Cent-sible solutions for the Army’s major-retention dilemma

January 6, 2009

This is the opening paragraph of a Commentary piece (A major problem: Cent-sible solutions for the Army’s major-retention dilemma) I wrote for the Armed Forces Journal (December 2008):

Majors — the Army’s future senior leaders — are exiting the service at increasing rates during a period of military growth. A recent article in The Washington Post indicated the Army is about 15 percent short of its goal of 15,700 majors. Lawrence Korb, former assistant secretary of defense and now a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, said, “Retention of battle-tested majors should be the Army’s highest personnel priority. These are the future Pattons, Powells and Petraeuses who will lead soldiers into combat over the next two decades.”

Cost-effective solutions are available. These include financial incentives, leveraging Web 2.0 to enhance mentoring and the personnel assignment process, and uniform vouchers. All could be adopted almost immediately to shore up the ranks.

It generated limited discussion among officers.  Some supported my ideas specifically, or at least the concept that something must be done.  Others disagree with my solutions and assertions; I can only surmise that they don’t think shortage of majors as a problem worth addressing.  Either way, talking about problems is the first step to solving them.

Do you think more money should be allocated towards retaining the future senior leaders of the Army?  How does your corporation retain managers?  What type of incentives have you seen that were successful to keep employees with talent?  If your employer gave you a $500 bonus would you accept it?  Would you make good use of the money?

You can read more about military personnel in the Building the Military for the 21st Century report.

Sensible solutions for the Army major major shortage

September 17, 2008

Heads up…I have a piece coming out soon in the Army Times “Back Talk” section…

…It should generate a good deal of feedback.  I’ll share some of the comments in this blog posting.

I’ve posted about this topic before, however, I conducted a bit more research and was spurred to write because both presidential candidates spoke about the importance of military service during the recent candidates forum.

New Army Uniform (Updated)

August 30, 2008

UPDATE (Feb. 20): The Army is asking for more input from officers on this survey (only accessible by Common Access Card)

You can purchase new ASU items from Marlow White here.  (Not an official Army source)

After much research, many surveys, design options; the Army announced the new Army Service Uniform about two weeks ago.  Now there is a slick new website with a variety of photos illustrating the new Army Service Uniform.  This pictorial timeline of Army uniforms is interesting and worth taking a look–though it claims in “2006 all of U.S. Army transition to blue service uniform.” (I’m sure someone will correct the error)

U.S. Army Service Uniform

U.S. Army Service Uniform

There are many frequently asked questions about the transition to the new uniform.  The Army has done a good job of consolidating them here.

A few interesting facts:

o The Green Class A is the only authorized uniform for DA Photos until 4th Quarter FY ’09 (a year from now)

o There are three different variations of the ACU (camoflague uniform): Ceremonial, Garrison, and Utility/Field

o  Prices are not currently set for the new uniform.  However, it’s estimated to cost between $200-400.  I previously suggested that the Army should give a uniform voucher to Majors to help with retention.

The uniform debate has generated many spirited and funny blog posts/comments.  Look at few here, here, and here.

It’s good to know that Soldier’s input was considered in the decision.  In ten years, half the Army will have never even worn the current Green Class A’s and we will still be fighting and winning the Nation’s wars.  Change is a good.  I look forward to wearing the new uniform proudly.  Army Strong!