News

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Release #99-107

November 8, 1999

ARMY BEGINS MANNING INITIATIVES

TO INCREASE UNIT STRATEGIC RESPONSIVENESS

Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera and Army Chief of Staff General Eric K. Shinseki took another step in executing the Army's transformation to a more strategic force by announcing an initiative to fully man war-fighting units.

"The U.S. Army's transformation directly supports our nation's strategic goals of enhancing democracy and economic prosperity throughout the world," Secretary Caldera said. "We need the best people in the right jobs."

Though the immediate impact of the manning initiatives is primarily

near-term, they establish a significant personnel policy guideline as the Army moves to achieve the Vision that was articulated in early October. Revised priorities for manning the force, a synchronized force structure and enhanced recruiting are key to transforming the Army.

The Army manning strategy initially focuses on improving manning of key war-fighting organizations while maintaining the capability of all of its units and organizations to accomplish their missions. Ultimately, the strategy seeks to improve manning across the Army.

The Army plans to man combat units to 100% by grade and skill level. During this fiscal year, the Army will fill 10 active component divisions and armored cavalry regiments to 100% of their enlisted personnel authorizations. By second quarter FY 01, the Army will target to fill 100% of authorizations by skill within three grade bands: skill level 1 (E1-E4); mid-career

non-commissioned officers (E5-E6); and senior non-commissioned officers (E7-E-9). Divisions and armored cavalry regiments will receive 100% of their officers in the aggregate.

"Some units will initially experience lower manning levels," Shinseki said. "We will carefully manage this process so that all units remain capable of performing their assigned missions."

The core function of the Army is to fight and win our nation's wars, and properly manning war-fighting organizations is fundamental to this function. Manning the divisions at 100% will help ensure that the soldiers around the world who are executing the day to day missions of the Army have the people to do the job.

To accomplish distribution priorities, the Army will pinpoint assignments, reduce attrition, increase retention and limit headquarters manning levels.

Studies of the Army's support and training units that will be affected by manning initiatives will be complete by February 2000. These studies will consider the requirements of Defense Reform Initiative Directive 20 (DRID 20) to identify positions that are not inherently governmental.

The Army has implemented measures to ensure non-divisional units remain capable. All units will continue to be targeted to receive 100% of their key positions. Grade and skill combinations that are Army-wide shortages will be fair-shared across all organizations.

In order to help resource the manning initiatives, the campaign to enhance Army recruiting continues to develop and grow.

The Hometown Recruiter Assistance Program and the Corporal Recruiter Program, which are showing early signs of success, will continue. The Army is committed to a recruiting force that can relate to America's youth.

The hometown-recruiting program allows soldiers who graduate from advanced individual training school to go home for a period of about 20 days. While in their hometown they talk at high schools and are helpful in keeping delayed entry recruits on track with recruiting plans.

The plan also calls for the addition of more "corporal recruiters" in the program over the next three years. About 200 of these young non-commissioned officers, who have an ability to connect with today's youth, will be added to the recruiting force this fiscal year. Depending on evaluation results, 200 could be added each year for the next three years.

Automation enhancements will continue to make recruiters more efficient. These include the ARISS (Army Recruiting Information Support System), which saves recruiters and applicants time by using a laptop computer in the home of a potential recruit to fill out all necessary forms and file the information electronically.

The Army is also working on restructuring its media mix and advertising strategy. Advertising will be increased in areas not traditionally occupied by the Army in an effort to open new markets and reach new audiences.

Moreover, two initiatives currently under consideration that are expected to open new recruiting markets are the GED+ and the College First Programs.

"We want to expand recruiting markets by identifying more people with high indicators of retention and trainability," said Caldera. "Today's force requires highly motivated, skilled, and high quality soldiers to maintain readiness - these programs serve that need."

Under the proposed GED+ Pilot Program, 6,000 selected non-high school graduates who score in the top half on the Armed Forces Qualification Test may be enlisted annually. Up to 4,000 of these soldiers would be accessed into the active force and 2,000 would serve in the Reserve Components. The Army would sponsor applicants to complete a local attendance based GED program prior to accession.

The College First program will provide Army sponsorship for high school graduates to attend up to two years of post secondary education prior to entering active duty. All applicants must score in the top half on the Armed Forces Qualification Test and qualify for the Army College Fund. The program will be tested in selected areas and the Army expects to recruit at least 5,000 College First Participants during the test.

These manning initiatives are critical to achieving the vision the Army announced at the annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) in October.

Shinseki summed up the transformation of the Army's manning strategy by emphasizing the ultimate benefits of the plan.

"Manning our units is vital to assuring that the Army fulfills its missions as a strategic instrument of national policy. If we stay the course, the payoff is an Army where all units are fully manned with personnel in the grades and skills required to continue our dominance across the full spectrum of operations."