Posted on Sep 27, 2013
CPT Aaron Kletzing
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As the military enters a significant downsizing period, it's important to talk through relevant issues and solutions. &nbsp;Enter your response below, and if it gets the most Up votes, you win a free iPad Mini and we will personally deliver your thoughts to our Advisory Board, which includes retired Generals George Casey and Norton Schwartz, the recent Chiefs of Staff of the Army and Air Force, respectively.<div><br></div><div>Tip: Get all your friends to vote Up your response by the end of the contest on Oct 7, 2013.</div>
Posted in these groups: 702767d5 Downsizing
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CPT Bde Cbrn Oic
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<div>&gt; Retain the top personnel. Spend effort (a team of smart unpaid outsiders, like interns from good schools, who know data analysis, anthropology, industrial engineering) into getting some good data analytics on NCOERs/OERs/deployment experience in order to make a decision on who the low performers will be and who the high performers will be. Pay the high performers to stay and deal with the pains associated with downsizing, and pay the low performers to depart.</div><div><br></div><div>&gt; Get the contractors out of IT/C2 and forget the sunk costs and sunk legacies. CPOF, DTMS, etc. are great ideas troubled with poor understanding and horrible implementation because the input/interface is non-obvious by design. You don't need training to use your iPhone, but even with training it can take a team to figure a CPOF report feature out (this isn't true everywhere obviously)... Our network-centric infrastructure's robustness is dependent upon civilians who work set hours, set days, can be furloughed, and who are invested in bureaucracy; our signal Soldiers down at the battalions lose their rights to fix problems over to higher civilian oversight as a form of reactionary stop-gaps and fears of what those Soldiers could do, because the Army can't afford to pay the contracts necessary to fix the software such that it conforms to the user. Instead, the Soldier must conform to the software's oversight or issue, and we get more new policies and new training. "FRAGO to the FRAGO" and so on in regards to a policy that our E-1s have to be trusted to implement for our own OPSEC... which has a direct impact on our agility. Let units program their own ground-up, low-level databases and queries in a contained cloud to automate and synchronize the administrative stuff and then customize how that query presents to the Soldier! Let units share those products with other units. Open this market to smart Soldiers we have all over the place, not companies that must design the IT/C2 products such that they need eternal maintenance, updates, and field service reps to coax paychecks. 3 Soldiers could make a better, usable DTMS in a year if only they had the space, rights, and we weren't afraid to replace the fragmented network of separated databases that don't communicate. How many databases must my SSN be in...? When Soldiers have IA violations they need to get their certificates again, but the IA training videos are contracted (cost money, cumbersome to change) and not updated to reflect these policy changes upon policy changes - so nothing is learned and time is wasted; it's a punitive solution to a problem that shouldn't exist in any organization that values robustness and agility. Our IT/mission command problems at battalions are pervasive, crippling, and getting sillier every day.</div><div><br></div>
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SA Harold Hansmann
SA Harold Hansmann
>1 y
Quit paying $10,000 for toilet seats, $3000 for a hammer.
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MSG Timothy Smith
MSG Timothy Smith
>1 y
I agree with you, Mike, but I think that expansion should also extend to the retiree, the one that is trying to relate his/her military training to the civilian sector. Are all retiree's going to want to use it? Probably not,but the option should be open to them.
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PO1 Jack Howell
PO1 Jack Howell
6 y
SA Harold Hansmann - What are you basing this statement on? If you don't have any evidence to support your claim, then you shouldn't be posting a statement like this.
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Lt Col Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Program Manager
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Inspire innovation. &nbsp;We need to find better/different ways of doing things and not accepting a process/program is good enough as is. &nbsp;From big things to little things, we need to all stop and think if what we are doing every moment is really being done the &nbsp;best way. &nbsp;
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SGT Tim S.
SGT Tim S.
9 y
I humbly agree with LTC C. & SFC Christopher.

Upon my review of everyone's composition to this discussion, essentially draws conclusion to innovation (which is a constant), core standards implementation; maintain qualifications, fitness, and readiness. Chapter those perfunctory personnel, and promote, educate, train intellectual human capital.

Furthermore, leadership elites need disengage bureaucracies & special interests, and concentrate on the source of the matter; not political correction. Combine & consolidate elements that can be, and minimize expenditures/overhead by referring and conferring with Unit senior military leadership with OPEN communication. Senior leadership must refer and confer with their mid-level management, address mission essential information and address quality improvements & risk management.

Likewise, establish record documentation to illustrate/prove goal success or troubleshoot with open communication. Re-evaluate until proven favorable results, or re-evaluate plan of action with current knowledge to reflect and avoid repeated mistakes.
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SGT Operations
SGT (Join to see)
9 y
Wow! Well said Ma'am. I know there has to be atleast 60-70% that think at least once a day "why are we doing this nonsense?" Maybe it sounded good at the top but is totally impracticl at the lower levels, or vice versa.
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COL Vincent Stoneking
COL Vincent Stoneking
>1 y
LTC Cashin, 
I think you hit it on the head.  One of the biggest issues I have encountered as a Reservist is the continual shifts as I go from my civilian job to my military one.

The (peacetime) military really lags the civilian environment when it comes to innovation and technology. This is also especially true when it comes to administrative policy. In fact, there seems to be quite a bit of "I had to suffer through it, so now it's your turn" in our DNA. I cannot imagine my civilian job requiring me to turn in my personnel evaluations in advance & having 3+ levels of review before it would be "accepted into the system" for instance.

On the other hand, every time I return to my civilian job, I pine for the can-do attitude, flexibility, and sheer competence I get from most my Soldiers and JR officers. (For the AC folks reading who are thinking "what? there are so many cluster $#$%!!" I can only say that what you see depends on where you stand. The civilian world has its own suck too.)

