Illinois National Guard

8 Mar 2016
Public Affairs Office
My Priorities: Focusing on the Future

Since becoming the Assistant Adjutant General - Army in October of 2015, I have verbalized my priorities for the Illinois Army National Guard several times to various audiences.  However, I have not put them on paper and pushed them out to the widest audience possible.  Here are my thoughts on priorities:   Priorities are what give us direction and focus.  An organization without priorities is like a rudderless ship.  Priorities tell leaders where to expend their energy and where to place their resources.  Priorities are the difference between being a good organization and being the best organization. 

Readiness: P is key.  Personnel readiness is the key to our future success.  If we can’t deploy our Soldiers into a combat theater or to assist the citizens of Illinois, we have not been doing our job.  We have a no fail contract that states our Soldiers must be ready to deploy and accomplish every mission; leaders at all levels must strive to increase our P ratings.  General Milley, Chief of Staff of the Army, has a saying that readiness is number one and there is no other number one; words for us to live by!

Retention: Keeping qualified Soldiers is a must for the ILARNG.  Keeping qualified, trained Soldiers allows for our units to be ready for any mission or deployment.  It allows the ILARNG to build teams of Soldiers that are cohesive because they have shared and scarified together.  When qualified, trained Soldiers that have sacrificed with their unit exits the formation, a portion of that unit’s foundation crumbles.  We must keep Soldiers that are integral to our success and future in our formations.        

Leader Development and Training: Illinois must have the best trained leaders and the best trained Soldiers in all of the Army National Guard.  This priority feeds into the first two.  By having the best led and trained force, we will be ready and we will retain Soldiers.  We must manage our talent to ensure the best are being promoted into leadership positions.  We must ensure Soldiers and leaders attend all relevant training whether it be for career progression or for a tab or badge.   

Accountability: We need accountability at all levels and it should include personal, fiscal and equipment accountability.   Personal accountability means that you as a Soldier are ready to meet the mission; all of your Soldier readiness goals are met and you are ready to deploy.  It also means taking responsibility for your actions.  All leaders and soldiers must understand and be ready to accept this responsibility.  Fiscal accountability means fiscal stewardship.  We are in a resource and fiscally constrained environment now and must be audit ready at all times.  Finally, equipment accountability means just that, keep control and account for you equipment.  

Welfare of Soldiers and Family: Soldiers and their Families are our number one resource and we need to treat them as such.  We must get this right, the consequences are disastrous if we do not.  Remember at the end of the day, it is all about the Soldiers and their Families.

These five priorities should be your primary focus for the future.  However, all leaders must remember that there are always little “flash” priorities that come up from higher headquarters; but the aforementioned five priorities are where you need to spend the majority of your time and resources.  These are no longer my priorities, they are now OUR priorities!