The Army Reserve Careers Division (ARCD) welcomes its new Commander, Colonel Thomas Bartow. The mission of ARCD and its 13 Battalions are to sustain the strength of the Army Reserve through retention, accessions programs and Troop Program Unit (TPU) career management. Colonel Bartow has lead one of ARCD’s top producing battalions and brings that experience to his new position. Below is an interview with COL Bartow discussing how he plans to create that same success through the command.
For the last 5 years your battalion, 5th Battalion, has lead the way in mission accomplishment in sustaining the end strength of the Army Reserve. For three of these years you have been the Commander, what are the top three elements of leadership that assist in accomplishing this goal?
“My top 3 elements of leadership in no particular order are: Trust in the leaders within my command to take charge when in charge, Ensuring accountability, and fostering a fun and competitive spirit throughout the command.
What elements do not change regardless of the type of mission and in your case, what is done the same when accomplishing the mission for Individual Ready Reserve (IRR) to Selective Reserves (SELRES) versus Warrant Officer Accessions and what elements have to be adjusted for the uniqueness of the mission?
The missions are similar across the board as far as engaging with the Soldier to either transfer from the IRR to a TPU, convincing a Soldier to continue to serve (reenlist), or accessing a Soldier as a direct commission, warrant officer or reappointment. The missions differ in that there are certain qualities that only a select few possess to become a warrant officer or 2nd Lieutenant so it may take longer to find these Soldiers. In addition, the time that it takes to put a quality packet together is also a lot longer than a typical IRR or Reenlistment contract. In terms of the amount of Soldiers qualified, two years ago we looked at the amount of Soldiers that met the minimum qualifications for a direct commission in Puerto Rico, and that number represented only 2% of the Soldiers on the island at the time.
Saying that (referencing the above question), As the Commander of Army Reserve Careers Division what will be your main focus to ensure the each battalion are able to reach their mission in accomplishing the Army Reserve end strength.
My role is to communicate to the Senior Leadership the importance in supporting our career counselors with these missions. This in turn will assist in raising the Army Reserve end strength to the congressionally mandated 205K. The Senior Leaders understand the strategic significance of our mission, and communicating this down to the company level and lower will help to overcome challenges within the reserve centers.
What do you do to ensure that tomorrow’s leaders are able to take the tools of your success to ensure their success in their current position or future position?
Get to know your Soldiers and learn as much as possible about their job. Knowing what challenges they are facing, personally and professionally will facilitate effective leadership.
What else can be done to ensure that tomorrow leaders ensure their Soldiers are afforded the type of leadership to ensure their success?
Future leaders must build a solid foundation and be willing to take on new challenges and increased responsibility. In the 79V MOS, this means diverse assignments such as staff, special missions, (Reserve Components Career Counselor (RCCC), Transition Assistance Team, Liaison Noncommissioned Officer (LNO) positions, etc… For our Troop Program Unit (TPU) population it is the Quality Assurance Team and LNO positions. Education is also very important. A college degree helps to reach the highest levels along with professional military education. Officers and NCOs should seek these opportunities when possible. Finally there has been a movement to “get back to the basics” with Soldier skills. This is important because at the end of the day, we are all Soldiers and that is the true foundation for success. These qualities will help ensure the success of our future leadership.