FORT BELVOIR, Va. (Army News Service, Oct. 5, 2007) - The Army took a major step to recognize and advance Civilian contributions to the Army's success by designating a champion for enhancing civilian training and education and for applying those enhancements to the civilian workforce systemically. At a Pentagon ceremony, Army Secretary Pete Geren designated Deputy Undersecretary Thomas E. Kelly III as his representative to lead the effort to champion Army Civilians. This appointment of a Civilian Corps Champion and leader to represent this undertaking is vital step in assuring the Army meets the complex challenges of a changing world."

"We rely increasingly on Civilians to help lead and manage a changing Army, and rightly so," Geren said. "Civilians are in key leadership roles. They are deploying in greater numbers to support the operational force and our Civilians have helped pace our operational contributions to the long war by accepting a greater roles and responsibilities for generating the force."

Kelly's appointment supports the Secretary's key strategic imperative which is to transform the Army to win the persistent conflict against extremism. It addresses accelerating and improving leader development, for both uniformed and civilian personnel. Designating a senior executive advocate will expedite the Civilian Corps' training transformation, and reflects the Army's responsibility to enable Civilians to achieve their full potential.

Army Initiative 5 (AI 5) "Accelerate Leader Development" and the four other Initiatives stem from a review directed by Gen. George W. Casey Jr. shortly after he became Army Chief of Staff. He spent his first 100 days assessing the state of the Army, and his transition team identified areas to improve current readiness and ensure future capabilities.

The AI-5 Working Group, co-chaired by the Deputy Under Secretary Mr. Thomas E. Kelly III and Gen. William S. Wallace, TRADOC commanding general, presented a list of Quick Wins, along with longer-term recommendations, to Gen. Casey in July.

All the Army Initiatives are building on past efforts, but AI-5 benefits in particular from significant work the Army already has done on leader development.

"It was our job to identify previously recommended actions that had languished for whatever reason and to get them 'un-stuck,'" Kelly said. "The roadmap for our efforts was really the AL 21 implementation plan."

Army Leaders for the 21st Century (AL21) is an initiative to build leaders akin to pentathletes, people skilled in many disciplines and able to rapidly transition between complex tasks. Leaders who are functional experts with additional skills and abilities able to lead, plan and complete an array of disjointed tasks that complete a whole. It stems from the work of a task force formed in 2005 to review education, training, and assignments for leaders.

"The strength of AL21," Wallace said, "is that it addressed leaders in all cohorts - officer, NCO, and civilian. AI-5 extends that effort, sharing best practices and finding efficient ways to accelerate the development of all our Army leaders. The focus is on growing agile and adaptive leaders across the Army who can handle the challenges of full-spectrum operations in an era of persistent conflict."

Guided by AL21, the Army started overhauling the Civilian Education System in 2006. The Army also adopted a Civilian Corps Creed. It symbolizes and expresses the vital role of Army Civilians in dealing with the full range of challenges to providing Soldiers the resources, quality of life, infrastructure, and other support to achieve the Army's mission.

Other AI-5 recommendations include a review of civilian management systems and increasing access to developmental opportunities beyond the Civilian Education System.

Kelly's designation as Civilian Corps Champion will help the Army meet such objectives as supporting the National Security Personnel System, developing a "people tie" to the Strategic Readiness System, and integrating and strengthening relationships among the officer, NCO, and civilian cohorts, Geren said.

"The Army Civilian Corps is a vital part of the Army's contribution to our nation's security, and is critical to the Army's success in peace and war. We absolutely must recognize and sustain this essential resource," Geren said

"Leader development is not a cost, but an investment in the Army and our Nation's future," he added.