Tag Archives: Social Media

SMA: ‘PRT is not the problem; 6:30 to 9 is the problem’

By JONATHAN (JAY) KOESTER
NCO Journal

After an Army Times article detailed the seven-day workout plan for Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey, he got a lot of comments telling him, “That’s not PRT.”

Dailey has also heard Soldiers using their dislike of Army Physical Readiness Training as an excuse for not exercising. During a recent interview with the NCO Journal, Dailey made it clear that he believes in PRT, but that PRT is just the beginning of staying physically fit. Dailey said he does his workout routine in addition to PRT to maintain his fitness for the things he has needed to do throughout his career as an infantryman.

“I think PRT is actually very good, and it’s proved a success in our training environment,” Dailey said. “We’ve reduced injuries, and we’ve increased physical fitness scores coming out of basic training and AIT. What I need units to understand is PRT is not the end. … We shouldn’t be blaming PRT for our failure to have success in physical fitness. It’s a tool to use in achieving that success. … PRT is not the problem; 6:30 to 9 [a.m.] is the problem. We’ve failed the sacred hour. We need to get that back. It’s something that’s not going to take months; it’s not going to take years. Leaders can change this tomorrow morning. All they have to do is find a flag, wait for the music to go up, salute it and start getting after it.”

Dailey agrees with concerns that there should be stricter consequences for failing the Army Physical Fitness Test, and he said there will be stricter consequences as the Army continues to implement STEP (Select, Train, Educate, Promote).

“When we moved into Select, Train, Educate, Promote about two and a half years ago, we made physical fitness a critical part of succeeding in your institutional training experience,” Dailey said. “So if you go to your institutional training experience now and fail the APFT, you will get a derogatory [DA Form] 1059, which will remain in your records. Previously, that was not true. You could fail your school, and then when you passed, that 1059 would come out. It stays in there now. That’s critically important, because when we look for promotion we need to see the whole Soldier concept. So now with STEP, you have to go to your institutional training experience before you can get promoted. It’s a gate. So we’ve said that noncommissioned officers need to be promoted because they’re certified across all three leadership development domains, and now that’s going to be true with STEP. So until you’ve completed your selection, your training in your organization, your education through self-development, and your institutional experience, then and only then will you be able to be promoted. Physical fitness is a key and critical part of that.”

New NCOER

Recently, Dailey announced that the new Noncommissioned Officer Evaluation Report would be delayed until 2016. Dailey expressed complete confidence in noncommissioned officers adapting to the changes in the coming NCOER, but he said it was necessary to slow the process down to make sure the NCOER is implemented correctly.

“We have to get this right,” Dailey said. “We worked really hard on the new Noncommissioned Officer Evaluation Report. It is an excellent product. But how we roll it out and how we make it applicable to our noncommissioned officers is essential to the move forward. It’s OK if we slow down to take the time to make sure we train and educate the force on how to appropriately do it. We need buy-in from all the leaders here and across the Army, because this is intended to fix our Noncommissioned Officers Evaluation Report. So I’m not concerned about the Noncommissioned Officer Evaluation Report; it’s the right way to go. But I am concerned that we make sure that we get it right as we roll it out to the Army. And we’re going to do just that.”

Talent management

Because the Army as an organization is so large, it has suffered from moving people administratively instead of really managing talent, Dailey said. Though it will be difficult, Dailey hopes leaders can begin to be more involved in some of those decisions.

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey speaks to noncommissioned officers during a town hall meeting May 11 at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. (Photos 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. (Photos by Jonathan (Jay) Koester / NCO Journal)

“We’re a leadership organization,” Dailey said. “I want leaders involved in that. That doesn’t mean leaders will control every facet about where someone PCSes or where they’re going to stay or extending them. But I do need leadership involvement with regard to managing the knowledge, skills and attributes needed to move an individual to the appropriate position that maximizes the capabilities of the organization and strengthens the mission of the United States Army. That’s complex stuff. As big as we are, that’s very complex and very hard to do. So as we move forward, my senior enlisted counsel will work on doing that. Of course, a lot of that will occur at the senior noncommissioned officer ranks. But internal to the organization, I need talent management from the perspective of, ‘I have to give back to the Army sometimes. I have to invest in the future of the Army by sending our young men and women to school to enhance their performance.’ Sometimes that takes sacrifice from a unit. Maybe they’re going to miss a unit field training problem. But what’s more important? Is it more important to invest in that noncommissioned officer for the future or just that two-week field training exercise?”

Social media

At the NCO Solarium in May at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., Dailey expressed concern about how some Soldiers are behaving on social media. “When Soldiers harass, put [damaging] things on the Internet, they are not in keeping with the honor, tradition and the stewardship of the profession,” he said.

Dailey told the NCO Journal he thinks NCOs can solve the problem without needing new rules and regulations in place. He wants NCOs to have an attitude of “Not in My Squad.”

“It sounds very simplistic, and that’s exactly what I want it to be,” Dailey said. “I want noncommissioned officers to know we trust them, because this is about trust. Trust runs both ways, up and down the chain of command. I want them to understand that we do trust you. We trust you with the lives of … the young men and women that we’ve given you. We’ve bestowed the greatest honor the American society can give to one individual and that is to lead those men and women into combat. That same trust applies when we’re back in garrison. More accurately, there’s no such thing as combat leadership. There’s no such thing as garrison leadership. There’s something called military leadership and Army leadership. It exists regardless of where we are and what we do.”

