In my last column in Guardlife I commented that I would use this publication to address the most critical challenges facing the New Jersey National Guard. To that end I have determined that Strength is most critical to our success and so by priority is to be addressed in this issue.
Attaining and maintaining 100% strength in all our units must be our goal. Through Maj. Gen. (Ret) Craig Cosgrave’s leadership and exceptional team effort our Air Guard not only met but exceeded this goal over the last year. I applaud them for their success. I now offer my support to Maj Gen. Clark Martin in their ongoing retention efforts.
The Army Guard has a significant challenge ahead and my vision for fixing its strength is both short-term and long-term, short-term changes have already begun.
First, I will enforce the highest ethical standard in strength maintenance. We will not falsify our true strength nor will we manipulate paperwork to cover our strength. The Army Guard’s No-Val percentage will be 2% or less by October 2002 regardless of our reported strength figures. Currently estimated to be 6,250 soldiers or 84% of authorized. Second, every member of the team will work toward the standards that the Air Guard has demonstrated in attaining its success:
Recruiters will meet mission, every month, with quality soldiers who understand what and why they are joining.
Leaders at all levels must know their personnel, especially the new ones, and make them part of the unit quickly.
Full-time support personnel, from the Chief of Staff and State Command Sergeant Major to the Readiness NCO will ensure all soldiers get the formal schools training they require and that unit training is well planned and resourced. Leaders will conduct training professionally and to standard. Commanders will ensure their units are doing meaningful tasks and not repetitive and boring routines. All leaders and their staffs are responsible for the care of our soldiers and their families. In a timely manner, pay them every dollar they are owed, give them every award they have earned, house them in the best possible facilities and include families in all possible activities.
Leaders will eliminate non-performers. Let me make it abundantly clear, everyone of us has a responsibility to make the Army Guard better. If a person is not moving toward the standards outlined above we must remove him or her to insure team success.
Commanders and leaders will praise and reward our performing units and individuals in both our military world and in the community. The National Guard is a community organization that thrives with its support. As part of your
public relations effort take every opportunity to get your people and units in the media limelight. Show the people what we have, the great things we do and the many ways we support
Long term changes involve strategic adjustments and force structure. I will make difficult decisions by refusing, or if necessary, turning back force structure we can not support. For the New Jersey National Guard to be successful, I will only seek new units we can support. A unit with 50% strength is not capable of performing its assigned mission or supporting itself, it drains resources from other units that can be successful and could become a safety concern.
Strength is critical to our success and every one of us impacts upon our ability to recruit and retain our soldiers.
Be a contributing member of the team in everything you do and we will succeed.
I will be with you throughout the fight
to fix the Army Guard Strength problem and I will work hard to get the
resources we need to insure success. It follows that I also will be
checking to ensure we are on the path of meeting my 100% goal.
Together we will succeed.
Congratulations again to our Air Guard.