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Service Personnel Chiefs Testify on Military Posture on Capitol Hill

By Terri Moon Cronk DoD News, Defense Media Activity

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WASHINGTON, May 18, 2017 — As Capitol Hill moves toward the fiscal year 2018 budget season, the military services' personnel chiefs testified on their postures and policies for recruitment and retention before a House Armed Services Committee panel yesterday.

Lt. Gen. James C. McConville, the Army's deputy chief of staff, G-1; Navy Vice Adm. Robert P. Burke, chief of naval personnel; Lt. Gen. Mark A. Brilakis, deputy commandant of the Marine Corps for manpower and reserve affairs; and Lt. Gen. Gina M. Grosso, Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services, appeared before the committee's military personnel subcommittee.

Army Posture

"We are moving from a personnel management system to a modern talent management system that will allow us to more effectively manage all three components of the Army diversity [that] is important to the Army," McConville said.

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The general noted that through outreach efforts, the Army is increasing the diversity of its force in under-represented branches and occupations. The Army is committed to giving all soldiers the opportunity to serve in any military occupation, as long as they meet the standards, he said, noting that all occupations are open to women.

"Women serve in every battalion in the active Army," McConville said.

The general said the Army will also remain focused on personal resilience and suicide prevention with world-class programs for its soldiers, civilians and families as the Army aggressively works to decrease the stigma associated with seeking behavior health care.

"Sexual assault and sexual harassment have no place in the ranks, and diminish our readiness," McConville said.

Navy Posture

While the Navy has healthy retention and recruiting today, it's vital for the service to update policies to deal with challenges before confronted with a crisis, Burke said.

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"As with the weapons systems we use, we must continue to refresh our personnel system to keep pace with the rapidly changing world," he said, adding, "and we must do so with the sense of urgency."

The admiral said the Navy workforce "must be poised to adapt quickly to new and evolving threats as we continue to work and retain the very best sailors in an increasingly competitive talented market."

Marine Corps Posture

"Your Marines are recruited, educated, trained and retained to win our nation's battles," Brilakis told the subcommittee.

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"Everything we do in the Marine Corps must contribute to their readiness and ability to win in battle," he said, noting that Marine Corps recruiting and retention remain strong.

Marine Corps recruiters continue to find high-quality men and women of character who want to take up the challenge, the general said.

"We will make our recruiting mission this year, and we'll have the start next year above 50 percent," he said. "Ninety-nine percent of those who we will ship will be Tier 1 traditional high school graduates or the equivalent."'

Air Force Posture

America's Air Force is always there, providing a global reach and power around the world, Grosso said.

VIDEO | 01:05 | Air Force General Describes Personnel Challenges

But always being there comes at a cost to equipment, infrastructure and most importantly, the Airmen, she noted.

"Sustained global commitments and continued budgetary uncertainty have diminished our ability to successfully balance capability, capacity and readiness," Grosso said. "Simultaneously," she added, "the Air Force experiences increase demand during missions and grows new mission sets such as information surveillance, suicide bomber and reconnaissance operations."

As it move beyond its challenges, the general said, the Air Force is planning and preparing for the future with a strategy to address talent planning, talent acquisition, talent evaluation, acquisition, compensation and retention and transition.

"Our time-management strategy focuses on the abilities of our total force airmen, maximizes efficiencies and increases human performance to produce warfighters, … We established a talent management innovation team to deploy initiatives with existing authorities," she told the panel. "Our talent strategy would not be possible without the support and authorities Congress has already given us."

(Follow Terri Moon Cronk on Twitter: @MoonCronkDoD)