By Tom Byrd, Fort Jackson Public Affairs
(Editor’s note: This is part two of a multi part series on the updated Fort Jackson Commanding General’s Priorities and Lines of Effort.)
For anyone who’s been around the Army for even a short time, you’ve heard the term “People First.” As Gen. James C. McConville, Army Chief of Staff, said when he first assumed the position, “people are the Army.” McConville went on to say, “without people, we’re just a bunch of combat equipment sitting in motor pools, hangars and arms rooms”.
Since 2019 when McConville made that statement, the Army has introduced many initiatives to improve Army readiness by eliminating harmful behaviors.
At Fort Jackson, Brig. Gen. Patrick R. Michaelis, Fort Jackson commanding general, is working to synchronize many of those initiatives to make Fort Jackson the best version of itself.
When Michaelis arrived in June he took time to look, listen and learn about the culture of Fort Jackson. One area he identified for improvement was with that synchronization of the large number of initiatives which have been introduced over the past several years. While all were being implemented, there wasn’t a set strategy to group the various programs and initiatives.
To fix this, the campaign plan is being adjusted to focus specifically on bringing the different programs, initiatives and resources under a single umbrella. This will enable better visibility, education and evaluation.
For the People First Line of Effort, Mike Ryan, the Army Training Center G-5, is the staff lead.
“What we are trying to do is a very iterative process to get this right,” Ryan said. “When we finalize these lines of effort it will codify the plan.”
Michaelis believes “the responsibility of Fort Jackson is to use its will and resources to protect the nation by generating the force for tomorrow.” To do this “we create and cultivate an environment in which people are enabled, empowered, and protected to work to their natural best, to be the best version of themselves, with a true sense of belonging.”
The recurring theme throughout People First is to Enable, Empower and Protect our people. This includes our Soldiers, Trainees, Families, Army Civilians and contractors.
The People First LOE has four main objectives with sub objectives designed to support the overall objective.
Maximize Human Potential.
As the cornerstone of the People First LOE, maximizing human potential is all about enabling and empowering individuals by prioritizing programs that help improve spiritual, mental, and physical health.
Some of the programs and initiatives under objective one include Holistic Health and Fitness, the Army Wellness Center, Ready and Resilient Performance Centers, Spiritual Readiness and the Civilian Fitness and Wellness Program.
Create and drive a People First command climate and culture focused on building cohesive teams.
This part of the LOE prioritizes the use of command climate surveys and tiger teams to identify areas of concern and receive input from the force to determine potential courses of action where improvement can be made.
This objective also includes the This is My Squad initiative to highlight our diversity and inclusiveness inside our formations.
By continually evaluating the effectiveness of our programs and initiatives we will have the ability to reallocate resources and energy where it can provide the most good. This is one of the many ways to provide input in areas where individuals may feel there hasn’t been as much emphasis.
Institutionalize talent management processes to acquire, develop, employ, and retain cadre of high performing Soldiers and Army Civilians.
This objective will run in parallel to LOE 2 Training and Developing Leaders, which will be covered in next week’s article.
As part of enabling and empowering our workforce, this objective focuses on getting and keeping the best people for Fort Jackson and the Army.
On the military side, greater attention to the Army’s Assignment Interactive Module will help get individuals to Fort Jackson who seek out an assignment here to help develop them for later assignments.
As important as getting the right person here is how we receive them before and after they arrive. This includes both Soldiers and civilians. Sponsorship, reception and integration set the stage for how successful a tour of duty at Fort Jackson will be. Knowing the needs of incoming personnel will assist the transition of the Family and alleviate worry from the sponsor so they can focus on their assignment. If we do this right, many other issues can be addressed before they become a distraction.
Recognizing excellence is one way we create a climate where our employees feel appreciated and know that their hard work doesn’t go unnoticed.
Lastly, under this objective is creating an Army Civilian Workforce Engagement program which will enable a standardization for sponsorship, onboarding, developmental assignments, career ladders, civilian personnel oversight, standardized position descriptions, recognition and wellness programs.
The creation of a Senior Army Civilian Advisory panel will assist Michaelis with professional advice and assistance in all matters pertaining to the civilian workforce.
Eliminate harmful behaviors.
Over the past several years, Army leadership has identified a number of issues that are detrimental to the good order and discipline of our Army. These actions are referred to as harmful behaviors and have no place in our Army.
Some of these harmful behaviors include sexual assault and sexual harassment, racism/extremism, and suicide.
To combat these issues and to protect the force, Michaelis is making greater use of the Commander’s Ready and Resilient Council and placing a greater emphasis on SHARP. Many of these initiatives will be seen throughout Fort Jackson in the coming months.
“By building trust we create and cultivate a culture which will enable and empower people to be the best version of themselves,” Ryan said.