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Military Personnel Chiefs Discuss People Issues Before HASC Panel

Feb. 8, 2022 | BY Terri Moon Cronk , DOD News

The U.S. military's No. 1 priority remains its people: service members, civilians, families and veterans, the five services' personnel chiefs told a House Armed Services Committee military personnel panel today. 

A Marine holds a child.
Homecoming Hug
A Marine holds a loved one during a homecoming event at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C., Oct. 6, 2021.
Photo By: Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Nicholas Guevara
VIRIN: 211006-M-JM820-2059C

Appearing before the subcommittee were Lt. Gen. Army Gary M. Brito, Army deputy chief of staff; Navy Vice Adm. John B. Nowell Jr., chief of Naval personnel; Air Force Lt. Gen. Brian T. Kelly, Air Force deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services; Marine Corps Lt. Gen. David A. Ottignon, Marine Corps deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs; and Patricia Mulcahy, Space Force deputy chief of space operations for personnel.   

"All of our Army's personnel, programs and initiatives are focused on taking care of people with dignity and respect, and building a culture of trust and cohesion," Brito began. "We continue to … acquire, develop, employ and retain the very best talent, uniformed and civilian alike. One of the critical enablers from the Army People Strategy is our Army's 21st-century talent-management system, which we are continuing to build and refine today."

Children play at a camp site.
Team Building
Camp counselor Justin Curtis, also a member of the Maine Army National Guard, runs a team-building activity for campers at the Maine National Guard Youth Camp in Gilead, Maine, July 13, 2014. The youth camp is designed to offer military youth a healthy environment in which they can grow confidence, character and friendships. Many of the counselors, like Curtis, were once campers and have returned as volunteers.
Photo By: Army National Guard Spc. Sarah Myrick
VIRIN: 150713-Z-TY703-1689

Brito said personnel readiness is critical to Army readiness. "New technology, programs, policy, innovation and management models are transforming the Army's personnel systems and will provide our soldiers [with] more opportunities to excel and improve our ability to compete for and retain talent," he added. 

The general said the integrated personnel and pay system in the Army is the No. 1 human resource modernization effort for the total Army. The Army's new web-based HR system, which when fully deployed, will develop or deliver a single comprehensive data-rich HR and talent management system to the Total Force. 

A soldier holds her baby as another soldier looks on.
Happy Homecoming
A soldier holds her daughter after returning home to Fort Bliss, Texas, following a nine-month deployment to Iraq, Oct. 22, 2019.
Photo By: Army Pvt. Matthew Marcellus
VIRIN: 191022-A-QF685-055

"We recognize talent management is more than just acquiring, developing and distribution," Brito said. "We fully recognize a connection to our Army families. The Army will keep a keen eye on the impacts of [permanent-change-of-station] moves, quality of life efforts, employment opportunities and more as the Army maintains his combat readiness."

The Navy continues to modernize talent management programs, training systems and recruiting platforms. It is also transforming internal business processes to improve [human resources] service delivery to its sailors, increase agility, accelerate responsiveness and reduce cost," Nowell told the panel. 

A sailor hugs two children.
Homecoming Hug
Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Quincy Miller embraces his family at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Feb. 24, 2020, during the homecoming of the fast-attack submarine USS Texas following a seven-month Indo-Pacific deployment.
Photo By: Navy Chief Petty Officer Amanda Gray
VIRIN: 200224-N-UD469-2112C

"We realize PCS moves and job changes continue to factor significantly in sailor and family retention decisions. In response over the past five years, the Navy has focused on improving geographic stability, and currently, more than 75,000 sailors have been at the same duty location for at least three years, with over 42,000 of those sailors in their family stable for four or more years," the admiral said. The Navy also announced recently its new detailing marketplace assignment policy, which gives additional opportunities for improving geographic stability for sailors electing to stay at sea beginning next month, he added. 

"[It's] essential we accelerate the establishment of the environment, developmental paths and the talent-management systems needed to unlock our airmen’s ability to reach their full potential," Kelly said.  

"We know success squarely depends on our airmen [and] on them having the ability to operate in a safe and inclusive environment where they can be the best airmen they can possibly be. … It is important that current and prospective members see the Air Force as an agile employer [that is] flexible meeting the personal needs of its members and families," he noted. 

An airman kneels and reaches out his arm to interact with a baby, who is sitting on a flightline with a plane in the background.
Flightline Baby
An airman reunites with his daughter upon returning to Aviano Air Base, Italy, Oct. 8, 2019, following a deployment.
Photo By: Air Force Airman 1st Class Ericka Woolever
VIRIN: 191008-F-ZX177-1249Y

"We have decisively stepped down on talent management, designing modernization efforts to increase the readiness and the lethality of your Marine Corps to fight and win if called upon by our nation," Ottignon said. 

"The [Marine Corps] commandant published Force Design 2030 and it's all about the lethality and warfighting capabilities. Talent Management 2030 supports these efforts. Accomplishing these objectives of Force Design will not be possible without highly skilled, mature and mentally tough Marines to execute it," he added. 

"[As] we purposefully build a [Space Force] capable of securing the space domain, we developed and released our new human capital vision, The Guardian Ideal, in September of last year," Mulcahy said. 

An Air Force officer conducts a swearing-in ceremony.
Future Guardians
Air Force Capt. Lauren Bauer swears in future Space Force Guardians during a ceremony at the Pima Air and Space Museum in Tucson, Ariz., Jan. 15, 2022.
Photo By: Air Force Staff Sgt. Kristine Legate
VIRIN: 220115-F-PV484-1083C

"That approach is grounded in our values of connection, commitment, competency and courage, and combines the more traditional recruit-and-retain objectives with an eye toward connecting with our guardians and their families, enabling a digital force while integrating wellness and resilience," she added. 

All five military personnel chiefs told the HASC panel a year-long continuing resolution will have negative impacts on service members and their families.