SMDC is Army’s Best Place to Work
Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, commanding general of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, leads his USASMDC team up Stairwell B at the command’s Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, headquarters. With a “People First” leadership philosophy, SMDC ties with U.S. Army Special Operations Command for first place ranking of the Best Places to Work in the Army in 2022. (U.S. Army photo by Jason Cutshaw) (Photo Credit: Jason Cutshaw) VIEW ORIGINAL

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command’s Best Places to Work engagement and satisfaction score rose for the third year in a row to tie as the best command to work for in the Army in 2022.

USASMDC received an overall engagement and satisfaction Score of 76.1. It is also the top-ranking Army organization on Redstone Arsenal and rated higher than any command across all branches of the U.S. military: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Space Force.

“In case you haven’t heard, SMDC is the #1 best place to work in the Army, tied with our triad partner, U.S. Army Special Operations Command,” said Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, USASMDC commanding general. “I am truly humbled and honored to be on the SMDC Team and a part of the SMDC Family. I am both proud and grateful for your efforts in helping our command achieve this recognition.”

Karbler said USASMDC’s results showed its employees feel valued, and that what they do directly contributes to the success of the mission.

“As we continue down the path of improvement, the Civilian Workforce Development group led two brainstorming sessions last month; one for non-supervisors and one for supervisors,” Karbler said. “Great feedback, the team reviewed all the notes and are developing action items to address your concerns. I want to thank everyone who took time to participate in these sessions and to thank you for your openness and willingness to share your thoughts, ideas, and recommendations.

The Best Places to Work in the Federal Government scores are calculated by the Partnership for Public Service, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization, and Boston Consulting Group. It offers an assessment of how federal public servants view their jobs and workplaces, providing employee perspectives on leadership, pay, innovation, work-life balance and other issues.

Compared to all five military branches, in 2022 USASMDC was the highest ranked command in work-life balance and teamwork and the second highest ranked command in effective leadership.

Dana Henslee, organizational adviser for the USASMDC Civilian Workforce Development, said she remembered when the command first started talking about “Best Place to Work” in 2018. Leadership visited Redstone Arsenal’s Marshall Space Flight Center to learn how NASA became one of the highest ranked “Best Places to Work” so they could leverage their ideas.

“When Lt. Gen. Karbler arrived, he had a goal to be the number one best place to work, so that gave us the momentum we needed to really move forward,” Henslee said. “We have focused a lot of attention on trying to address personnel concerns, improving the work environment and working toward this goal. We have been eyeing this for a long time, so it’s very exciting to finally achieve our goal.”

In 2020, USASMDC began conducting “brainstorming” sessions that all command personnel were invited to participate in. During these sessions the command focused the discussion on specific areas that needed to improve. Ideas or recommendations that were actionable were developed into action items.

“Another initiative that has had a huge impact is the commanding general’s ‘People First,’ where individuals are recognized in the CG’s weekly meeting and then he personally reaches out to those individuals who were recognized,” Henslee said. “I also think giving personnel the opportunity to be heard and then them seeing that actions were being taken based on their input made a difference.”

Henslee said there are a couple of areas like communication and recognition to work on, so the command will continue to highlight these areas and find ways to make improvements. She added that the command will continue to provide personnel with an opportunity to share their ideas and recommendations, as well as a way for them to be heard.

“I am very excited to achieve this goal,” Henslee said. “Even though we did some good things and made improvements, what had the biggest impact was the support from our senior leaders and the top down emphasis on making SMDC a great place to work. Without that support and emphasis we would never have achieved this goal.”

Richard P. De Fatta, USASMDC deputy to the commander, said being considered the best place to work amongst all Army organizations is an amazing accomplishment and reflects leadership that cares enough about USASMDC’s incredible team of professionals to always strive to make a tangible difference.

“I could not be prouder of an organizational culture that provides opportunities to express any concerns and consciously strives to address those concerns with tangible improvements,” De Fatta said. “It is critical that our SMDC teammates take the time and effort to discuss, understand, and suggest ways we can improve the command’s operational environment.”

The best leadership initiatives are not effective unless they are based on actual team perspectives and concerns,” De Fatta said.

“Otherwise, we can only make incremental improvements and may not significantly impact conditions. We are committed to staying on top and will double down our efforts to maintain a safe, meaningful, and effective working environment,” he added. “Our people are our greatest force multiplying resource and deserve the best we can offer.”