By Mr. James Brabenec (IMCOM)January 10, 2013
FORT SILL, Okla.-- Maj. Gen. Richard Mustion, Army Human Resources Command commanding general, visited Fort Sill Jan. 7 and 8 to discuss personnel issues with Soldiers and leaders here.
He said the command used to send representatives to the field to talk personnel matters, but moved away from that due to the demands of the ongoing war. Now that the Army is looking to the future after Afghanistan, he said the command is getting back to engaging the Army to convey a synchronized and consistent message on all things related to personnel programs.
"First we have to ensure we maintain the readiness of the Army as we reposture the force coming out of Afghanistan," said the general from Fort Knox, Ky. "Second, as we look to draw our Army down we need to [balance the force] so we're able to continue to meet our nation's requirements."
The general shared the Army's efforts to show care and compassion to its Soldiers and their families as the drawdown continues.
"We're striving to provide the right transition programs for our Soldiers because that's vitally important now. As we reset the force and look at its health, we need to stay better engaged to ensure we're doing all we can to reduce their stress," he said. He said readiness is more than just numbers, because behind each number is a Soldier.
For example, he noted the NCO Contact program that addresses NCOs before placing them on assignment. The intent is to make sure the Army balances readiness with the requirements of Soldiers and their families.
"We need to make sure we're doing the right thing for our Army and our Soldiers as we move forward," Mustion said.
He then spoke about Army families and expressed how leadership is keenly aware of how important they are to the team.
"As we make assignments and look at career and leader development of Soldiers, we have to consider the impact of what we do on families," he said. "That's part of our engagement strategy that we're aware of their concerns and display the care, compassion, flexibility and agility to take care of families while developing each Soldier."
Mustion mentioned the 490,000 active duty force goal the Army must reach by the end of fiscal 2017. To meet that requirement, leadership has issued guidance to drawdown at a gradual pace the Army controls.
"As we move the Army down, we're telling Soldiers every job is important. Soldiers should excel in every position they are in and make sure their performance and potential are documented in their evaluation reports," he said. "We will rely on these reports to help shape who we retain in the Army."
The general emphasized Soldiers at all levels must look at their personnel records and ensure they are accurate and current.
"The after action reports our centralized promotion selection board members provide the Army have indicated we're not doing as good as we should in maintaining the accuracy of our Soldiers' records. The My Board File automated system allows Soldiers to view the same record selection boards see. Soldiers should make sure all parts are up-to-date and posted correctly in their records."
For those Soldiers looking to retire or separate, the general said the Army has a very good transition assistance program to help them.
He said the Army wants to help Soldiers transition effectively and to prepare them for the civilian sector whether through education, developing a business or helping them find a job anywhere across the country.
"We've implemented a strategic outlook office in the Army G1 that's engaging industry, helping to cultivate and identify job opportunities. Through the ACAP, we've put together a portal where Soldiers can view jobs across the country. Our ACAP and transition offices are more engaged with helping link Soldiers with jobs they are qualified for and helping them build the right transition program to prepare them for success," he said.
He added the Army is also communicating Guard and Reserve service to help each maintain their readiness as the active duty force diminishes.
Mustion said feedback has been positive here. He said as the Army implements changes Soldiers may become uncertain how those changes will affect them or misunderstand the intended message.
"We came to help clarify issues and dispel rumors or myths," he said. "Feedback also helps us indentify gaps in personnel programs as we work to make things better for the Army."