Adjutant General's Corps Regimental Association

Shaping your Organization’s Future – One Soldier at a Time

As an avid football fan, one of my favorite times of the year is the NFL draft.  I am drawn to this process not just because of the implications for my favorite team, but also because of the hiring process.  NFL General Managers for all 32 NFL teams analyze critical statistics for over 3,000 collegiate athletes to ensure they select the right player for their respective team during the draft.  Every player is drafted with the intention that he will uphold their organization’s values, mesh with their culture, and perform their role on the team resulting in victories.  Selecting the right player will positively impact each NFL team for years; the future of the organization is shaped by this particular personnel transaction.

The Army and the NFL are similar when it comes to the implications of personnel moves.  I realize that I am drawn to this process because as an HR operator, my most important task is ensuring that my unit has the “right players”.  I am the personnel “General Manager (GM)” for my organization and I’m charged with accomplishing my Commander’s vision by shaping my unit’s personnel readiness, one Soldier at a time.  Often this task is overshadowed by the mountains of daily Essential Personnel Services (EPS) actions; however, the way that every S1/G1/HR Section must make itself invaluable to their respective organization is through strength management.

The first step in strength management is identifying what your unit or organization currently has in its personnel inventory, which skill sets are missing, projected additions/losses, and the Commander’s priorities at every level.  This is accomplished by utilizing our numerous Army HR weapons systems (numerous for now, but will be streamlined with the fielding of IPPS-A (Integrated Personnel and Pay System-Army)) to build products such as MOSIs and personnel slates to not just account for Soldiers, but to also project what your organization will look like in the future.

Being able to project personnel shortfalls is essential to every Army unit or organization.  How can an organization embark on a road to deployment without knowing when crew strength targets will be met?  As HR operators, we must let it be known that we have these abilities so that when your organization plans crew served gunneries and CTC rotations, Army HR professionals are involved in the dialogue to ensure that the unit has the right personnel on the ground, at the right time, to ensure success during critical training events.

The 101st Division Artillery (DIVARTY) S1 section accomplishes this by centering their personnel conversations with the Division G1 on the Brigade’s upcoming WFX and pushing to receive personnel gains prior to the exercise.  This involves identifying where the Division G1 can divert late gains to other units so that the DIVARTY can receive early Soldier arrivals.  Attempting to defer DIVARTY Soldiers who will PCS that the Division doesn’t have projected inbounds for, and expediting inprocessing with the DIVARTY’s inbound Soldiers through the installation reception process, are HR tools available to support the DIVARTY’s personnel readiness.  We execute Brigade HR processes and start these conversations with our higher HQs early because they are our implied tasks in order to ensure units across the Division (like our Divarty) are properly manned.  A S1/G1/HR Section that is unable to project personnel strength cannot do this and therefore faces an extremely uphill battle to being invaluable to their organization.

Unlike the NFL, the majority of Soldiers assigned to Army units or organizations are selected by Human Resources Command (HRC) instead of a draft.  In order to be an effective HR operator, we cannot just annotate that we have an inbound.  This will not help shape any unit’s future.  As Army HR operators we must do more. 

Upon identifying a personnel gain, we must immediately begin an analysis from a GM perspective.  Our DIVARTY S1 Section does this by ensuring personal data is built into our strength reports such as current date of rank (DOR), basic active service date (BASD), medical readiness classification (MRC) code, suspension of favorable actions (FLAG) info, security clearance, professional development education status, and additional skill identifier/special qualification identifier (ASI/SQI).  All of this data helps to determine if the inbound Soldier has the correct skill set the DIVARTY needs, if they are eligible to fill open positions, and if they are the right fit for our Brigade.

Over the past six months, our S1 Section has done this type of analysis and it has allowed us to engage in conversations with HRC career branches and the 101st G1 PRM section to ensure the DIVARTY is getting the “right players”.  Our strength tools can identify inbound Soldiers who may have just reclassed and instead of throwing the Soldier directly into the fire, we can make their transition easier by attempting to build overlap with who they are replacing.  In addition  we can assign a sponsor that can act as a mentor, and/or switch inbound Soldiers with another subordinate unit if it supports a better readiness fit. 

Army HR operators further become invaluable to their organization by using the personnel data collected to begin educating inbound Soldiers about their Commander’s vision/intent/goals.  Ideally, we could pass the information off to sponsoring command teams, who tailor their sponsorship to the specific Soldier.  A perfect example for the 101st Airborne Division is identifying Soldiers who are not Air Assault qualified since it is a key metric that is tracked at the Division level.  Reaching out to these Soldiers and relaying expectations prior to their arrival decreases the amount of time between arrival and Air Assault school attendance, and increases the amount of time the Soldier can prepare to hit the ground running upon arrival.  Soldiers who know arrival expectations are more likely to focus on achieving and improving required unit skills just as an NFL prospect would work on a skill that would make him attractive to an NFL team.

