Fort Leavenworth, Kansas – Ignite them ... That's what the Army Management Staff College is out to do to its students: Ignite their leadership potential with a premier leader development experience. These are not Soldiers they are endeavoring to mold into Army leaders, however. They are members of the Army Civilian Corps with unique backgrounds, routines and legal guidelines.
AMSC was born in 1985 when studies on education and training in the service convinced top Army officials Department of the Army civilians lacked the preparation for leadership their uniformed counterparts received in military staff and service colleges. The Army civilian education effort went through various changes through the years, ultimately resulting in the Civilian Education System. CES provides enhanced leader development and educational opportunities for Army civilians throughout their careers. AMCS is the executive agent of the CES.
At the heart of this ignition of civilian leadership, is instilling in them a level of commitment that rises above that for a mere job.
April 19, 2016 - Randy Cuka, of Fort Dietrich, Md., confidently makes a point during a break out session in an Army Management Staff College class. (U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Gary Qualls)
“We try to instill in them a conviction that this is not a job – but a calling,” said AMSC Director Kim Summers.
AMSC courses run 2-4 weeks, depending on whether they are the basic, intermediate, or advanced level. All the processes and content in the courses, which are primarily for Army Civilian Corps members at the GS 7 through GS 12 levels, are viewed through the perspective of how they pertain to the individual student – making self-awareness one of their pillars, Summers added.
“The students grab whatever makes them better,” he explained, adding, “We don't teach them what to think, but how to think.”
Along with self-awareness, other pillars: such as team building and mission accomplishment (while improving the organization) create the foundation of this ambitious program.
And, it all takes leadership.
“You can have the best artillerymen in the world, but, without good leadership, they won't focus on what they were truly meant to do,” Summers explained.
Moreover, Soldiers and the nation are counting on the Army Civilian Corps more than ever in the Army today, Summers added.
The fact the world is so interconnected today makes the role of the civilian in the Army even more important, added Lt. Col. R. Taylor Basye, an intermediate instructor at AMSC.
“You've got Soldiers in Afghanistan or Iraq talking to civilian team members back in the States while trying to fix an MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle,” he said.
“This course has helped me become a better leader, to understand where Soldiers are coming from,” noted Chris Benavente, a chief industry hygienist in Camp Zama, Japan, who is here for the course.
The principles taught in AMSC are broken down into specific actions members of the Army Civilian Corps can take to improve themselves and their organizations. A specific action to improve confidence, for example, is to accept relevant feedback. To enhance resilience, an action is to model comfort in dealing with ambiguity. And, to stimulate innovation, an action is to embrace uncommon thoughts.
Throughout the AMSC learning process instructors strive to demystify the Army and its jargon-filled language to the Army Civilian Corps.
April 19, 2016 - Army Management Staff College student Shannon Comperato gives her take on a team building point with AMSC Facilitator Thomas N. Barnhouse during a class session. (U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Gary Qualls)
Logic and emotion are tied together to drive home the importance of the Army Civilian Corps' role.
Values, such as commitment, integrity and appreciating the worth of the individual, play a big part in this motivating conviction.
“The charging of their (the students') ‘batteries' starts with values,” Basye said.
“It's huge that the Army is believing in me,” added Monica Walker, a project management specialist at Fort Belvoir, Va. “I feel the Army has realized they have to start training us (the Army Civilian Corps) for the future. They're investing in our development – and it means a lot.”
“I feel I've gained a lot of tools here to take back to help transform my directorate into the greatest organization it can be,” Shannon Comperato, a contract specialist for U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Omaha District, said.
Other insights, knowledge and attained skills noted by class members included the “eye opening” dimension of the class' emphasis on self-awareness and the individual, the priority placed on values and the way the course tied the Civilian Corps Creed and the Army Values together, the encouragement from the Army sharing its vision and leadership responsibility with the Army Civilian Corps, and how that kind of trust is helping to break through the “continuity barrier.”
The class members agreed their class facilitators in their iteration of the course, Thomas N. Barnhouse and Lyle N. Adams, are “fantastic.”
“What I've gained here is profound.” Comperato said.
Learn more about the Army Management Staff College
By U.S. Army Master Sgt. Gary Qualls
Provided through DVIDS
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