FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. - As the world was consumed by the need to protect against the pandemic that had swept across the globe in the spring of 2020, critical decisions on the care and safety of the forces had to be made. To make informed decisions, data on, civilian and military personnel, from all facets of Army missions had to be collected, sorted, and analyzed, and the mission to provide that wealth of information for the U.S. Army’s Network Enterprise Technology Command (NETCOM) leadership fell on the shoulders of the command G1 staff.
“We provided critical data points and procedural guidance to educate and assist leaders in developing policies related to social distancing, masking, telework, travel and an array of other personnel policies,” said Geno Grandinette, NETCOM Deputy G1 and Chief of Human Resources Operations.
“At the direction of the command group, we meticulously tracked and collected accounts of positive cases and personnel sent into quarantine and/or Restriction of Movement; and the estimated number and status of personnel who volunteered or declined to volunteer to get vaccinated,” said Grandinette.
“Additionally, we analyzed continuous respective higher headquarters policies and procedures involving the pandemic,” said Grandinette.
“For example, civilian and military travel restrictions, procedures and exceptions; leave procedures and extended allowances; other personnel exceptions and telework policies.”
Grandinette gave most of the credit to the team for keeping pace with the high-demand mission. “Team-work and a collaborative effort were key to accuracy in the fluid nature of a pandemic involving military and civilian operations. Our goal has been accurate analysis of operational impacts and providing mitigation strategies to overcome obstacles.”
“From the start of the pandemic, we decided to channel all information through a dedicated single source of senior level continuity in order to provide accurate reporting to the Department of Defense, Headquarters, Department of the Army, U.S. Army Cyber Command representatives and NETCOM Commanders; and to reduce confusion and burden throughout our partner sub-commands.”
Keeping pace with the ever changing dynamics of pandemic information as more and more facts were uncovered, separating truth from fiction became a daunting task, but one that was met with resiliency.
“Misinformation could have been an issue with having to learn on the run due to the fluidity of an unprecedented pandemic and an unpredictable voluntary process in vaccinations,” said Grandinette.
“But it was mitigated due to the incredible personal and collaborative efforts of our leaders and staff.”
When reflecting on the transition to a telework environment, Grandinette spoke about how his team didn’t falter.
“No mission decline or failure whatsoever. In fact, we experienced increased efficiency with reduced distractions and other elements associated with in-person group settings.”
“We’re rocking it and taking care of people – as always – that’s what we do,” said Grandinette.
However, he did have some concerns. “To be honest, I missed the personal connections with my G1 family, but we’ve overcome this challenge and unique experiences through daily contact via the ‘new-norm’ of virtual reality.”
But, Grandinette added morale of the team was always high because of the importance of the mission. “Our leadership established Line of Effort number 1: Protect the Force - and it is the number 1 LOE for a reason,” Grandinette said.
“This virus was and remains unpredictable in terms of how it impacts members of our workforce, their families, and the community, making it difficult to make risk informed decisions when people’s lives might be at stake.”
“What we do helps to ensure leadership has the necessary information to ensure the health and welfare of the NETCOM Team and our Families are accurately assessed and remain a Top Priority,” said Grandinette.