CECOM ILSC Learns About Army Leadership Management

By Kevin LagowskiJanuary 17, 2024

COL Trina Lee addresses the CECOM ILSC workforce at their Town Hall.
COL Trina Lee addresses the CECOM ILSC workforce at their Town Hall. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

CECOM Integrated Logistics Support Center (ILSC) Military Deputy COL Trina Lee is no stranger to leadership concepts and how they impact all levels of the command. Having graduated from the U.S. Army War College this past summer, COL Lee brings an operational perspective to the Army civilian corps at the ILSC, as she aims to bridge operational gaps and leveraging the qualities of leadership that are so familiar to her and which will aid her upcoming assignment commanding the 59th Ordnance Brigade at Fort Gregg-Adams, VA.

At the ILSC’s recent Town Hall, Exceeding Vision, COL Lee stood front and center as the voice of the Warfighter in civilian support activities as she addressed hundreds of in person and virtual attendees about Army officer career timelines and some of the career-long assessments that apply to officers.

One main point echoed by COL Lee, according to ADP 6-22, is that the rigorous processes in place allow the Army to “develop adaptable leaders able to achieve mission accomplishment in dynamic, unstable, and complex environments” through education, training, and experience. In the long run, the Army cultivates leaders with the expectation that they will excel in three areas: trust, discipline, and commitment. COL Lee elaborated on these three tenets for the ILSC workforce.

The idea of ‘Trust’ also encompasses the virtues of integrity, loyalty, and a sense of duty to a leader’s teammates and the overall mission. Trust allows the Army to strengthen itself by embracing the concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion.

When it comes to ‘Discipline’, this means that dignity and respect are always on full display, and that the right choice is made through personal courage even in the most difficult circumstances. “When someone has to sit us down to have a difficult conversation, we must be willing to receive constructive criticism and understand that this serves to make us better,” said COL Lee. Leaders must manage risk and take responsibility when it comes to the “hard rights” that they must navigate.

Lastly, ‘Commitment’ is defined by selfless service, being able to accomplish the mission objectives while also caring for Soldiers and their families. There is often a fine line in this area, but properly prepared leaders are able to successfully walk the walk by communicating effectively as they strive to sustain the Warfighter.

COL Lee drove home the point of these expectations by leaning on her own deployment experiences, saying “I have been deployed four times, and every time, a parent or spouse has looked at me as we were boarding the bus and told me to bring their spouse home or bring their son or daughter home. And I have never come home without one of them. Ultimately, it’s all about what we do to protect our Warfighters. In our organization, we must understand that this is not just a job. There is a bigger picture on the other side because soldiers’ lives are at stake. Every decision you make is wrapped around a soldier’s life and, if you look at it this way, you will do things very differently.”

Just as important as identifying the defining characteristics of exemplary leadership, COL Lee also spoke to some traits that are counterproductive, ones that violate Army core leader competencies or values and can very easily contribute to a toxic environment. These include behaviors that are abusive, self-serving, erratic, or corrupt, as well as simple leadership incompetence.

These behaviors can be seen in many ways, such as bullying, actively creating conflict, display a lack of empathy, constantly blaming others or deflecting responsibility, misusing government resources, being generally dishonest, and a host of other red flags that can identify someone as being miscast in a leadership role. Said COL Lee, “We must be good stewards of the profession and exhibit personal courage to police ourselves and our peers to see these types of behaviors. It is very easy to exhibit these behaviors and to erode our organizations and teams and kill morale and welfare.”

The United States Army has a keen interest in cultivating its leadership base and putting its talented individuals into areas where they will have the maximum level of positive impact for the Warfighter. Standards of evaluation are in place, but we must first honestly assess ourselves to ensure that we are up to the challenges put before us. True leadership begins within.