June 19, 2014
By Annalee Grant, Belvoir Eagle
Fort Belvoir, Va. (June 19, 2014) - For the first time, the Army Force Management School will combine portions of the "How the Army Runs" General Officer and Command Sergeants Major courses, for classes running June 9 to 13.
"If you train them together, they learn together, so that when they go back to their jobs, they can operate together using that shared training," said Brian Eberle, AFMS, operations officer.
Previously, the two courses were at different times throughout the year at AFMS.
"Between them there are common classes, or common themes that are trained in both," said Lt. Col. Albert Benson Jr., AFMS, deputy commandant. "We saw it as an opportunity, again, for these two groups to get together."
The course will be made up of active-duty, National Guard and Army Reserve servicemembers, primarily senior executives, civilian leadership and general officers from the Pentagon.
"So it's a total Army view point," said Ben Rivera, AFMS, program manager.
Benson expects 72 students total to attend. The students are selected for the course through the Sergeants Major Management Office, Civilian Senior Leadership Office or the General Officer Management Office.
"The fact that these students have been selected for attendance, it's a real thumbs up that they've done some good things throughout their careers, and the Army is actually looking to them to be the strategic leaders moving forward," Benson said.
The week-long course will focus on the day-to-day operations that assist the Secretary of the Army, John McHugh, to equip, train, manage and sustain the Army.
"What we will teach them are the major processes that enable the Secretary of the Army to accomplish his mission using all the assistant secretaries, and the Army staff," Eberle said.
In regular Army operations, sergeants major act as advisors to general officers.
"As part of the generals' personal staff, it is important that these individuals are there to advise the generals that are in these force management positions, because these are the people, the strategic decision makers, the future," said G3/7 Force Management Sgt. Maj. Robert Norvell. "They are the guys that are shaping the Army."
The combined course seeks to build those relationships between the advising sergeants major, and the general officers.
"We feel that by bringing shared training events and bringing both groups together, it would create a certain degree of synergy which will allow the GO (general officer) a different perspective from the tactical operational level, and vice versa," Benson said.
Not all of the individual courses will be conducted together, but the sergeants major and general officers will meet for a networking lunch, and will be together for six classes.
The speakers will be senior level staff officials and civilian leadership, supplemented by the Army Force Management School.
"We combine (the senior Army members) with several of our own instructors here, who are local in the Army Force Management School, to ensure that they get both a process perspective and an application perspective," Rivera said.
This will be the first time the course is combined. It will be offered together two more times, in December and again in June 2015, as they assess its functionality.
"We're going to evaluate the effectiveness, and see how it works," Eberle said.
Benson said the hope is to develop the course into a more practical learning experience, with less time spent in a lecture environment.
"We're going to change it up," Benson said. "We want to get students, people in motion." Norvell said the core information will still be there, but the Army is simply looking at ways to improve the course.
"It's important from a doctrinal learning standpoint that we get them the information, but it's important to understand how that mind at that level thinks," Norvell said. "It's important that that GO sits down and thinks about how that sergeant major looks at strategy, how that GO looks at equipping. It's an opportunity for them to cross talk, which is important, and that takes the course to another level."
For more information on AFMS, visit www.afms1.belvoir.army.mil.