Academic Year 2009-2010
In Sourcing or Out Sourcing: What Makes Sense in Today’s Operating Environment
By Medhat Abuhantash
In the past several years, reliance on the private sector, especially in the area of service contracts has increased. This increase is a result of various factors such as hiring restrictions (personnel ceiling), reduced budgets, the preference and policies of prior administrations, and increased requirements as a result of various overseas commitments and contingencies. To reduce the heavy reliance on contractors and balance the workforce mix, the Obama administration is energizing its forces to look for opportunities where in-sourcing of contracted functions is suitable and cost effective without impacting the operational efficiency of its various agencies and departments.
The CECOM Life Cycle Management Command (LCMC) Software Engineering Center (SEC), a recognized leader in life cycle software sustainment, is considering increasing its use of in-sourcing as an option to reduce contracted services and increase organic expertise. As part of SEC’s approach to workforce management and strategic human capital planning, and the overall center’s effort to manage more efficiently and effectively, SEC leadership is giving special consideration to using Department of Defense (DoD) civilian employees to perform new functions or functions that are performed by contractors. The SEC leadership understands the importance of a balanced workforce and realizes the potential of significant dollar savings by in-sourcing. The leadership further realizes the benefits of in-sourcing and how such implementation will allow for better control and oversight of various critical functions, resulting in efficiencies, accountability, and better management practices. This research will aid in the development of SEC's future operational model, including concepts and strategies for balancing SEC's contractor to government staffing ratio, maximizing productivity, and cost savings. More..
Civilian Talent Management: A Proposed Approach for the Aberdeen Proving Ground Workforce
By Richard Cozby
The Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) act of 2005 presents extraordinary challenges for the workforce at Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG), Maryland. In total, over 5,000 government civilian positions will be relocated to APG, and many will arrive unencumbered. In addition, the U.S. Army Civilian Human Resources Agency anticipates that over 25 percent of the current APG workforce will be eligible to retire over the next five years. The combination of these trends suggests that APG will need to hire over 25,000 civilians in the next five years, most of whom will need to possess scientific, engineering, project management, and other hard-to-find skills. In attempting to discern how best to navigate through this extraordinary human resources challenge, two major issues stand out. First, the hiring method that is currently used at APG and throughout the Army relies upon a traditional advertise-and-apply process. This leaves to chance as to whether the best person-job fit will be satisfied. Secondly, the professional development model for civilians is relatively unstructured, leaving most of the decision making with regard to education and assignments up to the employee. This contrasts with the military professional development model, where a progression of training and job assignments is highly structured to produce employees with the requisite experience and expertise needed to perform at increasingly higher levels as their career progresses. This research addresses the APG human resources challenge along three avenues of approach: 1) a survey of talent management best practices across government, industry, and academia; 2) a series of interviews with selected APG leaders soliciting their opinions with regard to the current challenge and possible solutions; and 3) an analysis of the magnitude of the problem based on FY09 personnel data. The research concludes with a recommendation to conduct further research leading to the creation of an APG Civilian Talent Management Program and APG Civilian Promotion and Placement Board as a centerpiece for the Team APG vision. More..
Altering Leadership Thinking and Organizational Behavior through Web Services
By William Gilbert
Implementing information technology (IT) solutions within government organizations is difficult, especially when a causal effect on their culture may result. The proliferation of Web 2.0 services is enabling information sharing among employees and leaders. Regrettably, this level of information sharing is complicating efforts to maintain the status quo of the government’s traditional need-to-know policy. In this study, the researcher investigates the relationship between Web services, commonly called Web 2.0, and the influence these services wield on organizational behavior. To support the analysis, an IT organization and an Army battalion were chosen as test cases. The results from their study highlighted the need for certain Web services and behaviors that may cause a shift away from established methods of information sharing. More..