Every Soldier a billboard

Another topic of discussion that began at the NCO Solarium was the effectiveness of Army branding campaigns. Dailey said he wants Soldiers to see that what is more important than the slogans of “Army Strong” or “Army of One” is the everyday effect a Soldier has walking around his or her community. Dailey wants NCOs to know they are walking billboards for the Army.

“My billboard has and will always say Army Strong,” Dailey said. “I encourage leaders to think about how they are going to paint their own billboard for Soldiers. What is it going to say? You have so much influence on what that billboard says. It can affect whether a Soldier stays in the Army or they transition. It’s critically important that our nation clearly understands and knows that we will always be the organization that is most trusted in America. It takes a lot of billboards to maintain that. It takes a lot of hard work as well. But I always ask this: What do you want your billboard to say? What does it say today? What is it going to say tomorrow?”

Working on their personal billboards and striving to be the best will also help Soldiers have a better chance of staying in the Army as it downsizes, Dailey said. He offered his advice to Soldiers and NCOs looking to take charge of their careers.

“I’ll tell you that you can start first and foremost by listening to your noncommissioned officer every day,” Dailey said. “Do good PT and keep yourself physically fit. When you get the opportunity to go to a military school, stay in it and study hard. Strive to be in the top 10 percent of every school you go to. You should want to, if you want to maintain that edge over your peers. Those are the things you have to go after.”

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.”

Army: Soldiers must consider opsec when using social media

By LISA FERDINANDO
Army News Service

It’s as easy as a click of a mouse or a tap on a smartphone. And in a few seconds, sensitive Army information might be shared that could get Soldiers killed.

With social media’s ease, in any part of the globe, at any time, a Soldier, Army civilian or family member can post pictures from a deployment or talk about an Army mission. But these seemingly innocent posts could actually contain sensitive information that endangers Soldiers by revealing locations, security measures, mission operations or troop movements, said the Army’s social media experts.

Soldiers, Army civilians and family members need to be mindful of what they put online, with operations security at the forefront of their considerations, said Staff Sgt. Dale Sweetnam, with the Online and Social Media Division of the Army’s Office of the Chief of Public Affairs. He said this applies to whether the person is a Soldier or Army civilian communicating as an organization or as an individual on social media sites.

“Once it’s out there, it’s out there,” Sweetnam said. “You can delete it, but if the wrong person took a screen shot, that’s actionable intelligence and you can’t get that back.”

Sweetnam compiled the Army’s Social Media Handbook and conducts training for Soldiers about the do’s and don’ts of posting on social media. The do’s include using social media to get out the messages of your command, inform the public of Army activities or stay connected with loved ones. The don’ts include not revealing sensitive information about missions, units or Soldiers, Sweetnam said.

Besides considering opsec, Soldiers must maintain their professionalism at all times, even when off-duty, Sweetnam said. They are subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and could face corrective or disciplinary action if they violate the rules of conduct at any time, he said.

Those violations would include a Soldier releasing sensitive information, insulting his or her chain of command, posting discriminatory statements, or sharing or linking to inappropriate material.

 

How to protect the Army family

Sweetnam said the Army encourages Soldiers to share with their families the lessons of operations security and using social media.

“The spouse, when the Soldier is deployed, may post something about his or her return, and that could be considered opsec,” Sweetnam said. “It even goes an additional level, to not only police yourself but make sure your family knows what it can and cannot do.”

The Army’s social media experts tell Soldiers not to use location-based social networking services when deployed or in classified areas; for Soldiers and families not to post specific dates or locations of deployments; and recommend setting privacy settings to “friends only” on personal accounts to prevent personal information from ending up in the wrong hands.

The Army suggests that users consider turning off the geotagging feature that is automatically turned on in some smartphones and digital cameras. Geotagging is the equivalent to adding a 10-digit grid coordinate to a photograph telling where it was taken, which could reveal sensitive information about a location.

Sweetnam said for the most part, Soldiers understand the importance of being vigilant at all times when using social media.

“The majority of the Soldiers who are in uniform now have grown up with social media. This is the way they communicate,” he said. “They are more aware of the do’s and don’ts, and we don’t necessary have to constantly drive it into them. But occasionally, we have to send out those reminders.”

 

‘Professional at all times’

A post by a Soldier or Army civilian could be potentially taken by a member of the public as an official post, said Brittany Brown with the Online and Social Media Division. That is why it is important for everyone in the Army family to always be professional, she said.

“Ultimately what we tell Soldiers and civilians is that you are responsible for anything that you put on social media sites, whether it is a Facebook page you’ve created in an official capacity as a Soldier or Army employee, or it’s your personal page that you’ve only connected to your loved ones,” said Brown.

Brown recommends that if it isn’t something you wouldn’t say in formation or in a public setting, then don’t post it on social media, no matter how locked down your page is. You just never know who ultimately ends up seeing the information you post, she said.

“These things can have long-term effects,” she said. “In the 20 seconds it took you to post the photo, you may have put lives at stake. Of course you wouldn’t do that intentionally, but if that photo has that metadata embedded in it, then you are putting Army operations and more importantly lives at stake by posting that.”

She said family members should be careful when posting information, such as if their spouse is deployed and they are now home alone. They should also think about the “trickle-down effect” before they post, and how the information could impact their Soldier and others, she said.

“At the end of the day, it keeps all of us safe,” Brown said. “It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

 

Resources

Army Social Media Handbook, version 3.1 (January 2013)