Tag Archives: Kan.

SMA at Solarium 2015: Cyberbullying is ‘out of control’

By MARTHA C. KOESTER
NCO Journal

Of all the topics raised for discussion during the Noncommissioned Officer Solarium 2015 at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., the one that drew the most spirited reaction was the one not on the itinerary. Many of the assembled NCOs were taken by surprise when cyberbullying was added as a discussion point at the Solarium, but after Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey, a frequent Internet target, told senior leaders that online decorum is out of control in the Army, they all agreed to do something about it.

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey speaks to noncommissioned officers during a town hall meeting May 11 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Dailey spoke earlier in May against cyberbullying in the Army at the NCO Solarium 2015 at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. (Photo by Jonathan (Jay) Koester / NCO Journal)
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey speaks to noncommissioned officers during a town hall meeting May 11 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. Dailey spoke earlier in May against cyberbullying in the Army at the NCO Solarium 2015 at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. (Photo by Jonathan (Jay) Koester / NCO Journal)

An anti-cyberbullying policy exists, and Soldiers may be prosecuted, Dailey said. Cyberbullying includes virtual taunts, whether it is targeted at a specific person or trolling, negative comments launched against the Army.

“Because we already have the authority, we are going to go after this,” the sergeant major of the Army said. “When Soldiers harass, put [damaging] things on the Internet, they are not in keeping with the honor, tradition and the stewardship of the profession. … If you said something that was sexually explicit in nature, that is derogatory against another Soldier, that’s sexual assault ─ whether it’s on the Internet, whether you say it verbally. My fear is that Soldiers think it’s OK, but they know it’s not OK at work.”

Drawing a line

Although Dailey has often found himself on the receiving end of Internet criticism, he said it only bothers him that “Soldiers see those things and that the American public knows” that Soldiers are actually the cyberbullies.

“I’m convinced that 99 percent of Soldiers wouldn’t say that stuff in public,” he said. “I believe American Soldiers are entitled to their own opinion, but when you put a uniform on [you represent the United States Army].”

Dailey feels so strongly about the issue that he chose not to follow former Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler onto Facebook by opening an official page.

“I specifically said we are not going to have one as the sergeant major of the Army, because I have a whole bunch of avenues for people to contact me,” he said. “From a business perspective, we are in the business of leading Soldiers by example. I just choose not to put my personal life on the Internet.”

Dailey said cyberbullying is out of control because the Army has a policy and doesn’t enforce it. The sergeant major of the Army solicited recommendations from the senior NCOs at the Solarium to fix the growing problem. Dailey also, debated whether some civilian businesses’ practice of asking employees to register all their social media accounts is the answer.

“Once [Soldiers are in the Army], we have to start reinforcement training from the get-go,” said Master Sgt. Cynthia Hodge, operations NCO for 426th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team. “We are the poster boards for the United States Army when we put on this uniform, and if you’re going to say things that eventually are going to come back and are going to be damaging to yourself, the Army and your unit, there has to be repercussions for it. End of discussion.”

Some units are already providing training on social media, NCOs said.

“Being in Special Operations Forces, our identities require protection. Our command recently developed an identity management brief,” said Sgt. 1st Class Maria K. Williams, human intelligence senior sergeant, U.S. Army Special Operations Aviation Command. “Identity management briefs teach Soldiers and their families how to protect their identities. It also educates; ramifications and United States Code of Military Justice are discussed in regards to what you put online.”

A new perspective

Some of the senior NCOs at the Solarium said they take advantage of Facebook to ease communication with their Soldiers. It is possible to successfully separate your private life from your professional one, said 1st Sgt. Robert V. Craft Sr., mechanical maintenance NCO and 1st sergeant with 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment.

“I created a page [on Facebook recently]; I only deal with Soldiers on the page,” Craft said. “The reason being is I realized that I didn’t want Soldiers in my personal life. When it comes to my Soldiers, I don’t see the bullying, so I wasn’t aware that cyberbullying was a problem.

“When my Soldiers or my battle buddies post something that’s unprofessional, I’ll send them a message in their inbox. But if I saw something that violated a policy, such as cyberbullying or SHARP, then I’m obligated to report it,” he said. “I think it’s a good thing for us to be on social media. Not so much to track what our Soldiers do, but to provide a presence and set a positive example.”

However, the sergeant major of the Army’s thoughts on cyberbullying were enough to spur some of the senior leaders into immediate action.

“It was an eye-opener,” said 1st Sgt. Jeffrey Grothause, infantry senior sergeant with 3rd Battalion, 81st Armor Regiment. “What’s my part in this now? What am I going to do to stop this? I need to do my part to ensure that my Soldiers aren’t [part of the problem].”

“It goes back to what I said is the biggest challenge in the future of the Army right now ─ it’s getting back to the 24/7 mentality,” said Master Sgt. Keith E. Marceau, current operations NCO, United States Army Pacific. “[Soldiers think,] ‘I’m off duty; I’m just playing around on Facebook.’ That’s the mentality. They’re not thinking I’m representing the Army 24/7. We have to beat that mentality. They have to understand that whether we are in uniform or not, 24/7, we represent.”

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.”