Tag Archives: Combined Arms Center

Soldier job books get digital makeover

By JONATHAN (JAY) KOESTER
NCO Journal

While talking to an experienced NCO, you may hear tales of the old job book. Command Sgt. Maj. Richard Johnson remembers. Johnson, command sergeant major at the Combined Arms Center–Training at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, may be an old Soldier, but he’s not ready to fade away. He wants to make sure the job book doesn’t fade away, either.

“When I was a young — well, I never was a young Soldier because I enlisted late in life — but when I was a junior enlisted Soldier, we were issued a little job book that was about the size of a three-by-five card that was probably seven or eight pages,” Johnson said. “You carried it around in your uniform pocket, and as you successfully performed a task, your sergeant would sign off in the job book. The goal was to complete all the tasks, and that was your certification that you were qualified.”

Officials at the Combined Arms Center-Training are in the process of creating a digital job book to replace the old three-by-five cards, with some modern upgrades.

“The digital capability allows us to follow a Soldier throughout the life cycle of a Soldier, throughout their career,” Johnson said. “The analog book, it would get lost, it would get damaged, if you moved from one unit to another, you sometimes had to start over. The capabilities with the digital job book allow Soldiers to track and show proficiency throughout their time in the service.”

Sgt. Maj. Johnny S. Williams, chief instructor of the Department of Training and Doctrine at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas, has fond memories of troubleshooting with other Soldiers over their job book tasks.

“Another Soldier might know more about a common task [in the job book] than you,” Williams said. “This is what I got out of it.

“I think the job book is a good tool for the lower enlisted Soldiers,” he said. “When you become a senior or junior NCO, you’re dealing with tasks at a different level. From private to staff sergeant, it’s a good thing.”

Johnson said the digital job book should give Soldiers some awareness of where they stand in relationship to their peers, sparking competition and inspiring Soldiers to work harder to be proficient at required tasks.

“It will help enable Select, Train, Educate and Promote (STEP),” Johnson said. “You can use this as a leader to see where your Soldiers are at on a certain skill, to give you quantifiable data to recommend them for promotion or not. It will be a great tool for leaders to use that way.

“It also has potential in the future to enable credentialing, licensing and certification for Soldiers,” Johnson said. “If a Soldier is looking to receive a license, credential or certification, the leader can load those tasks into the Soldier’s job book, then track the completion of those tasks. And it also has the ability to track re-occurring tasks. Say you’re a medic and you have to re-certify on a medical task to keep your credential, this would notify the Soldier that they are due to re-certify on the task.”

The digital job book will be released at the end of March. Soldiers will be able to access the job book through the “My Training” display on AKO or the Army Training Network with a Department of Defense Self-Service Logon. The job book will not be behind a CAC firewall because officials want Soldiers to be able to access it anywhere they have Internet access.

“Right now, you can go into the My Training Portal, click My Training, and there is a job book tab that comes up,” Johnson said. “It shows what is currently up to date in the Digital Training Management System for physical training, weapons qualification, mandatory training, scheduled classes and unit training schedules. So a Soldier can go in right now and click on all that. But what doesn’t show up right now that will when we release it at the end of March is, under mandatory training, it will automatically populate all individual critical task lists by MOS and skill level. So for each Soldier, all the individual critical task lists will be populated in his or her job book, in addition to Army Warrior Tasks and any mandatory training that a Soldier is required to do.”

And so, the Army keeps another useful tool alive, with the added dynamic of going digital. It’s time to sign in to the job book and start checking off tasks.

NCOs: Chance to work with SMA, peers proves invaluable at Solarium 2015

By MARTHA C. KOESTER
NCO Journal

The NCOs who attended the first Noncommissioned Officer Solarium 2015 at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., didn’t know what to expect when they were invited to take part in the sergeant major of the Army initiative. About 80 of them, representing U.S. Army installations located throughout the globe, were asked to join and were assigned to work groups to focus on seven problematic issues facing the Army. However, once group presentations began before Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey during the outbrief session May 1, all agreed it was truly an honor to have participated.

