By CW2 Marcus Harvey HR Operations Center (HROC) Technician 1st Cavalry Division G1-HROC, Fort Hood, TX
As an AG professional, there are two topics of conversation happening on a routine basis: Modernization and Large Scale Combat Operations (LSCO). While discussing these two topics, non-AG senior leaders ask, “How is the AG Corps contributing or planning to support the execution of these efforts?” For modernization, the answers are clear, focusing on data analytics to support the Commander’s ability to align talent to new skills sets and to new platforms, and the implementation of the Integrated Pay and Personnel System-Army. There is no shortage of literature, “coffee tawks,” podcasts, or resources for either of these topics. However, as AG professionals attempt to answer how we will contribute and enable the Army to fight in a LSCO environment, for many, you can almost visualize and hear the jeopardy music in the background.
Due to the large numbers of AG Soldiers lacking experience in Plans and Operations and SRC-12 organizations, this is not surprising. No matter how much you read FM 1-0, ATP 1-0.1, and ATP 1-0.2, it is challenging to conceptualize operations. Suppose the only concepts of operations you have put together are for the hail and farewell. In that case, it will be difficult to explain the personnel services role in the sustainment warfighting function by phase of an operation. Your combat arms commander is no longer concerned about award timeliness, and their focus has shifted to personnel replacement, casualty processing, personnel accountability, and postal operations (not just mail). The answer to these topics and how the AG community will support LSCO has and will continue to focus around our SRC-12 organizations with assistance from SRC-63, specifically HROBs and Division/Corps G1s. However, SRC-12 organizations like our Theater Gateways and HR Companies will be the tip of the AG spear. Yes, the organizations many AG professionals attempt to avoid will be the decisive personnel services element in LSCO. All the regulatory guidance and Army HR history support this concept, but we all recognize that more needs to happen to prepare these organizations.
#1. Increase efforts for SRC-12 inclusion in garrison. To maximize these organizations’ abilities, we must replicate the challenges they will face forward deployed. If we want to prepare an HR Personnel Accountability Team (PAT) to handle a throughput of thousands of personnel, we must replicate it in garrison to identify the issues and battle rhythm. Employing the Tactical Personnel System, creating products to fill the information gaps, and working through the logistical process with other garrison sustainers will pay dividends. The templates and the opportunities are there for organizations to duplicate and enhance. The 502d Human Resources Company, 1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade, recently handled the final manifesting for an Armored Combat Brigade’s deployment to EUCOM.
Outcomes from this minimal level of SRC-12 inclusion paid dividends for all stakeholders. The Brigade S1 could focus on other vital tasks, HR Company Soldiers received hands-on training for manifesting more significant numbers and the USAF accountability systems, and the HR Company identified and corrected issues that resulted in cutting the manifesting timeline down by 66%. Numerous SRC-12 organizations are doing similar missions, but there is an opportunity to do more and share lessons learned from these operations.
#2. Acknowledge Lessons Learned and incorporate them into training. When an infantry unit prepares to deploy to an AOR, its leaders will gather information about challenges and test their solutions in controlled environments. As AG professionals, we should do the same to increase operations reach and HR endurance. How can units increase personnel throughput? What are the demand signals to recalibrate personnel support? How do we better anticipate increases and the necessity to pre-position resources to address demands? Once we gain knowledge, we should test these solutions in controlled environments such as training centers and large-scale exercises. Last year, the 101st HR Company, 101st Special Troops Battalion, used lessons learned from their previous deployment to Kuwait to design postal operations training. This training, partnered with other logistical planners within the DSB SPO, moved care packages along existing logistical lines. HR Company Soldiers moved in tactical vehicles, executed aerial operations to include sling load, and warfighters received an essential service. More importantly, this training addressed the HR warfighter concerns identified from the organization’s previous deployment. Our greatest strength as Soldiers and professionals is the application of lessons learned.
Despite the delays, we all agree that IPPS-A is coming, if not already here. Unfortunately, there is also a strong possibility that a large-scale combat operation is on its way. Much like Ender’s Game’s plot, our success depends on our training and preparation. We can accomplish all these goals and expose more personnel to PLOPS and SRC-12 by focusing on inclusion. What if an organization could replicate 101st HR Company’s, “Operation Eagle Delivery” but during a CTC rotation? Receiving items at their home station, sorting, and then traveling to deliver the items during specific operational phases. Could the integration of HR PATs assist with the accountability procedures during SRPs and EDREs? How much more could we learn about the limitations and abilities of our personnel assets? As the 502d HR Company proved, processes improve when the entire personnel services infrastructure is involved. Modernization and LSCO will continue to dominate conversations, and the AG Corps will continue to have to identify how it will contribute. Our SRC-12 organizations are the answer in LSCO, but how we train and prepare these organizations will determine our future success.