general of the Training and Doctrine Command said that when the Army launched its study of the “Profession of Arms” several years ago, it unintentionally left out the department’s civilian workforce by choosing that phrase.
“We are missing something there,” Gen. Robert Cone told attendees at the 20th Annual Department of the Army Civilian Seminar at the Association of the United States Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition.
Speaking Wednesday, Oct. 24, he said, “We backed away from that. We want you on the team.”
There are about 300,000 Department of the Army civilians among the GS ranks, wage board, non-appropriated funds, and overseas local hires.
Cone added, “The role of civilians in our Army is incredible,” noting his command has reduced the number of general officers in its ranks and replaced them with civilians. “You provide continuity, a high level of management skills.”
By bringing civilians onto the team, Cone said that they need to understand the role of doctrine in the Army and establish education programs for them to build a career in the same way it does for officers, warrants and noncommissioned officers. One step in that process has been moving the Army Management and Staff College from Fort Belvoir, Va., to Fort Leavenworth, Kan., the home of the Command and General Staff College.
“We can leverage off that,” he said.
Kirby Brown, deputy to the commander of the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, said, “Our capstone doctrine has been distilled into 15, 10-page manuals – bite-sized chunks,” covering all the war-fighting functions and available in print and “on your favorite electronic data tool.”
Gwen DeFilippi, from the civilian senior management office, said, “We have charged commanders and supervisors that they ensure there is a career path for civilian employees” that is properly resourced.
Right now, the program is in place for GS 15s, but she expects to broaden it to GS 13s and 14s in the coming year. She added there were 85 applicants for the program last year and wanted to increase the number applying to 200. There are 25,000 GS 15s in the Army.
Vicki Brown, chief of civilian training and leader development division, said there are three parts in the Civilian Education System now – the basic for GS 1s to 9s, intermediate for GS 10s to 12 and advanced for GS 13s to 15.
Army Career Tracker plays a key role in helping civilians develop paths to promotion. She said it now covers 131 civilian programs and covers 182,000 workers. “For the first time, civilians can see their training and education in one place,” as can officers, warrants and noncommissioned officers, but the records “need to be updated.”
“We’re going to have to work the certification process,” necessary to establish the Army as a profession, Kirby Brown said.