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Aligning the Organization and Cascading the Strategy: Ensuring the Sustained Implementation of the Army Transformation Roadmap

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By LTC ROMMEL R CORDOVA (INF) PA

Introduction

In 2010, the Philippine Army took a bold step forward when it embarked on an 18-year transformation program that aims to build a more responsive and competent Army fully capable of undertaking its mandated tasks. Through this program aptly called the Army Transformation Roadmap (ATR), the Army envisions itself to be “a world-class Army that is a source of national pride” by 2028. This initiative demonstrates the Army’s strong resolve towards the righteous path of good governance, which is in line with the policy thrusts of the current Aquino Administration.

However, implementing a dramatic and total change involving the Philippines’ largest uniformed service is a huge and challenging task. This requires the firm determination of the leadership and the strong support of its stakeholders, both internal and external; without which carrying out a large-scale change program will most likely fail. Thus, the success of a transformation initiative is largely hinged on the commitment and involvement of all stakeholders.

In this light, this article will discuss and outline the key strategy mechanisms implemented in order to align the entire organization to the strategic direction set by the ATR and ensure that the Army is prepared for the full implementation of the strategy through increased awareness and accountability. This will be carried out in three (3) sections. The first section will provide an overview of the Army’s journey towards good governance by defining the key concepts that guides the Army Transformation Roadmap. The second section will highlight the four alignment mechanisms that are implemented in order to ensure that all Army units, offices and personnel are aligned to the set direction and are committed to support the implementation of the ATR. Finally, the third section will outline the early gains that came as a result of the ATR and the ways ahead in order to sustain the momentum of the transformation program. Overall, this essay will conclude that the success of this reform initiative and the realization of the Army 2028 vision rest on the strong commitment and full involvement of the Army’s stakeholders, both within and without the organization.

Road to Army Transformation

Transformation is not new to the Army. Its history is a story of evolution from a revolutionary army during its early years to a dynamic partner in peace and nation-building over a century later. In the course of time, it has remained receptive to various initiatives for reforms.

More recently, the Army has embarked on a transformation program that placed emphasis in a change in paradigm which involves thinking beyond self, short-term, and single issues. Through this program, the Army must focus on the institution rather than the personalities; must consider long-term strategies rather than short-term tactics; and must approach all matters from a systems perspective in order to address interrelated priorities rather than single issues.

Specifically, the Army’s reform program must address organizational issues at three levels. Firstly, the Army must reengineer current systems and process to make it more efficient, responsive and transparent. Secondly, it must address identified capability shortfalls to make Army units more capable and operationally ready to perform its mandate. Finally, the Army must address issues related to the competence, discipline, motivation, and professionalism of individual soldiers.

In order to pursue these reform agenda, the Army, in partnership with the Institute for Solidarity in Asia (ISA), has formulated the Army Transformation Roadmap, which is a governance and transformation program anchored on the Performance Governance System (PGS).

The ATR highlights our commitment to pursue a genuine transformation program founded on good governance. It seeks to transform the PA into a better, more responsive, more capable and more professional Army committed to its mandate. It aims to promote good governance and performance excellence; institutionalize the various reform initiatives; and provide a rational and long-term basis for the organizational thrusts of the Army.

It’s an 18-year transformation program that intends to provide stability to thrusts and policies despite frequent changes in leadership. The ATR is also a governance program that serves as a guide and constant reference for decisions and actions taken on a day-to-day basis.

The ATR has three important components namely: the Army Governance Charter which defines the Army’s strategic direction, the Army Strategy Map that outlines our strategic approaches, and the CGPA Governance Scorecard which facilitates strategy execution.

The Governance Charter sets and defines the strategic direction that the Army wants to pursue for the next 18-years. It highlights our core values of “Honor, Patriotism, and Duty”; our Core Purpose of “serving the people, securing the land”; and our vision to be “a world-class Army that is a source of national pride” by 2028.

The Army has also developed a transformation roadmap that visually captures its strategy on how to realize our vision. The strategy map highlights the three strategic themes of good governance, organizational excellence, and operational excellence. It considers the 5 strategic perspectives used to define the 13 strategic objectives of the ATR. It emphasizes the importance of stakeholder involvement to support its good governance agenda. Moreover, it illustrates the cause-and-effect relationship of the strategic objectives and describes the story on how the Army will be able to realize our vision.

