CAMP ARIFJAN, KUWAIT – Lt. General Donna Martin, the 67th Inspector General of the Army, and Sergeant Major Larry Orvis, the 8th Inspector General Sergeant Major of the Army, visited Soldiers on Camp Arifjan and Camp Buehring, Kuwait, April 17-18.
The Department of the Army Inspector General completed a year-long, Army-wide, multi-component survey for the New Soldier Experience inspection.
Martin and Orvis held sessions with command teams from company grade and above to provide insight in the New Soldier Experience Inspection report centered around the expectations of the Army’s newest Soldiers and why they joined.
Martin expressed that while the report focused on recruiting and retention, “we wanted to understand this experience that our newest Soldiers were having.”
The report is comprised of findings from 42 Army installations, 268 town hall engagements, 664 interviews, 3,882 engagements through sensing sessions, and 20,830 total engagements with new Soldiers. Martin mentioned one of the expectations of new Soldiers is engaged leadership, “Soldiers want to know that you’re engaged with them.”
Exemplifying leadership engagement, Martin and Orvis answered questions from Soldiers on topics ranging from comprehensive and accessible health and wellness care to safe and secure housing and billeting.
In addition to engaged leadership, other findings included financial stability, quality and predictable job training, and innovative solutions to dining options. Martin said that understanding and addressing these expectations is important because “this is an initial impression of how we take care of our Soldiers.”
“Having the Army Inspector General visit Camp Arifjan is an opportunity for soldiers to have their opinions heard. By focusing on putting people first, she’s able to shine a light on issues [that] we may not be able to impact,” said Maj. Wendy Stoneburg, 1st Theater Sustainment Command Operational Command Post Inspector General. “Also, Lt. Gen. Martin’s mentorship to the inspector generals on Camp Arifjan is a valuable tool we can use to improve readiness while supporting the total Army team.”
The Department of the Army Inspector General’s New Soldier Experience Inspection report provides leaders with replicable practices that support the Secretary of the Army’s priorities of building positive command climates and retaining talent. Adoption of these practices may lead to higher first-term retention, more cohesive small units, and increased Army readiness.
"At the end of the day, we all have to get to an end strength. So we want to do everything we can to get everyone to stay in [the Army] because that's less people that we have to recruit," stated Orvis.