Lowman: Army Civilians Must Modernize Alongside Soldiers

Lowman: Army Civilians Must Modernize Alongside Soldiers

Christopher Lowman, Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Under Secretary of the Army, delivers remarks
Photo by: Mike Morones for AUSA

As the Army continues to modernize, it’s more important than ever that the service’s civilian employees keep pace with the right skills to support a force capable of multidomain operations.

“If you're an Army civilian, what I'll tell you is readiness is not all about Army units that are trained, equipped and manned to fight battles,” said Christopher Lowman, senior official performing the duties of Army undersecretary. “Army readiness applies to you and I just as much, because you play a critical role in developing the Army and making sure that they'll be successful.”

Speaking Oct. 13 during a professional forum at the Association of the U.S. Army’s 2021 Annual Meeting and Exposition, Lowman said there are close to 300,000 Army civilians. He also emphasized that while hiring the right people is critical, retaining the best talent is key to a civilian corps that can move toward multidomain operations at the same pace as the Total Army.

The uniformed Army is “spending a whole lot of time thinking through what an MDO-capable Army needs to look like, how it needs to be equipped and how it needs to be trained,” Lowman said. “Guess what the civilian corps is going to need to be? Fast, lethal and mobile. We’re going to have to be able to respond with the skill sets that we own, that only the civilians can bring to the table to support the war fighter.” 

Nested in the Army People Strategy, a program aimed at transforming and modernizing the Army’s approach to talent management, is the new Civilian Implementation Plan, the first of its kind in the Army. It seeks to build a civilian corps that has the capacity to transform the workforce, modernize how civilians are hired, evolve programs for career advancement, and build “world class supervisors,” according to the plan.

In other words, the plan aims to sharpen the Army’s ability to place the right civilian in the right job to support the uniformed Army.

“We all know the soldiers do amazing things, but they can't do them alone. And they're not doing them alone,” said Mark Lewis, senior official performing the duties of the assistant secretary of the army for manpower and reserve affairs. “We must have talented and dedicated Army civilians to maximize the readiness capability, capacity and lethality of our Army.”

— Gina Cavallaro