Transforming the Army’s Civilian Workforce: A New Vision

August 6, 2008

Persistent conflict and change characterize the 21st century strategic environment. To fulfi ll the requirements of today’s missions, including defense of the U.S. homeland and support to civil authorities, more than 600,000 Soldiers from the U.S. Army’s active and reserve components are on active duty. Additionally, approximately 250,000 Army civilians—nearly 4,000 of them forward deployed—are performing a variety of missions vital to America’s national defense.

The Army’s vision for civilian leaders now and in the future calls for strategic and creative thinkers and accomplished professionals who are effective in managing, leading and changing large organizations. These civilian leaders must be confi dent, competent decisionmakers and prudent risk takers; they must be innovative, adaptive, professionally educated and dedicated to lifelong learning and effective communication. Today’s Army civilian workforce must be more agile and capable than ever before.*

While the Army has focused on moving uniformed personnel into modular deployable units, civilians have taken on roles traditionally performed by Soldiers. In support of this transformation, the civilian personnel operations and work force have served the Army well —striving to meet the Army’s increased manpower requirements in the most demanding of times. At the same time, the Army is cognizant that to increase its capabilities and meet the challenges of the 21st century security environment, it must leverage current organizational strengths while institutionalizing holistic collaboration and integration.

This holistic, collaborative approach is the hallmark of the current Army senior leadership—refocusing the culture of Army decisionmaking to a corporate methodology that challenges conventional wisdom and breaks through stovepipes to link culture with systems and stated values with action. This approach is referred to as the “enterprise.”  The enterprise is a 21st century mindset that balances values; manifests long-term commitment; demands collaboration, partnering and innovation; and instills competitive passion throughout the organization—all this with the accountability for risk management and the responsibility to clearly communicate. The approach is proactive, comprehensive, cost-conscious, output-focused and opportunistic. The strengthening and restructuring of the Army Civilian Corps is a critical part of this revolutionary institution.

Recognizing the need for enterprise-wide, institutional transformation of the Civilian Corps, the Army has examined the functions and processes of the civilian workforce and its organization, training, education and development. The current decentralized administration creates pockets of inefficiencies that reduce the strength of the overall structure. The Army Civilian Corps has no central administration or visibility and, consequently, only limited oversight of capabilities and strengths.

The Army’s holistic approach has one goal: to have the right people with the right skills in the right place at the right time.