Story by Patricia Dubiel on 02/11/2019How can such an exodus be halted or at least mitigated? One way, as demonstrated by my own recent experience, is the developmental assignment program, or DAP.
A DAP offered me a chance to leave the Fort Polk Public Affairs Office and see how another directorate works. I was given a chance to tackle interesting and challenging projects, learned and applied new skills, and found a deeper significance in what it means to be a DA civilian.
Now I had the good fortune of being assigned to the nerve center of Fort Polk the Installation Operations Center, or IOC, which is managed by the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security. Everything that happens on post is tracked through the IOC 24 hours a day, and many events are developed, coordinated and initiated there as well. If it concerns installation planning, training events, unit mobilization or security issues it is addressed there. I found the issues fascinating and the process for managing them equally so.
Knowing I had a limited amount of time at DPTMS Plans and Operations, I made the most of it. I learned about the art of military leadership and how decisions are reached, who makes those decisions, and most importantly what leadership looks like. I saw the model for it, studied it through coursework made available to me during my time there, asked questions about it and looked for ways to apply it. I watched it in action during briefings, meetings and working groups, taking note of its influence throughout the development and eventual completion of projects. Leadership is often the cornerstone for teamwork, as someone usually takes the lead or drives the actions of any group and teamwork is more effective when there is a mutual regard and respect between the parties involved. The professionalism and dedication to duty demonstrated by the people I worked with at DPTMS reinvigorated my pride in serving in the Army Civilian Corps.
Since my return to the PAO, I have applied some of my newfound knowledge and motivation to offer a benefit to the organization. I am confident I can assume more and greater responsibility, which will prove useful to the leadership and improve the overall operations and performance of the entire directorate.
DPTMS Plans and Operations welcomed my contributions to projects, and according to my leadership there, they will have a lasting effect and have helped that directorate tremendously.
PAO, DPTMS and I have all made good use of the experience. This trifecta of wins shows that DAP is a benefit to the U.S. Army because of its influence on the workforce (strengthening skills, abilities and resilience in preparation for more responsibilities and greater challenges) and installation directorates (by building breadth across the full spectrum of command through a diversely experienced pool of employees).
Thinking about giving it a try? I whole-heartily recommend doing so. It can be a great way to burst out of your routine and learn new skills. If you are considering whether or not you should let an employee leave to participate in DAP, you should you will get a better employee in return. If you have doubts about accepting a DAP candidate into your directorate, fear not those who enter DAP are hard-working, willing people looking for new experiences. Give them the benefit of your experience, share your knowledge, help mold that individual to be more than they thought possible.
My time at the IOC has been a highlight of my career.
Support the DAP keep critical skill sets and talent in the Army Civilian Corps.