With people at more than 100 locations around the world, the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command has thousands of scientists, engineers and analysts who reach across international borders to partner with industry, academia and governments to ensure Army Soldiers have access to the most advanced technology available. DEVCOM Headquarters recently held a week-long orientation to ensure newly or recently hired personnel who are located overseas, off-site or within HQ have the resources and knowledge they need to conduct the DEVCOM mission.
The New Employee – DEVCOM Mission Orientation provided a cross-command overview of DEVCOM’s capabilities and processes, as well as tools available to support DEVCOM’s Global Mission programs. The Global team consists of the DEVCOM Science and Technology Integration Directorate, DEVCOM Forward Elements (Americas, Atlantic, and Indo-Pacific), DEVCOM Centers/Lab International Points of Contact and Quick Reaction Coordinators. Rounding out the team are the DFE Field Assistance in Science and Technology Advisors who are liaisons between Army commanders and thousands of DEVCOM subject matter experts.
"DEVCOM teammates operate by working together every day while postured across the globe to deliver Army Modernization and research priorities. It will be through our successful integration and teaming that we'll secure the delivery of persistent modernization. This new initiative is another great example of how we are 'starting together' as brand new employees and 'finishing together' as one team,” said Maj. Gen. Miles Brown, DEVCOM commanding general.
There are currently 21 FAST Advisors around the world who expedite technology solutions and facilitate DEVCOM’s technologies and systems into experiments. FAST Advisors begin their roles with knowledge in different fields, and the NE–DMO teaches them about the DEVCOM enterprise, as well as reach back points of contact and processes and tools available to effectively perform their jobs. The FAST Advisors leverage Requests for Information to query program management offices, DEVCOM SMEs, and industry partners to expedite potential solutions.
“As the Army’s lead technology developer, DEVCOM solves some of the Army’s toughest technological challenges. This orientation supports that effort by giving attendees a thorough understanding of the DEVCOM enterprise, including who they can reach to help solve operational issues. The orientation is essential to prepare DEVCOM personnel who are located overseas or off-site, or are new to the organization,” said Collier Slade, chief of DEVCOM Science and Technology Integration Partnerships Division.
DEVCOM began the orientation in 2003, to prepare science and technology assistance teams that were deployed during the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
The recent hybrid NE-DMO included both MS Teams virtual sessions and in-person tours of DEVCOM facilities located at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. It began with a welcome and overview from Kim Gietka, DEVCOM chief operating officer, followed by information about the fall 2022 session, which will be called New Employee & Mission Orientation. NEMO will be held in three parts: a one-day overview of the command and staff sections, two day sessions of DEVCOM center and lab briefings, and a day of research center and laboratory tours. In addition to revising its orientation program, the command also plans to develop additional materials and resources for new employees.
“This new way of integrated onboarding is so important. We are bringing together teammates from across the command and building a unified culture for DEVCOM, while honoring the community and local culture they will build at their center/lab or forward element location. What a great way to build understanding and command ambassadors," Gietka said.
In-person tours at APG included visits to the Army Research Laboratory’s Cold Spray Lab, the Command, Control, Computers, Communications, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance Center’s Combined Joint Systems Integration Laboratory and the Chemical Biological Center’s Advanced Manufacturing Facility. These tours provided face-to-face interaction with SMEs, as well as firsthand knowledge of technologies that are nearing experimentation or fielding stages.
Several newly hired employees attended the NE-DMO in person, including Linda Nogle. Nogle, who recently joined the Inspector General’s office, said, “This event was not just an orientation, it was a gateway for attendees to network and meet people across the command face-to-face. This experience was invaluable to me.”
Other highlights from the orientation included an overview of DEVCOM’s: staff sections; eight technology centers and lab; and the new Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. One of the key goals of the DE&I office is to foster a culture of trust and acceptance to ensure equal opportunity across the command. The DE&I office underscores DEVCOM’s Talent Management Strategy, which includes building a diverse workforce that will enable the innovation, adaption and cultural understanding necessary for the command to meet its mission.
“Even before Future of Work, we operated in a hybrid, distributed environment, given our mission. Whether in the lab, field for experimentation or working from our home office, it's important to understand how you fit into the larger command mission and what we are doing every day for the Army and Soldier. Talent is our most impressive command asset – I know this command will continue to do great things if we continue to integrate and worth together,” said John Willison, DEVCOM deputy to the commanding general.
At the end of each day, attendees completed a questionnaire; the information will be used for lessons learned and ways to improve future orientations. After completing the orientation, attendees will have not only a thorough understanding of DEVCOM across the enterprise, but also connections with people around the command and the Army who can provide innovative solutions to support Soldiers.
The U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command — DEVCOM — is home to the Army’s largest pool of civilian scientists, engineers, analysts and technicians who are the bedrock for discovering and developing the capabilities Soldiers need to deter, and when necessary, defeat current and future adversaries.
DEVCOM is a major subordinate command of Army Futures Command and, together, this Team of Teams provides the scientific and engineering expertise necessary to better integrate modernization priorities and give the Army, as part of the Joint Force, the ability to act faster and more effectively than adversaries.