A Transformed Personnel System for the Future

By Hagenbeck, Franklin L. | Army, October 2004 | Go to article overview

A Transformed Personnel System for the Future


Hagenbeck, Franklin L., Army


In 1944, the United States was engaged in a titanic struggle for its very survival with Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Sixty years later, we again find ourselves embroiled in another world war with stakes just as high-the global war on terrorism. As with World War II, the Army is on the leading edge of the fight, and defeat is not an option. To win World War II, soldiers had to be ready, tough and determined. Similarly, soldiers now must live the warrior ethos every day. The Army must have a personnel system that fully and effectively supports them and their families. Systems and structures of previous years will not do in today's environment. Therefore, the Army's personnel community is currently taking bold steps to overhaul a system that has ably served the Army for many years. Fiscal year 2004 has seen tremendous movement, and the coming year will see even more.

The Army vision is focused on the soldier. In fact, a recent Army white paper describes the Army's commitment this way, "Soldiers are the centerpiece of the Army. Flexible, adaptive and competent soldiers infused with the Army's warrior ethos fight wars and win the peace. Soldiers are the focal point of the systems, technologies, platforms and organizations employed and developed for the Army. These new technologies will be empowerments for decisive outcomes in joint operations. Families and DA [Department of the Army] civilians are integral components of the Army."

The Army G-I's vision is to man the Army with quality people and provide the Army team with the best possible environment to grow and develop personally and professionally. We will accomplish this through a comprehensive and integrated Army human resource system. All actions, policies and programs are focused on our requirements to the joint force while we ensure that we maintain personal, professional and leadership opportunities for soldiers and DA civilians.

The Army G-I 's primary responsibilities are to man the force (Current and Future) and facilitate its well-being, nonnegotiable contracts with the Army team. Key to our every effort is maintaining readiness.

During the past year, the Army embarked on the most significant restructuring since World War II, and we focused on three objectives to support this historic effort: manning the force; well-being; and personnel Transformation.

The Army's new manning guidance represents a significant departure from the past and is the shape of things to come in the personnel arena. We have fundamentally shifted the emphasis in manning our formations from a focus on individual replacement to providing fully manned, ready, capable and deployable units for combatant commanders. The end state we seek is broad: training continuity, leadership stability, unit cohesion, enhanced unit readiness and combat effectiveness, and greater deployment predictability for the Army team. Manning programs will stabilize soldiers and families by slowing down permanent change-of-station moves and extending tour lengths and will synchronize soldiers' assignments with unit operational cycles. We are revising manning policies and the way we access, train, develop, assign, evaluate, promote, retain and separate members of the Army team.

During the last year, we used all the personnel management tools in our inventory to shape, structure and distribute Army personnel to man the force. Current operational demands require sustained levels of readiness greater than the individual manning system can provide.

The Army is implementing force stabilization with two complementary pillars-stabilization and unit-focused stability. These programs will increase combat readiness while stabilizing the force and providing the Army team with increased predictability.

With stabilization, tour lengths for soldiers and their families will be extended to provide units increased cohesion, readiness, stability and predictability. Soldiers and families will move only when necessary to support the needs of the Army, leader development and their preferences. …

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