During two-and-half days of brainstorming, debating and voting, the NCOs narrowed down recommendations on their given topics, which were to be presented to the sergeant major of the Army. The seven key topics were

About 80 NCOs took part in the Noncommissioned Officer Solarium at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., last week. The NCOs were assigned to work groups to focus on seven key issues facing the Army. First Sgt. Robert V. Craft Sr., mechanical maintenance 1st sergeant with 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, (second row, right) offers his thoughts on mission command. (Photo by Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)
About 80 NCOs took part in the Noncommissioned Officer Solarium at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., last week. The NCOs were assigned to work groups to focus on seven key issues facing the Army. First Sgt. Robert V. Craft Sr., mechanical maintenance 1st sergeant with 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, (second row, right) offers his thoughts on mission command. (Photo by Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)

physical fitness, talent management, education, culture, training, vision/branding and practicing mission command.

Exchanging ideas

To the NCOs’ surprise, they found they shared very similar concerns and perspectives with the nation’s most senior enlisted member of the Army.

“We were given the opportunity to voice what we saw from our foxhole, like me being at Fort Riley, Kan., is different than what my battle buddy is doing at Fort Bragg, N.C., and my other battle buddy is doing in Alaska,” said 1st Sgt. Robert V. Craft Sr., mechanical maintenance 1st sergeant with 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment. “To realize that we, at our level, have the ability to effect change is truly humbling. It was an honor to be here, to be selected from my command, to be viewed as being worthy to share this experience. It’s almost like we are a part of history.”

Dailey, Command Sgt. Maj. David S. Davenport Sr., TRADOC command sergeant major; Command Sgt. Maj. David O. Turnbull, Combined Arms Center command sergeant major; and Sgt. Maj. Dennis A. Eger, Mission Command Center of Excellence sergeant major, heard from the seven groups of NCOs at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Combined Arms Center.

“For the most part, growing up in the military as junior leaders and even at our [senior] level you get in the mindset at certain times of, ‘I may not be able to fix the big picture, but I can fix what’s below me,’” said Master Sgt. Keith E. Marceau, current operations NCO, United States Army Pacific. “I never in my wildest dreams thought I would be in an auditorium with my peers in front of the sergeant major of the Army, TRADOC sergeant major and FORSCOM sergeant major, shaping the future. We have the ability to influence the whole Army in many different functions, and I truly believe that the sergeants major took stuff from us that they will implement.”

Participating NCOs were eager to share their views with Dailey and offer a snapshot of the Army from the perspective of senior leaders who work directly with Soldiers.

“There was that element of teamwork,” said Master Sgt. Sylvorne W. Walters, brigade NCO for 501st Sustainment Brigade, 19th Expeditionary Sustainment Command. “One of the ways you motivate a Soldier is to make him feel like he’s part of the fix, and that’s exactly what they have done to us ─ they have allowed us to be part of that.”

Shared mission

Guided by skilled facilitators who kept the NCOs focused on the mission at hand, the Soldiers bonded over shared views and the unusual opportunity to connect with their peers in an effort to help Dailey shape the Army.

“I was just very impressed with [Dailey], sitting there listening to every single NCO whether they were on this side of the fence or that side of the fence,” said Master Sgt. Aaron W. Carter, brigade fires NCO for the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division. “He took everything he received; he was constantly writing. He’s going to make a difference, and it came from us.”

“I really didn’t know what to expect. I just knew to keep an open mind,” said Master Sgt. Cynthia Hodge, operations NCO for 426th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team. “[I enjoyed] not just working with my branding team but also the other NCOs, my peers and seniors. You feel really humbled because we have an opportunity to make change. I definitely have got to go back [to my installation] and share what I have learned here.”

Changing times

With two wars largely behind them, the senior NCOs welcomed the opportunity to possibly effect change in the Army during the current era of downsizing.

“It’s really going back to quality Soldiers over quantity,” Marceau said. “[That means] building that talent pool that’s going to train Soldiers with limited resources, and having the Soldiers that want to be a Soldier 24/7 instead of 9-to-5.”

“The message [my group] hopes that [the sergeant major of the Army] received from us is that in order for us as the NCO corps to re-establish Army standards, we have to hold Soldiers to a standard,” Craft said. “[We need to change] the mindset of the Army. We have been an Army at war. Our focus has been deployment. We have forgotten as an Army how to be a Soldier in garrison.

