USACAPOC(A) CG: Command must adapt, prepare for the future

By By Lt. Col. Jefferson Wolfe, USACAPOC(A) Public Affairs Officer | USACAPOC | March 11, 2019

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — By Lt. Col. Jefferson Wolfe
USACAPOC(A) Public Affairs Officer

FORT BRAGG, N.C. —The United States Army Civil Affairs & Psychological Operations Command (Airborne) is moving into the future.

Maj. Gen. Darrell Guthrie, the USACAPOC(A) commanding general, outlined his approach to moving the Army Reserve’s third-largest command forward at the start of the Yearly Training Brief for all of his Major Subordinate Commands.

USACAPOC(A) has to build readiness and make sure it stays relevant to the Army and total force commanders it supports, he said. The command must become an adaptable, agile, learning organization or will be replaced by one that is.

In his opening remarks, Guthrie outlined his 7-year Command Strategy to man, equip, train and transform the command into the Army’s premier influence headquarters of the future. During the multi-media presentation, he unveiled his new vision, “Best People, Best Mission and Bright Future— harnessing our collective influence.”

“We have to acknowledge our past and move on to something different,” he added.

While the command is the Army Reserve’s home for influence and information capabilities, Guthrie said he doesn’t want leaders to forget the command is also home to the best people, with the best mission and a bright future.

"General Guthrie provided and painted a great picture for us about what our future needs are,” said Brig. Gen. Rob Cooley, commanding general of the 353rd Civil Affairs Command in Staten Island, New York “Things are changing. We operate in a very dynamic and uncertain environment and if we're not prepared to meet our current day requirements and needs, and think smartly about the future then we're going to become irrelevant."

For example, the Army Reserve’s Ready Force requirements are planned to grow, requiring the commitment of more resources and personnel, he said.

“USACAPOC(A) units need to determine how to modify current processes and systems to meet the new requirements, now and in the future,” he added.

One key requirement is people.

“Manning the force is now my number one priority,” Guthrie said.

The command’s force of young officers -- specifically captains and junior Noncommissioned Officers -- must be trained, qualified and ready to lead, he said. In addition, they need to gain relevant experience now in order to prepare them to lead the command.

“Captains are the future of USACAPOC,” Guthrie said. “They are needed to lead our organization in the future.”

According to the numbers being reported across the command, only 35 percent of the required captains are Duty Military Occupational Specialty Qualified.

Guthrie challenged the senior leaders to ensure junior officers get through their schooling to become fully qualified as civil affairs and psychological operations officers.

NCOs and Soldiers must complete all required training to be promoted to meet General Guthrie's vision, said Command Sgt. Maj. Peter Trotter, the USACAPOC(A) senior enlisted leader.

“If we are going to provide the best Soldiers for outstanding missions, we must be READY and not asked to get ready,” Trotter said. “Everyone needs to be accountable for their own actions. If we are all doing what's expected each day, we don't have to ‘get’ ready, we are always ‘ready’ to action and move the mission forward.”

Guthrie stressed that in order to make changes, the current crop of leaders will have to show grit, because new ideas do not always succeed and are only realized with great determination. This process starts with generating a culture of innovation in the ranks at all levels.

“The question is, are you going to keep trying?” Guthrie said. “We’ll be required to do that over the next few years.”

The general expects the next 5-10 years to be challenging for USACAPOC(A).

“Personally, I think you’re up to that challenge, but you’ve got to keep pushing that rock each and every day,” Guthrie said.

One way to make the change last is to put in place systems and processes that institutionalize the way the command does business, and Guthrie plans to continue developing new systems and processes to make the command a modern, learning organization.

Innovation was one of the changes Guthrie saw as another piece of the puzzle in creating a cultural shift within the organization. He presented a clip to the audience where civilian industries openly collaborated, shared their visions, engaged in a creative process and engaged in weekly cross-talk.

“The commander's vision makes everyone better,” Trotter said. “The future brings about change and as Soldiers and NCOs, we must be willing to embrace change, adapt and overcome.

Bringing leaders together to collaborate is a worthwhile expense for the command, Cooley said.

“There's no other better opportunity than to sit with my peers from the other civil affairs commands and the POG commanders and the entire staff,” he said. “Clearly, this is an opportunity for us to talk face-to-face and make sure we collectively get smarter.”

USACAPOC(A), which includes civil affairs, psychological operations and information operations units, has about 13,000 Soldiers and 1,000 civilian employees in 29 states. It is the most globally-engaged command in the Army Reserve, with Soldiers and units serving across the globe.