WASHINGTON (Aug. 17, 2012) -- How can the Army improve awareness of and access to, and project requirements for Army civilian functional and leader development training programs and opportunities? In a nutshell, that was the primary focus of this past week's annual Army Civilian Training and Leader Development, or CTLD, Symposium sponsored by the Army G-3/5/7 Training Directorate CTLD team.

The three-day event in the National Capital Region for Civilian Education System, or CES, quota managers, workforce development and command training managers, and functional career representatives and civilian career program, or CP, managers from across the Army included discussions from the strategic to the tactical levels.

"This week is about people and strategy," said Vicki Brown, the Army's chief of civilian training and leader development in the Army G-3/5/7 Training Directorate. Brown said the symposium was designed to empower participants, giving them the information and resources they need to provide the highest levels of service to their commanders, supervisors and employees.

Presentations ranged from an update on civilian workforce transformation initiatives, Army Learning Model and the civilian role in the Army Profession, to submitting command civilian training requirements in the Total Army Centralized Individual Training Solicitation, or TACITS, system and using Army Career Tracker to prepare and track Individual Development Plans. To help develop synergy, participants and topics spanned the overlapping personnel and training program areas of the Army G-1 (civilian employee competencies and career maps) and Army G-3/5/7 (Civilian Training Management and Policies), as well as workforce development, which is most often a completely separate entity.

The symposium also included Department of Defense strategies on leader development strategy and core leadership competencies, to include leveraging inter-agency training programs across the federal government from both a resource and enterprise-wide learning perspective.

"We want civilians to be able to effectively lead DOD's complex missions," said David Rude, chief of the Leader and Professional Development Division, DOD Civilian Personnel Management Service. "Our focus is making sure that civilians realize their fullest potential -- whatever that potential is, wherever their talents and passions take them -- that we have a culture that is supportive to help them get there and to therefore achieve the organization's mission."

Dustin Brown, Office of Management and Budget in the Executive Office of the President at the White House, began the conference with a presentation focused on program efficiency, evaluation and improvement.

"Too often we are more concerned with putting a plan into place than actually implementing the plan. Leaders and managers are responsible for results and must put as much emphasis on implementation of good ideas as the ideas themselves," he said.

Anthony Stamilio, deputy assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs, discussed his recent briefing at the chief of staff of the Army's Leader Development Forum, where he talked about civilian workforce leader development with a very receptive audience.

He said, "There is some pretty significant momentum," in Army-wide emphasis on civilian leader development, but work still needs to be done in communicating to leaders and employees.

Continued Army-wide education is key, according to Col. Todd A. McCaffrey, Director of Training, Army G-3/5/7. McCaffrey said he was more than 20 years into his career before he was really exposed to the contributions of Army civilians.

"I don't need to tell you how critical Army civilians are to the mission we do every day," he said. But that understanding is generally lacking on the uniformed side, especially at the more junior levels where many officers have little day-to-day interaction with Army civilians. He encouraged participants to take every opportunity to educate uniformed leaders on the importance of civilians and civilian training opportunities.

According to the 2011 Center for Army Leadership Survey of Army Leadership Army Civilian Leaders report released last week, the leader competency "develops others" continues to receive the highest number of negative assessments, with only 52 percent rated as effective or very effective, according to Vicki Brown. She said that presents a clear challenge in ensuring civilian leaders have the training they need to be effective coaches and mentors and lead their teams and organizations to success.

"The role of the Army civilians is going to become more and more critical," McCaffrey added. Army civilians currently comprise some 60 percent of the Army's generating force - the support force that prepares, trains and educates Soldiers for current and future operations.

"We are past the days when we can leave the Army civilian corps at home, deploy the Army, execute our mission and do that with just green suiters. It's just not possible. It is no more possible to do that than it is to leave the Reserve component at home," McCaffrey said.

Brown said the symposium centered on tying all the various resources, tools and information together, and emphasized the need for all participants to work together as a team to strengthen the Army civilian corps for the future. She also focused on developing a Community of Practice for all Training Managers to facilitate an environment of interconnectedness among those who manage the training function.

"The event was informative, interesting, and engaging," said Tamara Elston, from the Installation Management Command's G-1 Talent Management Office. "Every aspect of [the training] was pertinent to what we do every day. It's an exciting time in our arena with civilian workforce transformation and the release of Army Career Tracker for Civilians."

Elston said it was beneficial to network with the G-3 CTLD staff, as well as the more than 100 professionals who attended from across the various training, workforce development and career program lanes.

For more information about Army civilian training and leader development programs, policies and opportunities, visit the CTLD website at www.civiliantraining.army.mil or connect on Facebook at www.facebook.com/armyciviliantraining.