Wednesday, January 20, 2016 –
FORT KNOX, Ky. - Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel Dailey sits down with senior sergeants major from around the U.S. Army four times a year to discuss issues that affect his biggest concern - the welfare of Soldiers. It’s called the Senior Enlisted Council, SEC, and the first meeting of 2016 convened this week at the U.S. Army Human Resources Command.
Since HRC’s daily mission is to optimize total force personnel readiness, Dailey said it was the perfect setting for the topic at hand. “This time, what we talked about was our personnel and how we’re going to rearrange the talent management and leader development of our senior noncommissioned officers,” he said.
Dailey changed what was once known as the Board of Directors, or BOD, to the SEC shortly after taking over as the 15th Sgt. Maj. of the Army in January, 2015. The council meets monthly via video teleconference and in-person quarterly. Topics can range from military pay and compensation recommendations for the future to uniform changes. However, Dailey said the time has come to concentrate on people after more than a decade of focus on an Army at war.
“The Chief of Staff of the Army has tasked me with taking a look at how we manage our enlisted force, how we maximize the talents and capabilities of our Soldiers, and really answer some of the questions that we’ve asked for a long time,” said Dailey.
Topics discussed during SECs can affect the force in as little as a month or they can extend into ongoing talks for years. Dailey said it just depends on the issue.
“We get recommendations and some of those start with one individual Soldier,” he said. He gave the example of a recent change in Army policy on the authorized wear of black socks with the Army Physical Fitness Uniform. A Soldier stood up in a town hall meeting and asked why black socks weren’t allowed. Less than 30 days later, the policy was changed.
“We took that to the Senior Enlisted Council, had a unanimous vote that it was in keeping with the finest traditions of Army service, went to the Chief of Staff of the Army and we quickly made a decision,” Dailey added.
Some issues are much more complex. When you’re discussing working through the intricacies of military compensation and reform, it could take several months to affect the force, he said.
“The perfect example is the Noncommissioned Officer Evaluation Report that has just been launched,” said Dailey. “We worked on that for two years in the Senior Enlisted Council, previously the BOD under (former SMA Raymond) Chandler, and some of these things take a lot of work because we have to call in the professionals, like those people who work here at the Human Resources Command, to be able to inform us and do the analysis.”
No matter what the issue or length of time needed for discussion, Dailey reiterated the SEC’s biggest concern is the welfare of Soldiers. They don’t want to make decisions that could have a negative impact over the long term.
“This is the Army, it’s a big organization and it’s hard to turn back,” he said. “Simple things like black socks – not a huge effect on Soldiers. But the Noncommissioned Officer Evaluation Report, that has a huge effect on the total population of NCOs, not just now, but into the foreseeable future.”
Dailey said the SEC will continue to meet with a fresh new focus on people and the Chief of Staff of the Army’s number one priority - readiness.
“We’re an organization made up of people and we’re the largest people organization in America,” he said. “Human Resources Command is one of those critical nodes that we have to invest in for the future and make sure we get it right because they’re here to take care of our people. And our job as an Army is to always get better.”