Much of the Army’s achievements in the past and today are aided by the “unique relationship and partnership” of its soldiers and its civilian workforce, Army Under Secretary Joseph Westphal said Wednesday, Oct. 12.
Over the past decade of war, more than 40,000 Army civilians have deployed to support soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, Westphal told the Army civilian luncheon at the Association of the United.States Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition.
Today, more than 2,100 Army civilians are supporting operations in Afghanistan and about 1,400 are in Iraq, he said. “Clearly, the soldiers could not have carried out their missions as well without the Army civilians alongside.”
To adjust to vast changes in technology and security challenges, the Army has improved the way it hires, retains and trains its civilian workers, Westphal said. That includes dividing the 210,000 workers into 31 career fields to improve management and development.
Progress has not been easy, the under secretary said. And, he said, in the current budgetary environment, the civilian workforce will need “a champion and a broad support base.” He called on the audience members to provide those.