Military Chief Of Staff Job Description – “When every soldier feels so strong, he will do anything to protect those soldiers. That’s what it is.”
When Army Chief of Staff General James McConville became a major, he saw something very angry.
Military Chief Of Staff Job Description
At the time, he was with the 25th Infantry Division and the soldiers were participating in Cobra Gold, an annual training event held with the US and Thai armed forces. At the same time, the captain of another brigade is preparing to become a father.
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“We have the opportunity to bring this captain back there for the birth of his child,” McConville told Task & Purpose during an interview Thursday. “And the brigade commander wouldn’t let him come back. And I just thought it was a parody.
The soldiers were flying for Cobra Gold training when someone announced over the plane’s intercom that the captain was the father of a baby boy.
“I was angry,” McConville said. “I’m not in that brigade… And that’s when I swore: I’m not going to let that happen on my watch, in whatever unit I’m in.”
He means it too. He and his wife, Maria, an Army veteran, created a work-life balance slide last year to help provide guidelines for ranking the importance of life events and work tasks.
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He said he regularly guides his employees, and has physically done it several times to demonstrate that perhaps the demands of a regular week’s work are not as important as attending an important family event, such as a son’s graduation ranger. school or the birth of a child.
He lives too. When one of his two sons — he has three children, all in the military — returns from his first combat deployment in Afghanistan, McConville is determined to be there to welcome him home, come hell or high water.
So when the new defense secretary wanted to interview for the Army chief of staff position — the same day he was scheduled to meet his son at Fort Stewart — he said he would be honored, but that day was busy.
“And of course officials say things like, ‘Wait, doesn’t the general know that the secretary of defense is very busy, you know this is a big deal. ‘ … I would love to interview him, I couldn’t do it that day,” McConville said. “Unless he wants to come to Fort Stewart.”
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McConville is in the midst of the Army’s shift to a people-oriented organization. At the start of the annual conference of the Association of the US Army on Tuesday, Secretary of the Army Ryan McCarthy announced that the service is changing its priorities, putting people first, followed by readiness and modernization. It’s a stark change for a military service that has been pushing back years of readiness that service leaders have called “unsustainable.”
Of course, work-life balance is only one piece of the puzzle. The tumultuous summer has focused heavily on military issues, which appears to have sparked a new sense of urgency among service leaders to address issues such as diversity and inclusion, suicide, sexual assault and harassment.
No case has pressed Army leaders more than the disappearance and death of SP Vanessa Guillen of Fort Hood, Texas.
“I got a chance to spend time with Vanessa’s mom,” McConville told Task & Purpose. “They asked me to take the lessons learned from this and take them through the Army, and that’s what we’re doing now.” You know, we let him go. I told her that we don’t care about her daughter. But what we want to do is learn from what happened … we want to make sure it doesn’t happen again. “
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The Army’s potential changes were detailed in an action plan released Tuesday along with the announcement of the service’s People’s Priorities, which said that new instructions will be implemented that clarify “if any of their colleagues do not report for duty, we will consider them missing and take immediate action to find someone.
“We’ve had some cases where, frankly, I don’t think we’ve taken the best care of our soldiers,” McConville said Thursday, explaining that the current policy is sometimes interpreted to mean soldiers don’t show up. until they are available for work, they are automatically considered absent without leave (AWOL). The new leadership will make it clear that this is not the case.
“What you will see is the spirit that we will not leave. So if someone does not participate in the task, the suspicion of him is lost,” he said. “And we continue to look for him. We are doing everything we can… And if we find that yes, we have enough evidence that they left voluntarily and were absent without leave, then we will start this policy. But this is a fundamental change in the philosophy of how we care for our soldiers.
Guillen’s case also breathed new life into the conversation about sexual assault and harassment in the military after his family came forward and said they had been sexually assaulted.
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While assault and harassment are not unique to the military, the service’s program to combat the problem — the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention Program (SHARP) — has come under fire for being ineffective.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), an Army veteran, called for a review of the SHARP program by the Government Accountability Office, saying the high-profile incident over the summer “raises troubling questions about whether SHARP has served its purpose, which is to prevent sexual harassment and violence.” .
McConville said Thursday that SHARP is not “efficient and effective because frankly, we still have soldiers who are sexually harassed and assaulted.”
Assault and harassment are two things the Army is trying to address with its “This Is My Squad” initiative — “It’s not just a slogan,” McConville said — led by Sergeant Michael Grinston.
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The way the Army sees it: If the team really understands each other, the problems that plague the Army – assault, harassment, racism and desertion – will be solved. If a soldier
Caring for each other, how can they stand aside when one of their friends is being bullied? If a soldier
Caring for each other, they will feel confident to reach out when the going gets tough instead of carrying the burden alone.
The Army’s “secret sauce” builds a team of Soldiers who will do anything for each other, McConville said, adding that Soldiers have intervened in crises: If a Soldier walks through a house on fire, “99 percent of the time the Soldier goes.” Now he has to implement a similar sense of involvement with what happened to his friends.
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“Then you’re doing it right,” he said. “When every soldier feels that he is very strong, he will do anything to protect those soldiers. That’s it. This is what makes us the greatest army in the world.
Haley Britzky is an Army Mission & Objectives reporter from 2019 to 2022. She previously worked at Axios covering news. He reports on important developments in the service, from new uniforms to new policies; the realities of military life faced by soldiers and their families; and broader cultural issues that transcend the military, affecting every military service. Contact the author here.Senior Executive Command Commander Deputy Commander Deputy Commander Civil-Military Engagement Staff Chief of Staff Former Leadership
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