“We have to be given the opportunity to retrain our Army, and the mindset of our Army has to change because we as leaders ─ as NCOs, as well as officers and Soldiers ─ the only mindset we have known for the past 14 years is deployment mode. We have to get back to basics, to doing PT, to sergeants’ time training, actually taking the time and opportunity to train our Soldiers as opposed to taking the time to prepare for our next deployment.”

NCOs weigh in on Army issues at Solarium 2015

By MARTHA C. KOESTER
NCO Journal

It became very clear to the noncommissioned officers assembled during the first Noncommissioned Officer Solarium 2015 Outbrief session at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., which key Army topic of the seven discussed was the most critical to Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey. If physical fitness benchmarks continue on the current path where 40 percent of Soldiers are overweight and body fat standards are too lenient, it will pose a severe detriment to Army readiness, and the Army and nation will suffer for it, Dailey said.

The Sergeant Major of the Army urged about 80 participating noncommissioned officers May 1 during the event at the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Combined Arms Center to take accountability for their physical fitness and set the example for their Soldiers.

“You don’t get good physical fitness unless you do physical fitness,” Dailey said. “[I say] good for you if you have the guilt for not doing [physical training]. Let that run on your brain all day long. I hope it eats you apart if you did not do physical fitness this morning. Hopefully that in turn will drive you to do it tomorrow.”

Call for excellence

Dailey, Command Sgt. Maj. David S. Davenport Sr., TRADOC command sergeant major; Command Sgt. Maj. David O. Turnbull, Combined Arms Center command sergeant major; and Sgt. Maj. Dennis A. Eger, Mission Command Center of Excellence sergeant major, heard from a focus group of NCOs who suggested that the Army needs a better tool to assess physical readiness training (PRT) instead of the “outdated” Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT).

Noncommissioned officers prepare to present their ideas to Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey at the NCO Solarium 2015 at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. About 80 NCOs participated in the initiative to address Army concerns.
Noncommissioned officers prepare to present their ideas to Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey at the NCO Solarium 2015 at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. About 80 NCOs participated in the initiative to address Army concerns. (Photos by Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)

“There are units and posts out there conducting different types of physical training such as CrossFit and P90X. … They have not bought into what the Army standard is,” said 1st Sgt. Jason M. Lambert, combat engineer 1st sergeant with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 6th Engineer Battalion.

Lambert was the speaker for the physical fitness group. For the Solarium, NCOs were divided into seven work groups. Each group was asked to present their recommendations to the Sergeant Major of the Army on the seven most problematic issues facing today’s Army. The other key topics were talent management, education, culture, training, vision/branding and practicing mission command.

“Our recommendation is to modify the APFT to be more realistic and have it revolve around PRT concepts,” Lambert said.

TRADOC Command Sgt. Maj. David S. Davenport Sr. acknowledged that the APFT does not match the doctrine on physical fitness.

“Why is everybody doing P90X and Cross Fit? Because they’re training to max the PT test; it’s not about their unit mission,” Davenport said. “If you talk to [Soldiers] about Afghanistan, they think stamina is important. It’s not about how many push-ups you can do. We have got to figure out how we’re going to assess overall fitness. … Fitness is tied to everything we do in our Army.”

Priorities and the mission

Solarium discussions frequently crossed over into several key topics as the NCOs in focus groups presented their recommendations. First Sgt. Robert V. Craft Jr., mechanical maintenance 1st sergeant with 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, discussed consequences for Soldiers who fail the APFT.

“My group came to a consensus that we have begun to accept substandard performance in order to make numbers for mission,” Craft said. “[If Soldiers are being retained] in order to be able to accomplish our missions, it basically leads the average Soldier to believe that PT isn’t important and shape isn’t important. The only thing that matters is the mission.

“At the end of the day, it’s our responsibility as NCOs, bottom line, but the problem arises when we as NCOs do our part [to begin the separation of a Soldier], [and then a commander says] to retain that Soldier and fix it,” Craft said. “I can’t fix a Soldier if the Soldier has quit. I can do more with less if I didn’t have to worry about that bottom 10 percent.”