Consistency of Pay-For-Performance Results across a Geographically Dispersed Command
By Dr. Corde Lane
Annual appraisals across corporate America range from going through the motions of filling out paperwork to an arduous task of force ranking every employee against each other. The primary goal is to use a performance system that can fairly evaluate performance that is both helpful to the organization and equitable for the individual employee. The Department of Defense (DoD) has attempted to improve human resource rewards and recognition with annual appraisals using several pay-for-performance models, including the National Security Personnel System (NSPS). Whether elements of this or any other pay-for-performance system can provide a fair mechanism of evaluation and incentivize the workforce will remain in debate for some time.
This paper will investigate the consistency of evaluations given to over 1,500 employees within a DoD command geographically dispersed in eight locations across the country. Each of the eight separate locations has its own specialized areas, but all work in a particular technical field for the defense industry. NSPS provides a standard way to evaluate the federal workforce, but also allows greater organization flexibility on many human resource tasks like recruitment, pay setting, promotions, and details on annual performance appraisals. The headquarters element of the observed command evaluates the flexible NSPS business rules for each of their subordinate commands to ensure the right level of standardization exists. Therefore, the expected goal would be that a level of consistency should exist between the eight subordinate commands. Using evaluation outcomes for every employee from the previous three years since this command began transition to NSPS, this paper will compare the resultant performance ratings and resultant salary increases and one-time bonus awards. Correlations between performance scores between seniority pay bands (intern, full performance, and senior level) as well has hierarchical (student interns, support staff, professional, and managerial) will also be investigated for variability. Although representing a very small sliver of the DoD workforce, these results may indicate some of the positive aspects of NSPS as a pay-for-performance system as well as some areas in need of improvement. More..
An Assessment of Talent Management Practices Targeting GS-12/13 Level Members of the Acquisition Corps Workforce
By Christopher Manning
Knowledge work is the centerpiece of the Army Acquisition Corps (AAC) workforce. The increase of knowledge work in the private sector, economic globalization, government in-sourcing initiatives, and generation cultural shifts have created intense competition in recruitment and retention of our nation’s talent. The Army Acquisition Workforce talent management practices and strategies need to address this changing environment. The importance of further research into this problem has been identified by the U.S. Army War College on its 2009 Key Strategic Issues List (KSIL) as: “Assess efforts to identify, manage, and sustain the Army’s intellectual and technological talent.” Current literature states that the most important asset of any organization is its people—their skills and abilities. This asset is commonly referred to as intellectual capital or talent. Intellectual capital is a combination of both competence and commitment (Ulrich, 1998); therefore, talent development and management programs are a key component to assessing the effectiveness of identifying, managing, sustaining, and retaining intellectual capital.
Several research studies have investigated the practices and effectiveness of managing intellectual capital and talent development in the commercial sector (Chambers, 1998 and Holtshouse, 2009). This research project will conduct a similar study in the government sector, specifically the AAC workforce, comparing the results to the commercial sector studies to gain further insight into which commercial practices can best be applied to improve the identification, management, and retention of intellectual and technological talent to effectively support the 21st century U.S. Army.
This research project followed an applied research methodology. Research performed is of the descriptive category. This researcher collected qualitative data through the use of surveys of the target population. The target population is Army acquisition workforce employees at the GS-12/GS-13 or National Security Personnel System (NSPS) Pay Band Level 2 performing work at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama; Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland; and Detroit Arsenal, Michigan. More..
Expectations and Integration of Organizational Military and Civilian Cultures
By Sharon Meirose
The U.S. Army has numerous types of organizations, some of which have primarily military personnel, while others consist mostly of civilian government employees. There is a varying mix of civilian and military personnel in all types of positions. Both types of employees bring varying but important skill sets, and both are critical to the success of their organization. The U.S. Army military and civilian workforces do have different organizational cultures. Allowing both cultures to exist within an organization rather than finding a way to unite them can impact the overall organizational effectiveness because different rules and expectations are applied to each. Having two unique, separate and distinct cultures can cause unintentional consequences to the total success of the agency and may affect areas such as morale, teambuilding, and turnover. The extent and type of the differences vary by organization and may be a reflection on who resides as the senior leader. For example, in an activity run by a civilian, civilian work practices often prevail. Likewise, a military leader generally establishes military-type policies.