So- Great leader development, horrible admin/support systems. Well, to be fair, not "horrible" just "built for another time." We still have the industrial-age personnel and administrative systems that were appropriate for large enterprises with little/no computer support but tons of money & people. Now we have tons of automation available but less money & people. 

Sadly, I fear that the drawdown will lead to a lot of the most talented, most motivated Soldiers leaving the service. And, as you say, we won't be competitive for the time & attention of the next crop of the talented and motivated if we cannot break our industrial-age mindset.
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SSgt Carl B.
SSgt Carl B.
>1 y
Tough question – The military needs strong civilian leadership to map out the USA’s goals, something that is severely lacking.

Will the USA continue to be the leader of the world or let China, a reemerging Russia, the Middle East and other remerging countries take our place.

If the military is to remain strong the USA must have a strong economy that is not indebted to China or other countries. A strong middle class with opportunities for all citizens and not just the top 20% and to start manufacturing again.

How can we be military strong if we rely on China, Russia (they build rockets for the USA – who knew!) and other countries to manufacture our weapons stamens and computers.

A more direct answer:

Prepare for the next 30 years – they will be different than the last 30 years. What are the alternatives to spending huge $$$ on military systems like the F – 25 $200 mil per aircraft or Joint Strike Fighter. The USA needs to also take care of the men and women servicing the military.

Carl B .
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SGT Electronics Technician (Et)
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I agree with SSG Shaw- let folks who *want* to get out, do just that. But I would also take it one step further and say the promotion system needs an overhaul as well. <br><br>To be promoted in the Army you need simply to be a PT stud who takes the easiest college route available and get the tower NCO to "hook you up" at the range. It's going to be controversial to say this, but promotion should be based on two basic criteria- MOS knowledge/proficiency, and overall leadership ability. Of course those could be further broken up, and you could still factor things like combat experience in. <br><br>But honestly, whether someone gets a 250 or a 300 on their APFT really has no bearing on their ability to do their job or to lead troops. Same with a college degree- it should *certainly* put you ahead of your peers, but not be an end-all requirement. Take the Air Force's model of MOS proficiency tests for each skill level and test the individual at the next skill level. Be brutal. Then the Soldiers Chain of Command and NCO Support Channel convenes and gives an overall, HONEST assessment of their leadership ability. Not the NCOER rating, but a real one. There could still be a board of sorts, but rattling off memorized answers is pointless too. They could be answering a quiz about Harry Potter books for all it matters. Additional points can be added for college degrees or 290+ APFT or 40/40 range scores. How many awards someone has? Come on. That would mean the E-4 sitting in NATO or at the Pentagon on a desk job with no combat patch would be more qualified than the E-5P on his third deployment who has been hands-on in the MOS for years and years. The awards system is no better a method for promotion criteria than rattling off memorized book answers.<br><br>On the other hand, and once again I know most people will disagree with me here, I say return the RCP to its original state. If a Soldier likes- I mean truly likes their MOS, likes working in that MOS, likes training Soldiers in that MOS, has a great deal of knowledge to bring to the table and is more concerned with job satisfaction, why would you want to put that person out telling them "you should have reclassed into a job you don't know and have no interest in or passion for to get promoted." That Joe shouldn't have to reclass or be that PT stud with sham college under his belt. I've seen great NCOs in my time but I've also seen NCOs who were exactly that- PT studs with excessively generic degrees getting promoted fast but have no MOS knowledge or ability getting shown up by the E-2 out of AIT and have NO leadership ability at all, even after WLC. This method is effectively putting out the people who have the wealth of knowledge and encouraging people to focus on the Army only rather than the MOS that they trained them for. At this rate it's going to be just like the Army after the last drawdown- an Army full of Specialists and Captains.. because there's such a push to put out the top folks and to weed out all the knowledgeable mid-to-upper-level Joes. And when it's all said and done you'll have all these guys looking at the equipment realizing that they can read the TM just fine but no one really knows the realities of it- the real ins and outs of it.<br><br>I've said it more than once and I know it's true- most people here will flat-out disagree with me. That's fine. That's the beauty of opinions. We're all entitled to our own.<br>
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SGT Public Affairs Broadcast Specialist
SGT (Join to see)
9 y
I've been saying this for YEARS (but you said it first, so I won't steal your thunder there).

I'm currently in the position where it is extremely hard to get motivated to get promotion points because 1) our SSG points have been 798 for a year now (with the exception of ONE promotion), 2) the SSG's in my office haven't even been afforded ALC... so THERE's a bunch of points I can't get, and 3) without a deployment, It is IMPOSSIBLE for me to get there!!! 

I could literally do everything in my power to get promoted, but if I don't get ALC, a deployment (and a bunch of awards), it is highly unlikely that I'll get a promotion.


All that to say that I could be the BEST at my job (which I, admittedly, am NOT, yet) but still not be able to be promoted because I cannot check off the blocks for promotion...
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SPC Stephanie Oanes
SPC Stephanie Oanes
9 y
I couldn't have put it better myself, VERY good points. 
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SPC Mechanic
SPC (Join to see)
>1 y
SGT Beaulieu, I could not agree more with this. I have had this discussion with NCO's, Officers and Enlisted personnel respectively. A lot of different Soldier's have different opinions of what a leader should be, but one thing the majority of us agreed on is that shooting a 40/40 and scoring a 300 on a PT test does not make you a leader. I believe, too, it should be MOS proficiency and knowledge along with the individuals leadership qualities above average. I have seen too many NCO's get promoted just to make the extra buck and use the power as an entitlement instead of leading and training their subordinants.
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SGT Aircraft Mechanic
SGT (Join to see)
8 y
I love your answer. I've been preaching this same thing almost verbatim for a few years now.
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