Army Civilians Key to Service’s Success, Mission
The Army needs talented civilians, and it should streamline how it brings them into the force, panelists said Oct. 16 during a forum at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Annual Meeting and Exposition.
"We need to shorten the hiring time and improve the acquisition of talent," said Carol Burton, director of the Civilian Human Resources Agency for the Army deputy chief of staff for personnel. Noting that the hiring process for civilians typically takes 180 days – during which time prospective candidates may go somewhere else – Burton said: "It's time to change."
Civilians bring high value to the Army, panelists agreed. "They are the most cost-effective way of getting something done," said E. Casey Wardynski, assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs. "They are the backbone of our force."
The Army needs not only to acquire civilian talent but also to retain it, panelists said. The key to keeping talent, they said, is to be a good employer.
"Our civilians want to be value-added," said Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite, commander of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which employs 35,000 civilians. The non-uniformed force has proved crucial to the mission, Semonite said. "We cannot do our jobs without civilians."
- Susan Katz Keating for AUSA