In order to ensure that the ATR goals are attained and the vision is realized, the Army crafted the Commanding General’s (CGPA) Governance Scorecard that translates the vision into objectives, measures and performance targets. The Army identified 21 measures which are used to evaluate the success of the Army in relation to the strategic objectives outlined in the ATR. (In the interest of time I will not discuss in detail the various performance indicators but feel free to refer to the ATR pamphlet provided.)

Strategy Execution and Alignment

Aligning the Army & Cascading the ATR

The success of the Army’s transformation initiative rest on the proper implementation of the ATR, otherwise it will just remain as a planning document or at the conceptual level. To jumpstart its execution, the Army needs to align key aspects of the organization to the ATR. The concept of strategic alignment aims to ground the Army better to its strategy by increasing awareness, creating accountabilities and building focus. In this regard, strategic alignment is attained in the Army through the following mechanisms:

(1)  Alignment in functions, systems and policies in which, through the scorecard infrastructure as a common framework, different offices and units in the Army are aligned to the ATR through the scorecard cascading process.

(2)  Alignment in resources in which the Army prioritized the allocation of resources to support the programs, activities and projects identified in the ATR that are designed to produce the desired strategic outcomes.

(3)  Alignment in message in which the Army endeavors to promote greater awareness and commitment to the ATR.

(4)  Alignment in expectations in which the Army actively reaches out to and closely partners with its external stakeholders in order to attain its long-term vision.

Aligning Functions, Systems and Policies

The realization of the Army vision and the attainment of the ATR goals necessitate that the day-to-day operations of all the units and offices in the Army must be synchronized and linked to the strategic direction set by the ATR. This is achieved by aligning to the ATR the various systems and policies governing the Army as well as the functions and programs of key Army units and offices through a scorecard cascading process.

To generate greater impact on the cascading process, the Army initially pursued the horizontal cascading philosophy. This means that the Army choose to cascade first to the key staff at the Headquarters Philippine Army (HPA) because they are the policy-making arm of the CGPA and manages a specific functional program; hence, they influence how the entire Army operates through its policies, plans and programs. Moreover, cascading the ATR to these functional staff offices will align the various functional systems to the thrusts and goals of the ATR. The succeeding table identifies the eleven (11) offices that underwent the initial ATR cascading process.

OFFICE

SCOPE OF RESPONSIBILITY

  1. Office of the Asst Chief of Staff for Personnel, G1, PA

Personnel Management

  1. Office of the Asst Chief of Staff for Intelligence, G2, PA

Intelligence and counterintelligence

  1. Office of the Asst Chief of Staff for Operations, G3, PA

Operations, organization, CAGU affairs, force integration, performance measurement & doctrines evaluation

  1. Office of the Asst Chief of Staff for Logistics, G4, PA

Logistics management

  1. Office of the Asst Chief of Staff for Plans, G5, PA

Strategic planning, capability development & international defense and security engagements

  1. Office of the Asst Chief of Staff for Communications, Electronics & Information Systems, G6, PA

Management of communications, electronics & information systems

  1. Office of the Asst Chief of Staff for Civil-Military Operations, G7, PA

Civil-military operations particularly on civil affairs, public affairs, & psychological operations

  1. Office of the Asst Chief of Staff for Education & Training, G8, PA

Education, training and doctrines development

  1. Office of the Asst Chief of Staff for Reservists & Retirees Affairs, PA

Reserve affairs administration, reserve manpower development & reserve force development

  1. Army Resource Management Office

Resource management

  1. Management Fiscal Office, PA

Financial management

 

The Army started the cascading process last 02-03 December 2010 through a pilot cascading session for the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Plans, G5, PA in order to familiarize the ATRTWG with the process. After which, a series of two cascading working sessions were conducted last 25-28 January and 01-04 February 2011 involving the rest of the identified offices which were divided into groups of five per session. This was followed by individual working sessions per office last August 2011 in order to refine the various outputs.

Each office went through the process of analyzing its customers vis-à-vis its outcome and evaluated the office processes through the value chain analysis framework in order to derive the desired change agenda where they based their respective strategic objectives. They then proceeded to develop their respective second-level scorecards with specific measures and targets; and outlined the initiatives which must be implemented to attain the outlined office objectives.

Illustrating the Cascading Process

To illustrate how the cascading process was done, we have chosen the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Education and Training, G8, PA as an example because of the big impact it has on the accomplishment of the mission of the PA as well as on the ATR. As the principal staff responsible for all matters related to education, training and doctrines development, aligning the policies, plans and programs of OG8, PA with the goals of the ATR will greatly affect the accomplishment of the Army mission and the realization of the Army vision. Moreover, the thrusts of OG8, PA will directly influence the training programs of the various training and operating units of Army.