Noncommissioned officers in the group that focused on talent management noted that the Army needs to improve how select personnel are identified for broadening assignments, such as recruiters and drill sergeants.

“We’ve recently been embarrassed in the media by recruiters having improper relations with recruits; also a sexual assault response coordinator who embarrassed his organization by his actions in Texas,” said Master Sgt. Danny Ibarra, a secretary of general staff for 21st Theater Sustainment Command Operations and Support. “We need to screen [for those positions] a little bit better. There currently isn’t a standardized selection process, and the command sergeant major’s involvement is key.

“Having the command sergeant major vet and interview these personnel could help stop putting these people in the wrong assignments,” Ibarra and his group said.

Dailey said talent management in the Army is under review and that changes to the process are being considered.

Command Sgt. Maj. David S. Davenport Sr., command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, from left, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey, Command Sgt. Maj. David O. Turnbull, command sergeant major of the Combined Arms Center, and Sgt. Maj. Dennis A. Eger, sergeant major of the Mission Command Center of Excellence, take part in discussions May 1 during the Outbrief session of the Noncommissioned Officer Solarium 2015 at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. The Solarium is an initiative of the sergeant major of the Army.  (Photos by Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)
From left, Command Sgt. Maj. David S. Davenport Sr., command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command; Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey; Command Sgt. Maj. David O. Turnbull, command sergeant major of the Combined Arms Center; and Sgt. Maj. Dennis A. Eger, sergeant major of the Mission Command Center of Excellence, take part in discussions May 1 during the Outbrief session of the Noncommissioned Officer Solarium 2015 at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. The Solarium is an initiative of the sergeant major of the Army.

“I think that we have to put talent management in the hands of every leader throughout every organization,” the sergeant major of the Army said. “It was once described to me as not about managing the top 10 percent [of Soldiers]. That’s real easy. The challenge is what do you do with the bottom 40 [percent of Soldiers].

“Everybody’s fighting for that quality individual, and there’s not enough [of them] to go around,” he said.

Walking billboards

NCOs also discussed the successes and failures of Army branding campaigns and whether or not they identified personally with any of them. NCOs in the focus group on branding said the current campaign, “Army Strong,” does not resonate with them.

“We feel that we need something that speaks more as far as who we are, what we are and why we do it,” said Sgt. 1st Class Cornelius Cowart, operations NCO for 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade. “We need something that’s a little more timeless. For instance, a lot of us in here can relate, even 20 years later, to ‘Be All You Can Be.’ It still speaks to our veterans, active-duty Soldiers and even some of our younger Soldiers.”

The sergeant major of the Army agreed with Cowart and his group about the timeless appeal of “Be All You Can Be”. However, Dailey urged NCOs to consider the message they convey to the public as walking “billboards” for the Army.

“Every Soldier is a billboard; we’re all billboards, and there actually are enough of us to make a difference nationally,” he said. “You can control what your own billboard says. It’s a big old billboard, and it’s going to get more attention than the one that’s on the side of the road.”

Dailey spoke of the new transition assistance program called Soldier For Life, which prepares service members for post-Army life by ensuring that he or she has all of the necessary tools, opportunities and counseling.

“Here is our problem as I see it ─ the Marine Corps is very good at what they do,” Dailey said. “You can chapter out of the Marine Corps, and you are a Marine for life. A Soldier can retire out of the Army, get paid benefits for the rest of his life and still talk bad about the Army.”

Dailey thanked the NCOs for their work during the Solarium and said the discussions generated will have a profound impact on what he will advise the Chief of Staff of the Army and the Secretary of the Army. Dailey said the Solarium was not just an exercise, but an event that must be done on a regular basis.

“We [in senior leadership] sometimes lose touch; this is our way of getting back in touch with reality,” he said. “You NCOs are the representation of just that. This is a reality of what is going on across our Army … because you are at the heart of where organizational leadership begins.”

Unit Training Management handbook gets update

BY MIKE CASEY
Combined Arms Center — Training

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — The Army recently updated its training management guide to help leaders and training managers plan, prepare, execute and assess unit training.

The new edition of The Leader’s Guide to Unit Training Management (UTM) is available on the Army Training Network https://atn.army.mil/. ATN is the one-stop shop for training products and resources. It is managed by the Army’s Training Management Directorate (TMD).

