‘Man the Force’ first essential component of ASC’s ‘All Things People’

By Greg WilsonOctober 20, 2022

‘Man the Force’ first essential component of ASC’s ‘All Things People’
Man the Force means recruiting the best possible candidates, whether they are Soldiers or Civilians. It’s an essential component of ASC’s Line of Effort 4: Develop, Empower and Protect a Professional Workforce. (Graphic by Greg Wilson) (Photo Credit: Greg Wilson) VIEW ORIGINAL

Editor’s note: This article is the second in a series describing the various facets of “All Things People” for U.S. Army Sustainment Command. The previous article took an overall view of ATP, which consists of three primary focuses. They are Man the Force, Develop and Manage the Force, and Sustain the Force. This article will look at the first, Man the Force.

ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- Manning the force is straightforward. It means recruiting the best possible candidates, whether they are Soldiers or Civilians. It is an essential component of ASC’s Line of Effort 4: Develop, Empower and Protect a Professional Workforce.

ASC must compete for qualified people in both realms. In the civilian world, it’s competing against private industry which, especially now, is actively trying to recruit workers. Companies are offering signing bonuses, enhanced benefits packages, flexible work hours and work-life balance (like teleworking) to entice potential applicants.

“We communicate, internally and externally, the benefits of being a member of the ASC team that sets us apart from our competition in the labor market so that we can create a talented, engaged, productive and diverse team of Soldiers and Civilians capable of meeting every mission assigned,” said Dan Kern, Military Personnel division chief, G1 (Human Resources).

ASC’s mission statement for ATP reads like a best of all worlds scenario: “Enhance and sustain programs and resources to attract and retain diverse talent to meet current and future mission requirements. All individuals are utilized to the best of their ability and feel valued, protected, resilient and mission-focused in the face of professional and personal challenges.”

But this isn’t just feel-good verbiage. It’s rooted in a wide range of programs to help its workforce, whether Soldiers or Civilians, be more productive and feel part of an important team.

For younger workers, ASC has several internship programs to bring vitality and diversity into its workforce. And with ASC’s global footprint, opportunities for traveling to, and living in, different countries are possible.

ASC has also embraced teleworking as one way to provide flexibility for current and future team members. It’s a powerful recruiting tool, and, of course, one that more and more businesses and government organizations are using as well to attract workers.

You’ll probably recognize that these recruitment efforts could be considered retainment efforts as well. That’s because recruiting new talent isn’t a standalone program. It must work with all other elements to be successful. This is where the G1’s Integration Team comes in.

Their job is to formulate and implement programs that bring the ASC workforce together as a team. This includes individuals from all major offices within the command, including Safety, Training, the command chaplain, command surgeon and legal office, among others.

ASC is also actively recruiting Soldiers as part of its Man the Force efforts. Rock Island Arsenal, where ASC headquarters is located, is not a well-known military installation because of its location and size. Since Soldiers (and their families) now have more input in what their next duty station could be, RIA and ASC are sometimes overlooked when Soldiers are making plans for their future.

The recruitment of Soldiers is a strong component of Man the Force. Using print articles, video products and other messaging avenues on different media platforms, ASC is getting the word out that RIA, and ASC, are good destinations for active-duty Soldiers to consider when thinking about their next duty station.

With personal advancement programs, leadership classes, the possibility of flexibility in work situations, a very active integration team, a vibrant surrounding community with five cities making up the Quad Cities, and the chance to work at a major subordinate command of U.S. Army Materiel Command, ASC is reinforcing the message that this command should be a top choice for Soldiers looking to advance their career. The hope is that Soldiers will tell their comrades about the opportunities ASC has to offer when they move on to their next duty location.

“Attracting quality talent at all levels is essential to organizational success,” said Kern. “Best practices shared between organizations and with higher and lower echelon create synergy and unity of effort that helps place talent at the location that best meets the Army’s and the individual employee’s needs.”

Kern said competition has always been present and that will continue. He added that competition is a good thing when you approach it the right way, though.

“One of the most important things we can do is treat talent acquisition as an essential and continuous effort that presents ASC as a place that offers something that potential employees are looking for,” said Kern.

“One of the best parts of talent acquisition being a part of All Things People is that all aspects of the work context influence our ability to hire top talent. Strong and skilled leadership, well-crafted teams utilizing efficient processes, supportive leaders and coworkers, and the ability to develop oneself and find meaning in work are all things that require the involvement and effort of the other ATP groups.”

In the next installment, we’ll look at how ASC is empowering its current force through personal fulfilment classes, leadership opportunities, mentoring and more to keep its professional workforce “ready and resilient.”