By Audra Calloway
During a two-day session at the Pentagon last month, approximately 30 members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) gathered to discuss how to improve civilian career development.
Army Under Secretary Brad R. Carson hosted the event, which was meant to help shape policy changes regarding how the Army hires, trains, develops, and sustains its civilian workforce.
“Many civilians are expected to come to their jobs with the requisite skills and do not always receive the necessary training to advance their talents and careers,” said Scott Rowell, Civilian Workforce Transformation Integrator.
“This is different from Soldiers, who know that the Army has a standardized system to help them develop the technical, managerial and leadership skills needed to advance,” he said.
The Civilian Workforce Transformation (CWT) program was created to help devise an enterprise approach to how the Army manages its civilian corps. The organization is creating this approach based on the highly effective, centrally managed and resourced professional development model that is used for military members.
“The primary goal of CWT is to produce a more flexible and adaptable Capabilities-based Civilian workforce to better support Army goals and missions,” Rowell said. “The Army faces significant challenges in the future. As the number of active duty Soldiers decreases, the Army is calling on its civilian corps to assume greater levels of responsibility and accountability.”
“Under Secretary Carson understands that Army civilians are a vital part of the workforce, and provide technical expertise and continuity to the military. His challenge to senior civilian leaders was to define what success is in regards to civilian professional development, what it will take to get there, and the metrics senior leaders will use to know they are successful,” said Rowell.
Senior leaders focused on three main topics during the meeting, and each topic discussion was lead by an SES from TRADOC (Training and Doctrine Command), Army G-8 and Army G-4.
The topics included:
- Requirements: Generating guidance on how the Army determines and synchronizes civilian requirements across the workforce.
- Integration: Integrating the various phases of human capital lifecycle, from hiring to training to sustaining to retiring.
- Talent Management: Determining how the Army can better manage, develop and grow its civilian talent.
Around 30 potential initiatives were proposed during the SES meeting, including creating a mentoring culture, improving the supervisor/employee relationship and educating prior military on how to best supervise civilian employees versus Soldiers.
The Army is deciding which initiatives will be implemented, and how.
In the past four years, the Army has made significant progress standardizing the civilian profession, Rowell said.
The Army has placed every civilian in a structured career program, developed civilian leadership and education trainings, and created the Senior Enterprise Talent Management, or SETM, program to provide for a more coordinated management plan to prepare senior civilians at the GS-14 and GS-15 levels to assume duty positions of greater responsibility.
Army civilians can learn about their career program and professional development opportunities by logging into their Army Career Tracker (ACT) account at https://actnow.army.mil.
The ACT provides Army personnel — enlisted, officer and civilian cohorts — a system to manage their professional development and to monitor progress toward training, education, and career goals.
Note: This article is the first in a series of articles highlighting key programs for Army civilians.