Projecting inbound DIVARTY Soldiers can be challenging as it is up to HR Operators to find ways to navigate around HRC targets, Army manning shortages, and distribution cycles to get the right Soldiers into our DIVARTY formations.  We are also charged with figuring out how to retain key personnel within our formations, processing personnel out of the Army when required, and tracking readiness.  Our Commanders measure our HR value and personnel readiness on how effective we are at filling our personnel shortages, retaining Soldiers, providing solutions to personnel readiness issues, and explaining realistic manning goals.  In order to do this, we have to understand the Active Component Manning Guidance (ACMG), the Commander’s personnel priorities, and the HR resources at our disposal.  The DIVARTY S1 section proved how invaluable it was over the past six months by reducing non-deployability statistics and simultaneously filling positions that have been vacant within the Brigade for extended periods, and moving excess personnel to fill shortages. 

Understanding all of the Army HR resources at our fingertips is pivotal to shaping each unit’s future.  Understanding how to mesh mission-essential requirements (MER) prioritization with the Commander’s personnel priorities, figuring out how to leverage the new KSB addition, identifying eligible enlisted Soldiers for key developmental (KD) stabilization jobs, and creating a dialogue with the medical/legal teams to accurately capture and reduce non-deployables, helps solidify our position as the most invaluable staff section within our Brigade.

The Soldiers that we bring into our units will never play in front of thousands of NFL fans, nor sign multi-million dollar football contracts.  However, they will do something much more important.  They will deploy in support of contingency operations and bring our Commanders’ vision to reality.  The 101st DIVARTY is not manned at 100%, nor is every single Soldier deployable.  However, through consistent analysis and utilization of the Army HR tools at our disposal, our command team knows that we will execute our next mission with the best team possible because we understand talent management and how to put it on the field.  The 101st DIVARTY S1 Section is invaluable to our command because we are the only Brigade staff section that can shape the unit’s future – one Soldier at a time.

Defend and Serve!  Rendezvous with Destiny!  Guns of Glory!

About the Author – WO1 Harvey wrote this article as the 101st DIVARTY HR technician, but as of July 2019, he is currently serving as the HR Tech for 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.  Point of contact info follows:

WO1 Marcus J. Harvey
VP, Plans & Programs
AGCRA Screaming Eagle Chapter
O: 270-798-5002 C: 931-220-1599
marcus.j.harvey.mil@mail.mil
harvey_marcus@hotmail.com

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HRC’s CSM ‘Team of Teams’ Visits the Screaming Eagles Chapter

Adjutant General’s Corps Soldiers receive guidance and kudos to kick off AG Week, May 7-10, 2019, at Fort Campbell, KY.

FORT CAMPBELL, Kentucky – CSM Lynice Thorpe-Noel, Senior Enlisted Advisor at the U.S. Army Human Resources Command, visited Fort Campbell to participate in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Adjutant General Week, hosted by the AGCRA Screaming Eagles Chapter, May 7-10, 2019.

The purpose of AG week was a team- and morale-building event for AG Soldiers all across Fort Campbell, while also providing educational opportunities and training seminars.  Nearly 80 Soldiers and leaders gathered for training sessions, as well as a meet and greet breakfast and sports competitions.

“AG week is an outstanding opportunity for me to come here and talk to you about our profession and ways we can strengthen our Army through talent management,” CSM Thorpe-Noel said.  She added, “As HR professionals, you are the tip of the spear for sustaining readiness and ensuring we are placing the right Soldiers in the right positions at the right time.”

CSM Lynice Thorpe-Noel, Command Sergeant Major of U.S. Army Human Resources Command, addresses 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) Soldiers during a meet-and-greet breakfast at Fort Campbell, KY, on May 7, 2019.  CSM Thorpe-Noel spoke to the gathered Screaming Eagles Soldiers about Army-wide changes to human resource systems.  The 101st Airborne Division G-1 invited her to help kick off their AGCRA Screaming Eagles Chapter’s AG Week, May 7-10, 2019.

Speaking to the group, CSM Thorpe-Noel emphasized that all Soldiers, regardless of rank, duty position or MOS, need to know about upcoming personnel changes and how they will impact the courses of their careers.  She also introduced what she calls her team of teams; experts that accompanied her to discuss HRC programs.

