do things more efficiently, but it doesn't necessarily make jobs easier,” said Biggs. “We should never send our sons and daughter into a fair fight, and I think technology has created that for us. It is made the fight less fair for our enemies, and that's a good thing.”
As technology changes our lives, the Army's purpose remains constant. The Army's mission is to deploy, fight and win our nation's wars by providing ready, prompt, and sustained land dominance by Army forces across the full spectrum of conflict as part of the joint force.
The Army's top priority is people. Developing leaders and building cohesive teams is a crucial part of the modernization efforts.
"Leaders have to be genuine. Being genuine and creating those connections is important, and that builds trust in an organization,” said Biggs.”Taking care of people is ensuring they are trained and prepared to execute the mission.”
The switch from Soldier to Soldier for Life comes with unknowns, and each person handles it differently. But, after 33 years in any career, there will be plenty of things you miss.
“Some of the things I will miss are the structure and the relationships. The structure of the military and the camaraderie is different than in other organizations, and I'll miss the close relationships that develop,” Biggs said.