A Department of Defense Program to Provide Civilian Capability to Theater Commanders Worldwide

CIVILIAN EXPEDITIONARY WORKFORCE (CEW)

Objective

To make the Department of Defense's (DOD) Civilian Expeditionary Workforce Program Office (CEWPO) better equipped to successfully source, select, process, and deploy civilian capabilities in support of Combatant Commands across the globe. COE's solution included strategic program and project management; human capital consulting services; human resource (HR) and talent deployment operational support; performance management; analysis and metrics; and strategic communications and outreach. 

Challenge

The mission of CEWPO is to develop and implement policy within DOD that enables the Services and DOD agencies to efficiently organize, train, and equip qualified civilian employees to meet global and domestic national security mission requirements as an integral part of the Total Force, as directed by the Secretary of Defense. CEWPO obtained COE's support to specifically address mission challenges created by an upsurge in requirements in Afghanistan and other locations in U.S. Central Command theaters of operation. When COE's support began, almost half of the needed civilian billets were unfilled, and the average time it took to fill a position was well over 90 days.

Solution

Strategic Planning and Workforce Assessment/Planning: COE worked persistently with DOD stakeholders to plan, execute, and refine a strategy for developing deployment and readiness indicators that align with DOD's overarching vision and mission for the Program. COE supported CEW by identifying vacant requirements, as well as validating and managing civilian workforce manpower requirements, refining deployment operations and processes, and strategic policy formulation. COE conducted periodic top-to-bottom reviews of the Program to ensure operational efficiency while identifying emerging strategic issues in order to move the Program forward. COE's analysis and presentation set the stage for a larger CEW Comprehensive Review Summit in November 2012 to reach a decision regarding the long-term health and viability of this highly-visible DOD program.

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Organizational Effectiveness and Transformation/Change Management: COE continues to assess CEW business processes to identify areas in need of improvement and, at the same time, make efficiency-related recommendations for implementing re-designed processes. Recently, in order to achieve a smooth hand-off of pre-deployment operations from COE to CEWPO staff, COE met with the CEW Director and key leadership to gather data and gain an understanding of the concerns and expectations for the transition. COE conductedinterviews and surveys to identify areas of resistance, assess the current/future state, develop a transition management plan to mitigate resistance, and create a communications strategy to inform Program office employees of the transition.

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Performance Management: COE provided CEWPO extensive expertise in the development of the first comprehensive performance management plan and associated metrics, which ensured performance standards aligned with CEW strategic goals and objectives. 

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Talent Deployment Support: In an effort to increase the number of civilian "boots on ground" (BOG) in theater, COE assisted in sourcing candidates and managed all pre-deploymentrequirements and activities preparing selectees to deploy. COE overhauled a substantialnumber of operational processes, updated documentation, established needed business rules, and assessed the Program based on new DOD requirements. 

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Systems Development and Integration: Over the course of its association with this Program, COE developed and refined numerous information technology products and tools the Government relies on to manage manpower sourcing, selection, pre-deployment tracking, and on-time delivery to training. This support included complex analysis tools custom built for the CEW Program, as well as system upgrades, website support, and data migration.

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Strategic Communications and Outreach: COE developed the public-facing website used by CEW to promote the "Civilian Deployment Experience" both within DOD and to the general public. COE developed an easy-to-maintain and well-ordered website that is flexible and readily adaptable to accept Program updates, as well as disseminate important information to CEW managers across DOD. This new website has measurably increased the rate of volunteerism from within the DOD civilian workforce while rebranding this experience into an employment and professional option worthy of consideration for both junior and seasoned employees.

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Results

Within six months of taking over pre-deployment operations, COE achieved a 76 percent increase in the monthly throughput of candidates - the best throughput-to-training rate in the history of the CEW Program. COE also deployed the first purposefully designed website for the CEW Program, retiring and transitioning from a legacy site that was unable to meet current Program objectives. This website has quickly become a valued resource for managers and applicants across DOD.

Other notable efficiencies developed by COE on behalf of this client include the first comprehensive metrics program for CEW to codify meaningful measurements that gauge the BOG rate for the Program. Over an 18-month period, COE successfully helped CEWPO improve its BOG rate from an average of 60 percent to the best recorded rate in the history of the Program - 92.6 percent. Process improvement efforts undertaken by COE have also decreased the number of days required to process an employee from selection into theater from 98 days down to an average of 83 days.

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