JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. – A simple line chart with “character” on the Y-axis and “competence” on the X-axis laid out a pictorial foundation of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Civilian Implementation Plan at the beginning of a recent townhall hosted by the command’s top civilian leader.
With the second iteration of the Army Civilian Implementation Plan officially on the street as of October of this year, Michael D. Formica, Executive Deputy to the Commanding General, TRADOC, and leaders from Civilian Human Resources Department laid out how the command intends to improve their Army civilian professional workforce. More than 300 Army civilian professionals across the TRADOC enterprise attended the session both virtually and in-person.
According to Formica, who has been involved in modernizing the Army civilian profession since the Civilian Corp’s creation in 2010, the direct correlation of Army civilian professionals, who are competent people of character creates committed individuals ready to put in the hard work to drive command’s like TRADOC forward.
“You are part of the profession that is the U.S. Army,” Formica said. “That comes with requirements to be an individual of character who is focused on being committed to the role they play in this organization that is ultimately moving the Army forward. Victory starts here. The Army doesn’t exist without us. You’ve got to buy into that.”
Otherwise known as the Three C’s, character, competence and commitment, are the attributes expected of each Army civilian professional within TRADOC.
The discussion laid out the way ahead for TRADOC Army civilian professionals, shaped by five objectives of the commanding general; acquire, train, develop, shape and guide.
“These priorities and the TRADOC CIP ensure this command is on, and stays on, a sustainable, strategic path to success,” Formica said. “TRADOC is filling gaps, through these five priorities, to build the force our nation depends on through at least 2030. Army civilian professionals must be the ones to see the path, and the challenges along the way, to that success.”
The TRADOC CIP, while nested with the larger Army CIP and even further the Army People Strategy, places a heavy emphasis on building and developing highly effective supervisors.
Across TRADOC, there are more than 2,300 supervisors. Nearly 200 of those are in the TRADOC headquarters alone, Formica explained.
Outlined during the town hall, many of the initiatives and programs within the TRADOC CIP that have either been introduced or are being developed involve supervisor training in areas of professional development, and performance management within their own teams.
“Leadership is the key ingredient to most things,” Formica said. “If you have highly qualified and trained leaders, you can solve just about any problem.”
While the use of the Individual Development Plan and DoD Performance Management Appraisal Program are already necessary pieces of creating training and professional development plans for each civilian, a greater emphasis will be placed on supervisors to be using these tools to lead their teams, Formica explained.
The CIP also aims to provide supervisors with a means of celebrating the commitment and competence of their Army civilian professionals through new programs like the TRADOC Army Civilian Professional Pinning Ceremony.
Other initiatives focus on the talent management of civilians from the very start of their careers.
The TRADOC CIP can change the culture of how TRADOC hires, trains and develops civilians, Formica explained, even from the beginning, driven by a new comprehensive Onboarding and Acculturation portal, which will be live on the TRADOC website by the new year.
The portal will include not just links to required trainings but in-depth information to what TRADOC is.
In addition, each newly sworn in Army civilian professionals will dedicate 40 hours to completing the Civilian Education System Foundational Course.
“This provides them with the basics of our profession,” Formica said. “We have to enable them from the start to want to be the best and that starts with demonstrating the importance of them in this bigger picture. What they do is not a job. They are an Army civilian professional performing service to this nation.”
Additional programs like a mentorship program and improvements to the TRADOC Intern and Fellow Program will continue to grow a diverse and motivated workforce, Formica said.
The initiatives not already in place within the TRADOC CIP will be fully implemented by the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2023.
“We’ve got a good way ahead for our civilian professionals,” Formica said. “But we must follow up. We must communicate and demonstrate action of the words we said during the event. Action speaks volumes.”