As part of an effort directed by the Chief of Staff of the Army, TMD last year sent teams to operational posts to explain Unit Training Management (UTM) processes and to re-energize trainers’ understanding of basic training doctrine and supporting resources.

One team member, Training Analyst Bill Brosnan, said feedback from operational Army units was instrumental in helping TMD produce the new, downloadable guide with:

• Significantly more how-to details about training units and Soldiers.

• Updated, expanded and refined supporting tutorials and training examples available on its companion UTM web page (also on ATN).

• Concepts and processes that come from ADP 7-0 and ADRP 7-0.

“UTM provides the how-to details for the Army’s training doctrine as well as expanding these details with downloadable tutorials. Examples of training management products can be downloaded as well, and these provide leaders and training managers an understanding of what right looks like,” he said.

The handbook provides links to the Digital Training Management System (DTMS) https://dtms.army.mil/ that allows commanders to track the training performance of units and individual Soldiers. It also has links to the Training Aids, Devices, Simulators and Simulations database, along with videos about After-Action Reviews and other fundamental training management topics.

These resources are increasingly important as officers, commanders and NCOs focus on training units and developing leaders in a home station environment.

TMD is a subordinate organization of the Combined Arms Center-Training. CAC-T manages training support and training development, and provides unit training and leader development programs and products to support Army readiness. Both organizations are at Fort Leavenworth.

CAC-T’s web site is http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/CAC-T/. Follow CAC-T on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/usacactraining and on Twitter at @usacactraining.

New videos offer guide to training management

BY MIKE CASEY
Combined Arms Center – Training

FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. — The Army’s primary website for training resources recently added eight short videos to improve unit training management throughout the force.

Brig. Gen. Mike Lundy, deputy commanding general of the Combined Arms Center-Training, instructed the Army Training Network, known as the ATN, to develop the videos following post visits by Unit Training Management Mobile Training Teams. At several posts, the teams found that many Army trainers lacked important skills that the videos address.

“For more than a decade, our Army has largely relied on top-down training management to prepare us for deployments to Iraq or Afghanistan,” said Lundy. “With [Operation Enduring Freedom] coming to closure, unit commanders will once again have the primary responsibility for fully developing their own training to develop agile and adaptive leaders and versatile units.”

“More than ever, it’s essential for leaders to reinvigorate their home station training management skills in order to prepare the Army for decisive action in any operational environment,” he said.

The ATN at https://atn.army.mil/ is the one-stop shop for training products and resources. The site is maintained by the Training Management Directorate, a subordinate organization of the Combined Arms Center-Training, or CAC-T.

“The videos provide a quick … guide to training management,” said Jimmy Davis ATN team lead. “They’ll help anyone involved in training from squads to corps.”

Here are short descriptions of the videos:

  • Training Doctrine Overview discusses ADP 7-0 and ADRP 7-0 and how those two manuals cover the Army’s training doctrine.
  • METL covers the basic concept of the Mission Essential Task List, or METL.
  • HQ DA Standardized METL describes how these are standardized for brigade and higher units with a table of organization and equipment.
  • KCT discusses the concept of Key Collective Tasks, and their relationship to the unit METL.
  • Commanders’ Dialogue is the briefing and discussion with the next higher commander on the mission analysis phase of developing a training plan.
  • T&EO covers Training and Evaluation Outlines and explains how they support evaluations and assessments of collective and individual tasks.
  • Training Briefings discusses why briefings are critical to the Unit Training Management process.
  • Unit Training Plan provides a tutorial on developing and executing a focused plan to train the unit.

The training management videos are located on ATN’s scrolling banner called Featured Content near the top of the page, or at: https://atn.army.mil/dsp_template.aspx?dpID=371.

The videos are entitled, “Training Management Shorts,” and last from 4 minutes to 10 minutes. The ATN requires a common access card to access the site.

CAC-T delivers training doctrine, products, resources, and services to the Army in support of Army unit readiness and leader development.

Its web site is: http://usacac.army.mil/cac2/CAC-T/. Its Facebook is: https://www.facebook.com/usacactraining. Its Twitter handle is: usacactraining.