One of those, SGM Damon Smith, HRC’s Soldier Support Branch Sergeant Major, detailed several aspects of the Assignment Satisfaction Key (ASK).  He told the AG Soldiers in the room that they must emphasize to their units the importance of updating this tool.  “There is a new initiative, where if you like this great place, Fort Campbell, and you want to stabilize here for 36 more months; you can do that through ASK,” said SGM Smith.  SGM Smith also explained grade plate changes coming to the AG NCO Corps.  “We are moving back to having SFCs at the Battalion level, and MSGs at the brigade level,” he said.  “Some of you are probably at that level now, because we’ve started it on just about every installation.

CSM Thorpe-Noel described another program of interest to Fort Campbell and its Soldiers: the Army Credentialing Program, a new initiative that provides Soldiers with the funding to pay for training and classes that lead to certificates, licensures and credentials in more than 1,600 occupations.  The program is now available to Soldiers based at Fort Campbell and throughout the state, including Kentucky National Guard and Reserve Soldiers who live in and actively drill with a unit in Kentucky.  “Army credentialing is something to get excited about,” CSM Thorpe-Noel said.  “It allows our Soldiers an opportunity to gain professional credentialing while in the Army for civilian jobs and careers after they leave the Army.”

The program is scheduled to roll-out Army wide in 2020 and provides up to $4,000 a year to pay for academic, vocational, and technical courses and exams.  Soldiers are required to take the courses during their off-duty time from training providers and educational institutions approved by the Army.

CSM Thorpe-Noel and her team introduced the Officer and Enlisted Personnel Management Directorates at HRC.  “OPMD manages almost 90,000 commissioned officers and warrant officers across the Army,” she said.  “EPMD has 178 MOSs they manage on a daily basis, with about 460,000 Active- and Reserve-component Enlisted Soldiers.”  The group discussed the Army’s new Active Duty Officer Assignment Interactive Module (AIM).  CSM Thorpe-Noel said a similar program is currently being considered for Enlisted Soldiers.  “The AIM system is a game changer,” she said.  “It is an opportunity to capture all of those individual special skills that Soldiers may have that would not otherwise be listed on their records.  We can take that information and match Soldiers’ knowledge, skills, experience and preferences with suitable positions across the total Army.”

The new tools and programs are exciting for the AG corps, but CSM Thorpe-Noel said ultimately HRC’s top priority is the Army’s top priority – readiness.  “For AG Corps Soldiers, this means executing personnel distribution to generate or enhance readiness across all Army formations,” she said.  “That’s why we [AG Corps Soldiers] must be skilled in this multifaceted arena of human resources to ensure that our Army remains the most powerful in the world.  We can’t fight and win our nation’s wars without our most precious resource – Soldiers.”

Following the breakfast and the HRC brief, most of AG Week focused on “AG University” a series of classes on human resource systems, the Integrated Personnel and Pay System – Army, evaluations, and other MOS skills.  The week ended with a competitive tournament of Ultimate Frisbee.

SGT Rachel Sanders (center), Human Resources NCO, 96th Aviation Support Battalion, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), passes a frisbee to CW2 Eric Welch (left) during an Ultimate Frisbee tournament that culminated AG Week at Fort Campbell, Kentucky’s Fryar Stadium, on May 10, 2019.

The primary purpose of the week’s events were boosting morale, providing educational opportunities and conducting training seminars.  However, MAJ Jodi D. Krippel, Senior VP, Screaming Eagles Chapter, said that she hopes the biggest beneficiaries will end up being the Soldiers whom the AG Corps services every day.  “The week was a huge success; we were able to provide training opportunities to the Fort Campbell HR community that they can take back to their units, while also enhancing networking and comradery within our profession,” said MAJ Krippel. “We hope to continue this event for years to come.”

AWARDS

Several Soldiers and leaders were recognized at AG Week for their efforts and contributions to the field.

Theodore Roosevelt Medal, for maximum score on an Army Physical Fitness Test:

SPC Leroy Henry, 101st ABN DIV G-1

COL Robert L. Manning Achievement Medal, for promoting the objectives and purposes of the AG Corps:

CPT Chrystal Ware, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 101st ABN DIV
SGT 1st Class Melanie Hollingsworth, 101st ABN DIV G-1
SFC Candace Jones, 101st ABN DIV G-1
SSG Asha Norman, 101st ABN DIV G-1
SPC Leroy Henry, 101st ABN DIV G-1

Horatio Gates Bronze Medal, for distinguished achievements and service of individuals who promote the objectives and purposes of the AG Corps and AGCRA:

CW3 Detrottus Thomas, 101st ABN DIV G-1
SFC (Ret.) William Mendez, 101st ABN DIV G-1

Adjutant General’s Corps Soldiers and leaders assigned to the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) pose for a group photo following an Ultimate Frisbee tournament that culminated AG Week on Fort Campbell, KY, on May 10, 2019.
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