When analyzing how to integrate these two distinct organizational cultures, inherent questions to ask are what organizational culture expectations U.S. Army military and civilian personnel have and how do they differ? Knowing the answer may help leaders to develop an effective culture for their agency that maximizes what both their civilian and military personnel value.
This study uses an applied research approach. Existing knowledge and research will provide baseline information of both the impact organizational culture can have on a workforce, and the consequences of allowing multiple cultures to co-exist within the same agency. A survey will be used to collect data from an independent sampling of civilian and military employees at agencies at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, to determine if, and how, organizational culture expectations are different for Army military and civilian personnel. Two government agencies with high percentages of both military and civilian personnel were utilized for survey distribution. The same survey instrument also gathered qualitative information on areas of dissimilarity, whether it is perceived that two distinct cultures impact the operational effectiveness of the organization, and if the perceived differences impact areas such as morale, teambuilding, and turnover. More..
Mentoring of the Acquisition Workforce at Aberdeen Proving Ground
By Anthony Subrizi
The value of employee mentoring is well known within business, academia, and government. It provides a valuable element to the development of employees for leadership and other senior positions. There is significant literature that addresses specifically the benefits of mentorship and the best way to administer mentoring as part of a career developmental program. This project uses existing research and applies that research to a specific situation and place within the Army Acquisition Workforce: Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.
Aberdeen Proving Ground, or APG, has a diverse group of organizational tenants that employ acquisition workforce personnel. Tenants include elements of U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command (Aberdeen Test Center, Development Test Command Headquarters, Army Evaluation Center); Research, Development and Engineering Command Headquarters; Program Executive Office (PEO) Integration; elements of Joint Program Executive Office Nuclear, Biological and Chemical; Chemical Materiel Agency; Edgewood Chemical Biological Command (ECBC); and various contracting organizations. Additionally, acquisition organizations associated with Program Executive Office Intelligence Warfare; Program Executive Office Command, Control, Communications–Tactical; Communications Research, Development and Engineering Command from Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, are in the process of moving to Aberdeen Proving Ground as a result of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process. Aberdeen Proving Ground will be a key Army acquisition installation when BRAC moves are completed.
Two principal questions are investigated: (1) Is there a basis for support for a career mentoring program at Aberdeen Proving Ground among senior leadership? and (2) What scope, mentor training, and key characteristics are needed in an Aberdeen Proving Ground career mentoring program for improving acquisition and leadership training, education, experience, and succession planning?
Adding to the body of knowledge concerning career mentoring, this report provides analysis of interviews and surveys of professionals and executives in the field of Army acquisition regarding mentoring program needs for Aberdeen Proving Ground. The recommendations in this report could also apply to other similar installations with large acquisition workforce populations. More..
Career Advancement for Women: What is the Prescribed Path for Success?
By Deirdre Sumpter
Are women prepared for senior management positions? A culturally diverse workforce is becoming a reality in the United States. As the workforce is rapidly becoming more diverse than in the past, increased female participation raises an issue that leadership must address. Unless businesses and organizations properly train women for significant jobs, they may have a difficult time competing.
The Developmental Test Command (DTC), the customer’s (Army, DoD, industry, etc.) preferred tester of choice, is currently mentoring, training, and developing their female employees to compete for senior management positions. As part of DTC’s strategic human capital planning, DTC leadership is providing highly potential female candidates for career advancement programs such as the Aberdeen Proving Ground (APG) Cohort, Harvard University Program for Senior Executive Fellows, Defense Acquisition University (DAU) Senior Service College Fellowship (SSCF), and other developmental assignment opportunities. DTC understands the importance of the diverse workforce and realizes the potential long-term pay-off for developing the next generation of DTC female leaders to continue the legacy of the DTC mission and vision.
This planned research will review the career advancement paths of the DTC female employees at the senior analyst/management levels (General Service [GS]-13 [pay band 2], GS-14/GS-15 [pay band 3], Senior Executive Service [SES]) by examining the perceived barriers and facilitators of advancement, developmental experiences, and career histories. Examining the career paths will identify the key or keys to achieving success. More..