Army Civilian Leadership Training-Past, Present and Future

Article excerpt

"Army leaders are failing to provide effective leadership to the... Army civilians ... Their concern is primarily for the soldier, not the civilian member of the Army Team... Commanders don't understand the civilian personnel system; most would prefer not to deal with it and. . they often aren't ng to learn "

WITH PUBLICATION of the June 1999 US Army Field Manual (FM) 22-100, Army Leadership, the Army moves a step closer to making the Total Army a ren The name change from Military Leadership to Army Leadership signals that this latest version is different and more inclusive than its predecessors Previous editions were narrowly focused on the uniformed portion of the Army at battalion and lower levels and pretty much excluded the rest of the Army, including a segment that today amounts to about 20 percent of the Total Army personnel structure-Department of the Army civilians (DACs). This new FM addresses all Army leaders-military and civilian.

The FM's authors have incorporated references to DACs throughout the new manual, as well as vignettes that address situations which civilian employees are likely to encounter. The scope also extends beyond that of earlier versions and lays out three distinct levels of leadership applicable throughout the Total Army-direct, organizational and strategic.

The term Total Army has been widely used for some time now in pronouncements by the Army's senior leaders. References to the Total Army usually extend to include Active Component, Army National Guard, US Army Reserve and DACs. The new FM 22-100 follows that format and acknowledges that the Total Army today is dependent upon its soldiers and more than 232,000 civilian employees. That has not always been true. There were times-not too long ago, in fact-when conditions were different.

The Past

Fifteen years ago, Raymond J. Sumser, then director of Civilian Personnel for the Army, reported that "Too little attention is being given to identifying civilians with potential for advancement or to systematically determine the skills . . . needed to prepare such high caliber individuals for progressively more responsible positions.... The Army is not guiding the . . . development of its future civilian managers in ways which assure most effective and efficient accomplishment of the Army goals."'

Sumser's statements were echoed in early 1986 when the Department of the Army Inspector General issued findings in a similar vein: "Army leaders are failing to provide effective leadership to the .. Army civilians.... Their concern is primarily for the soldier, not the civilian member of the Army Team.... Commanders don't understand the civilian personnel system; most would prefer not to deal with it; and . . . they often aren't willing to learn."2

Similar concerns about deploying civilians to the war zone during Operation Desert Storm were reported in The Whirlwind War: The United States Army in Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Deployment of civilians to Southwest Asia may have resulted more from the conditions facing the Army at the time than from any planning beforehand. 'The Army as a whole had done little planning for the use of . . . civilians in a war zone. It soon discovered, however, that civilians were needed to fill a number of skilled positions, such as air traffic safety controllers, port safety officers, logistics management specialists, automation and computer specialists, engineers, equipment repair technicians and communications specialists. Most civilians in Southwest Asia worked at modifying and maintaining equipment.... At peak deployment in February [1991] 1,500 civilians were in theater.... [A] great deal of time, confusion and aggravation could have been avoided had the deployments been better planned . . . [S]ome analysts thought that future deployments would work better if the use of civilians . . . was incorporated into Army plans."3

More recently, then Secretary of the Army Togo D. …