FORT LEE, Va. – Requesting “unfiltered and unvarnished feedback,” Sgt. Maj. Jimmy J. Sellers opened the Army G4 Logistics Summit here Wednesday morning, emphasizing to participants how their “boots on the ground” observations are essential to force modernization.
“This is a monumental time not only for the sustainment community, but within our Army, as we make some challenging decisions about reshaping combat capability for the future multi-domain battlefield,” Sellers pointed out in his introductory remarks. “As leaders out in the field, you need to tell us where the friction points are and what’s simply not working. How do we get better? It’s all about communicating, collaborating and coordinating.”
More than 70 sergeants major took part in the summit held at Fort Lee’s Larkin Conference Center. In-person and virtual attendees included representatives from U.S. Army Europe, U.S. Army Pacific, Forces Command, Training and Doctrine Command, Army Materiel Command, the National Training Centers, the Army Reserve and National Guard, and other major organizations. Sellers, the summit leader, serves as the Army G4 sergeant major.
Areas of discussion during the first day of the summit included, but were not limited to, the following:
· Dwindling interest in performance-based competitions such as the Connelly (food service) and Supply Excellence Awards. Attendees said it is likely due to a lack of awareness and less prestige for winners. It was agreed that greater emphasis on the training value and acknowledgement for “taking a shot,” even if competitors do not win, would “bring back the luster” of the programs.
· Increasing top-down communication to educate logisticians – by far the most frequently discussed topic of the day alongside talent management and Soldier development. The G4 staff briefed its recently launched town hall initiative. The session in July will focus on readiness and the Army Commitment to Improve Overall Nutrition, or ACTION, program. Announcements and links for the broadcast appear on the ArmyLogistics Facebook page. The department also has an information portal on Milsuite (CAC login required).
· A “uni-start” phase of the Senior Leader Course at the Army Logistics NCO Academy is under development. According to Command Sgt. Maj. Marissa Cisneros, LNCOA commandant, it will “plant a multifunctional seed” in the minds of students preparing for upper-leadership levels. The focus is on overall logistics operations in support of combatant commanders, introducing functional elements of Transportation, Quartermaster, Ordnance and Human Resources. It will meet the goal of developing diverse leaders who are familiar with all areas of Army Sustainment. The CSM also discussed a learning pilot in which the first week of LNCOA training would be online, resulting in a significant cost savings for the Army and capitalizing on lessons learned from the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
· With the military’s peak moving season continuing through the end of September, Soldiers must be proactive as soon as they receive their PCS orders. Dr. Sophronia Riley and Sgt. 1st Class Justin Williams from the Army G4 staff promoted the free ArmyPCSMove App, with customizable features such as a move countdown calendar, appointment reminders, a BAH calculator and requesting a sponsor at the new duty station. Walk-thru documents include a move preparation checklist, how to document valuables and filing claims if any items are damaged. The free app is available in the Apple and Google Play stores.
· The Sustainment community has taken the lead on the Whole Soldier Counseling Proof of Principle study. It encourages more in-depth conversations between leaders and subordinates with prompts that invite the counseled individual to talk about their home life, relationships, personal confidence and more. The implementation of the Army’s People First initiative last year rekindled leadership interest in the program.
In the final moments of the summit’s first day, Sellers expressed appreciation for the enthusiasm of attendees and satisfaction with the amount of information disseminated.
“Everything went very well,” he observed. “A lot of great ideas were presented and some very valuable thoughts and lessons learned were shared. Just great dialog overall. On top of that, we were able to provide a wealth of information that these leaders can take back to their organizations and pass on to the field. Overall, it has been a total success in my mind because we don’t often get the opportunity to have these kinds of discussions, which are so important to driving change and shaping our future.”
Day 2 of the summit featured a panel discussion on the topic of “Understanding the Leadership and Logistics Big Picture.” Spotlighted guests included retired Command Sergeants Major James Sims, David Davenport and Scott Schroeder.