SUBJECT: Leader Note #4: Solidifying Gains to Anchor Change
1. Purpose. This memo is for our division, brigade, and battalion level leaders to describe our priorities and anchor change, as we transition from organizational climate change to a sustained culture change. This builds on the guidance, concepts and ideas in Leader Notes #1-3
2. Situation. The reason we exist as the 1st Cavalry Division is to be the Army’s penetration division – deploying anywhere in the world, at any time, under any conditions and striking deep into the heart of the enemy, destroying the will of our adversary and putting our Nation in a position of advantage. This is who we have been for 100 years. It is who we are today.
We are the CAV! We are COURAGEOUS, AUDACIOUS, and VICTORIOUS.
COURAGEOUS. Courage on and off the battlefield. The will to fight for our Freedom but also the character to intervene when we see something wrong.
AUDACIOUS. To be BOLD, DARING is our Cavalry tradition. That is why we are the AMERICA’S FIRST TEAM. The FIRST in Manilla, Tokyo, Pyongyang and the first Air Mobile Division. We do things others are afraid to do.
VICTORIOUS. We WIN where we fight by putting our People First! Winning Matters!
3. A Tumultuous but Insightful Year. Over the last year, we have been on an incredible journey filled with challenges, lessons learned, and key reflections. Even though we were meeting or exceeding Army standards for readiness, training, and lethality, the events at Fort Hood and across the nation, forced us to consider what was happening below the surface. Beginning in July 2020, the harmful behaviors of sexual assault, sexual harassment, suicides, and extremism became issues we invested significantly more time and resources than ever before to solve. Although we began identifying root causes and solutions, we did not fully understand the magnitude of our problems until the release of the Fort Hood Independent Review Committee (FHIRC) Report. After the release of the FHIRC Report, we began an intense period of introspection and action. Leaders from across the division, at every echelon began trying to understand why there was a loss of trust with Troopers and their families. We seized the initiative, experimented, exploited the initiative and now we are solidifying gains.
4. The phase we are entering is the most critical. We are seeing positive signs that People First initiatives are taking hold across the division. Recent surveys and sensing sessions suggest that the climate within the Division has changed in the last 8 months. At the same time, the People First philosophy has not yet become inculcated into our culture. Our ability to focus on other priorities while still demonstrating a People First attitude will be essential to prevent backsliding in this critical endeavor. The following outlines our priorities:
5. Priority #1. CAV Commitment to People First. People First must be woven into everything we do – NOT just another thing we do.
The Squad Leader is the Decisive Point of our efforts.
- Be a Leader. Engaged and inspiring leaders drive the culture of an organization. We must prioritize leader development programs for the C/B/T level and below that teach: a) how to care for Troopers and Families, b) moral character, c) commitment to 24/7 leadership, d) competence in their MOS and the Army profession.
- Be Predictable. Disciplined training management builds credibility with Troopers and Families. We must rigorously protect: a) Leader Time Training, b) “First Team 15”, c) monthly Foundational Days, d) Phantom Warrior Time, and e) People First Focus Weeks.
- Be a Cohesive Team. CAV Strong teams with engaged leaders and committed Troopers WIN! Battalions and C/B/T leaders must deliberately integrate new Troopers with comprehensive Reception, Integration, and Counseling Programs.
- Be Proud. Unit pride thrives in an organization with purpose and belonging. At the BN level, you must take pride in your footprints. Pride is essential for our Troopers to feel a sense of belonging and trust.
6. Priority #2. Building Lethality. As we weave our People First efforts into everything we do, we will eventually transition to a People Always philosophy. The 1st Cavalry Division is the first unit America calls in times of crisis; America calls because we are lethal. We are lethal because of the strength of the Leaders and Troopers in the division, our mastery of the fundamentals, and our personnel and equipment readiness.
Over the next year, we must continue building lethality at the individual, crew, and squad level. As an Army, we have transitioned from a “Gated Training” strategy to a “Foundational” training strategy. As leaders, you must focus your efforts at building training plans that master the basics. In order to achieve mastery you should strive to give your Troopers as many “sets and reps” as possible; once your Troopers demonstrate mastery in a specific set of conditions, change the environment. Repetition is essential. Remember, “Amateurs train until they get it right, professionals train until they can’t get it wrong!”
In order to build lethality, leaders must first ensure their Troopers and equipment are ready. Specifically, we must focus on COVID vaccinations and maintenance.
- COVID remains a threat to our formation; as of today, any Trooper or family member that wants a vaccine can get one. We must emphasize the importance of getting vaccinated; maintain momentum in getting our Troopers to the appropriate vaccination sites. In the next 30 days, leaders must ensure ALL Troopers have access to a vaccination site. Troopers will follow the positive examples of their Leaders.
- Maintenance is training. The 1st Cavalry Division has a phenomenal reputation for delivering combat ready formations to combatant commanders. Leaders must take the time to deliberately plan maintenance activities into their training calendars, protect the time, and dedicate the resources.
7. Priority #3. Modernization and Divestiture. The 1st Cavalry Division is the most lethal a
nd modern organization in the Army today. We are just entering an era of large scale and scope modernization which will ensure we remain the most lethal and modern organization in the future. As an organization, we understand the numerous disconnects between Program Managers and units across the Army. As we move forward we must, at echelon, identify and implement efficiencies to receive and integrate new equipment while divesting the old. Unmitigated modernization friction will manifest as lethality degradation. The Division fight is the synchronization of modernization windows with GFMAP requirements through the Army Synchronization Toolset and the Decision Support Tool and the systematic sharing of Lessons Learned across the Division. The Brigade fight is the synchronization of fieldings and the displaced equipment process within modernization windows to mitigate risk to resources and foundational training strategies. The Battalion fight is the integration of new materiel and personnel to build increasing lethality at the small unit level.
8. The challenge remains for all leaders in the division to ensure People First initiatives are woven into the fabric of our organization; however, Battalion level leaders remain the agents of change and Company level leaders will WIN this effort for us at the Point of Contact. CSM McLane and I could not be prouder of all you accomplished and continue to accomplish every single day to solidify these gains. Keep it up!