During the cascading workshops, OG8 has clarified its roles and responsibilities vis-à-vis the thrusts of the ATR using the customer-outcome analysis framework. Though this framework, OG8 clearly defined its outcome of having a “well-educated and well-trained Army” which is directly contributory to the desired outcome of the ATR to have a “professional Army loved by the people.”

Secondly, through the Value Chain Analysis framework, OG8 has defined the processes, key outputs and activities related to education and training management and doctrine development leading to the identification of the gaps and issues that became a basis for their change agenda as outlined in the table below.

 

 

 

 

 

CHANGE AGENDA

FROM

TO

No established procedures on analysis, design, development & evaluation (ADDE) of training programs Well-established procedures
No institutionalized training program for personnel that handle ADDE functions Well-trained personnel for ADDE functions
Limited capability to confer instructor certification vis-a-vis requirements Efficient and effective instructor certification system
Lack of leadership training at the tactical level (fire teams to company) Training programs for development of tactical leaders
No effective monitoring system Education and training activities are effectively monitored
Poorly funded training Adequate facilities and equipment for training
Lack of adequate facilities
Lack of appreciation on the value of training at the tactical level Commanders and personnel value the importance of training
No standardized training Improve operational and training capacity
Widespread lack of basic proficiency
AFP views combat operations as satisfying training
Cumbersome doctrine development process Expeditious doctrine development process

Thirdly, based on the customer-outcome analysis and the change agenda, OG8 identified the following eleven (11) second-level objectives majority which are aligned to the CGPA strategic objectives:

Perspective

OG8 Objectives

Constituency

11. Well-educated and trained Army.

Internal Processes

10 .Adopt an effective system of analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation of training programs.
9. Pursue an effective and efficient monitoring of education and training activities.
8. Implement responsive training programs.
7. Develop an expeditious doctrine development process.

Human Resource

6. Develop competent tactical leaders.
5. Develop competent and standardized core instructors.
4. Develop competent OG8 personnel that can effectively carry out the management of training and development programs.

Logistics & Finance

3. Ensure adequacy of funds, equipment, and facilities relative to training objectives.
2. Ensure availability of fund resource to fully support doctrine development.

Stakeholder Support

1. Advocate stakeholders’ support for the training programs.

Fourthly, OG8 then identified a total of fourteen (14) measures with corresponding targets which would assess its performance vis-à-vis the stated second-level objectives. The second-level objectives, measures and targets formed the second-level scorecard of OG8.

OG8 Objectives

OG8 Measures

11. Well-educated and trained Army. 14. Unit Training Readiness
10 .Adopt an effective system of analysis, design, development, implementation, and evaluation of training programs. 13. Percentage of ADDE certified personnel
9. Pursue an effective and efficient monitoring of education and training activities. 12. Training performance evaluation rating

 

8. Implement responsive training programs. 11. Learner satisfaction index

10. Combat Effectiveness Rating

7. Develop an expeditious doctrine development process. 9. Doctrine Development Throughput Time
6. Develop competent tactical leaders. 8. Individual Training Readiness Rating
5. Develop competent and standardized core instructors. 7. Percentage of certified instructors
4. Develop competent OG8 personnel that can effectively carry out the management of training and development programs. 6. OG8 Individual Training Readiness Rating
3. Ensure adequacy of funds, equipment, and facilities relative to training objectives. 5. Student’s Trng Logistics Satisfaction index

4. Equipment Readiness of training units

2. Ensure availability of fund resource to fully support doctrine development. 3. Percentage of funded programmed number of PADs & manuals for test & eval’n

 

1. Advocate stakeholders’ support for the training programs. 2. Training quality index

1. Percentage of trainings accomplished

Finally, OG8 identified two initiatives that will drive their performance. The first is the Enhancement of Doctrine Development System project which intends to revise the Army Doctrine Feedback System Manual, recruit highly competent civilian researchers, and establish a lessons learned system. The second OG8-sponsored initiative is the Enhancement of the PA Education and Training Management System project broken down into the following project components or activities:

(5)  Improve the Training Information Management System

(6)  Enhance and standardize unit and staff training system

(7)  Enhance the pre-entry training system

(8)  Strengthen training of Army personnel on HR, IHL, and rule of law

(9)  Improve the marksmanship training system

(10)       Improve the leadership training and development

(11)       Ensure responsive and efficient instructor certification system

(12)       Improve the system of analysis, design, development, and evaluation (ADDE) of training programs

(13)       OG8 Personnel skills development program

In sum, by undergoing the cascading process, OG8 has clearly defined its roles and identified its thrusts in line with the thrusts of the ATR. It built consciousness and focus to all its programs towards the strategic direction set by the ATR. Moreover, definite accountabilities were defined as far as its contribution to the CGPA’s scorecard is concerned.

Aligning Resources

The ATR will remain a piece of paper unless the strategic initiatives identified to drive its performance are funded and implemented. Hence, another key to successfully implementing the ATR is ensuring that it is linked to the budgeting process.

In line with this, as early as November 2010, the ATRTWG had been closely coordinating with the Office for the Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations, G3, PA, who is responsible for the formulation of the Annual Army Operating Program (AOP) to prioritize the programming of those activities and projects under the ATR strategic initiatives. As a result, for CY 2011, a new priority program under the name ATR Quick-Win Projects was created comprising of the key ATR activities that must be implemented within CY 2011. In consultation with the Army Resource Management Office (ARMO) and the Program and Budget Advisory Committee (PBAC), the 2011 ATR Quick-Win Project was allocated about P78.66M under the 2011 Annual Plan and Budget (APB).

However, in order to ensure that the ATR initiatives for 2012 onwards will be prioritized and funded, there is a need to institutionalize the practice of aligning the budget process to the strategy. Towards this end, the Army established the PA Strategic Management System (SMS) last 20 May 2011 by virtue of HPA Standing Operating Procedure Nr. 5. The PA SMS aims to reconcile and align the Army systems with the new process mandated by the ATR and the Defense System of Management (DSOM) to produce a coherent and logical framework that would allow the Army to work in a single direction towards a desired end-state. While the ATR provides the strategic framework in terms organizational development of the Army, the DSOM is an integrative strategic, capability development and resource management framework designed to support current, medium-term, and long-term requirements of DND and the AFP. The key output of DSOM is the Defense Planning Guidance (DPG) which defines the medium-term priorities of the DND. Through the PA SMS, the development of the Army’s APB is now informed not only by the DPG but also by the priorities under the ATR.

Communicating the ATR

The third critical factor for the successful implementation of the ATR is generating the support and commitment of key internal and external stakeholders. Thus, in order to push the transformation initiative towards attaining the desired end-state, it is imperative for the Army to get the buy in not only of the Army top leadership, and the majority of the officers, non-commissioned officers (NCO), and civilian employees, but also the support of the Army’s external constituents. To realize this, the PA needs to promote greater awareness and appreciation of the ATR both within and without the organization.

Towards this end, LTGEN REYNALDO B MAPAGU, then CGPA, issued a letter directive last 19 July 2010 outlining the ATR implementing plan and guidelines. This was further strengthened by the Command Guidance issued by the new CGPA, LTGEN ARTURO B ORTIZ last 03 January 2011 enjoining all unit commanders and chiefs of offices to ensure the timely, effective, and sustained implementation of the ATR. This message was further reiterated in the Command Guidance issued last 21 March 2011.

In line with this, the Army pursued an ATR information and advocacy campaign as early as May 2010 involving the conduct of lectures and presentation on the ATR during the various forums sponsored by HPA like the Battalion Commanders’ Symposia, Company Commanders’ Seminar, Senior NCO Leaders Symposia, and the annual family conferences hosted by the different HPA staff. A module on the ATR was also included in the Staff Officer Course.

Moreover, articles and papers about the ATR were also published in the different Army publications like the Army Journal, the Army Troopers Newsmagazine, and Army calendars, etc. To have a ready reference on the ATR, an ATR special edition of the Army Journal for the January-March 2011 issue and the ATR Information Booklet were also published.

Despite these communication initiatives, the Army needs to synchronize and sustain the ATR information and dissemination activities in order to ensure that critical information, key themes, and messages regarding the ATR are effectively relayed to, understood, and articulated by our internal target audience (ITA). In line with this, the Army implemented the ATR Communication Plan (ComPlan) “Breakthrough Results” Alpha effective 01 June 2011. The ATR ComPlan “A” calls for the utilization of all available communication media and tools to relay critical information, key themes, and messages on the ATR like print, audio-visual, and social media through the internet.

Involving the Community

The fourth key success factor to realize the ATR goals and aspirations is the active involvement, support and commitment of our external stakeholders. In this light, the Army must work closely with the key sectors of the society and get them to partner and support the Army as it journey towards attaining its vision to be “a world-class Army that is a source of national pride” by 2028. Thus, to ensure stakeholder participation in the ATR, the Army formed and organized the PA Multi-Sector Advisory Board (MSAB) last 26 Jul 2011.

The PA MSAB is an advisory body of the CGPA composed of distinguished representatives from various sectors of the society who are willing to partner with and help the Army pursue its transformation initiatives. The MSAB is primarily organized to promote the continuity and sustainability of the ATR and to encourage shared responsibility in the success of the ATR.

The MSAB is composed of Dr. Jesus P Estanislao of ISA as Board Chair with the following as members: Mr. Ramon del Rosario Jr. of the Makati Business Club, Ms. Victoria Garchitorena of Ayala Foundation, Atty. Alexander Lacson, Ms. Solita Collas-Monsod, Mayor Oscar Rodriguez on San Fernando, Pampanga, Congressman Mel Senen Sarmiento of Western Samar and Ms. Samira Gutoc-Tomawis. They had their inaugural meeting last 26 July 2011 and a special working session last 08-09 September 2011.

Sustaining the Momentum

Early Gains

Pursuing the ATR has been a great challenge. However, despite changes in the Army leadership, we have shown our commitment to pursue our reform program. By undergoing the various PGS processes and continuous ATR advocacy, we have also earned the support and commitment of our internal stakeholders by involving more personnel, units and offices in the ATR implementation process especially the formulation of second-level scorecards.

Moreover, through the MSAB, the Army had obtained the support and commitment of our key external stakeholders. In fact, last 10 September 2011, Prof. Solita Collas-Monsod wrote an encouraging article about the Army’s transformation initiative in her weekly column in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

However, at this early stage of implementation, the greatest benefit we gained from the ATR is the fact that we have defined our strategic priorities and have linked our day-to-day operations to our long-term direction.

Ways Ahead

As evidenced by the things that we had undertaken, we have shown that the Army is fully committed to implement the ATR and realize our vision. However, to sustain our momentum and build on the gains we had achieved, the Army intends to pursue the following:

(1)  Ensure the execution of the ATR strategic initiatives, especially the ATR Quick-Win projects for CY 2011-2013;

(2)  Monitor the institutionalization of the PA SMS in order to ensure the alignment of the planning, programming and budget execution system to the strategic direction set by the ATR;

(3)  Institutionalize the second-level scorecards of the General Staff, ARMO, and MFO by involving the Army Inspector General in the monitoring of these scorecards and conduct ATR Cascading Workshops for other HPA Staff and Major Subordinate Units to generate second-level scorecards and initiatives, promote greater awareness and understanding of the ATR, and ensure that the effects of the ATR implementation will be felt by every soldier in the field;

(4)  Continuously pursue the ATR advocacy and information campaign in accordance with the ATR Communications Plan;

(5)  Actively work and closely partner with PA MSAB in order to pursue the goals of the ATR by optimizing their expertise and exploiting the opportunities that can be made available to support our transformation initiatives; and

(6)  Build-up the organizational capacity and transform the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Plans, G5, PA to act as the “Office for Strategy Management” (OSM) in order to ensure the effective and proper implementation of the ATR. As the OSM, OG5 shall be tasked to oversee the strategy execution and track the performance of the organization through the Scorecard infrastructure system. It addresses the gaps in strategy execution by providing facilitative leadership for the entire strategy management process.

Conclusion

In sum, the ATR is a governance framework that seeks to transform the current systems and processes, and synchronize our current programs and activities in order to attain our vision to be a “world-class Army that is a source of national pride” by 2028. The Army has put countless efforts in implementing the ATR. Still, a lot of things have to be done. The entire process of completing one loop that will bring about reaping breakthrough results takes years in practice. To realize the 2028 vision, we need the commitment and strong support of our key external and internal stakeholders. The entire Army, from the soldiers in the frontlines to the top leadership in the headquarters as well as the various sectors of our society need to work hard together.

About the author:

Lieutenant Colonel Rommel R Cordova is currently the Chief of the Strategy Management Branch of OG5, PA, which is primarily tasked to manage, supervise and monitor the implementation of the ATR. He is a member of PMA “Maalab” Class of 1993 and holds a Master’s Degree in Strategic Affairs from the Australian National University and a Master’s Degree in Business Management from the Asian Institute of Management.


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