Missouri National Guard revamps strategic plan

By Sarah E. Lupescu

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - The Missouri National Guard is laying the foundation for its future by implementing and refining a strategic plan.

The plan, which was introduced in summer 2011, has been streamlined from five strategic goals to three: achieving a culture of readiness, empowering the organization, and to optimize responsible resource management, said Lt. Col. Ryon Richmond, the joint education, exercise and training officer.

"As an organization, we are looking for a quantity of quality in our Soldiers," Richmond said.

The phrase "quantity of quality" is the common factor throughout the strategic plan and can be compared to sports.

"It's like any professional sports team," said the state Command Sgt. Maj. James Schulte. "They can have so many people on the bench or on the team. So through the process of training and fundamentals, they put the team together with the best available players they have."

Just like a major league baseball team can have a certain amount of players on its roster, the Missouri National Guard is also limited by Congress in the number of service members it can have among its ranks.

"It stands to reason that we want to retain the best," Schulte said.

The three strategic goals help guide the Missouri Guard's leadership in training and retaining its members. When the goals are looked at collectively, they summarize how the Missouri National Guard aims to be the best military force it can be.

"What we're really driving at here is that we are going to continue to build on the fundamentals and maintain the standards established by the Department of the Army," Schulte said. "We're also going to provide our leaders and Soldiers with the necessary training and equipment to meet those standards."

In achieving a culture of readiness, the Missouri National Guard looks at individual member, unit, and Family readiness. Individual Soldier and Family readiness is the fundamental building block of ready military units.

Empowering the organization means providing the methods, capabilities, and environment that will enable leaders and members to accomplish their mission.

Optimizing responsible resource management ensures that resources are used in the appropriate manner.

According to the strategic plan, quality Soldiers are those who meet the minimum qualifications of membership at all times and who are continuously progressing from qualified to proficient at each rank-level. Soldiers are expected to meet physical fitness requirements, personal accountability, and exhibit morally and legally acceptable behavior on or off duty.

"The adjutant general is willing to accept the personnel turbulence that this might cause to reach that quantity of quality," Richmond said. "We're not far off, we just need to continue to progress."

In addition to identifying and explaining the three goals, the strategic plan is a tool for the organization's leaders.

"The strategic plan drives the direction from all aspects of where the Missouri Army National Guard is looking to go," Richmond said. "As far as relating back to the goals, the plan allows us to look at how we train and how we, as Guardsmen, should be prepared for state and federal missions. The strategic plan drives and gives direction, and leads into the command readiness guidance."

Command readiness guidance reaches out to commands, telling them exactly how the Missouri Guard wants to train and prepare its troops.

The command readiness guidance branches out at the brigade level. From the brigade level they can push the commander's intent in a more detailed form to battalions, and from the battalions down to their companies.

"With any organization, you need to set goals, have a vision, and values," Richmond said. "The strategic plan dictates the mission, vision, and values that we talk about and gives it a focus on specific areas as we grow as an organization."

Updating the strategic plan is a process that began at the beginning of 2012.

"We met in February and started reviewing the whole plan," Richmond said. "We met again early this summer and reestablished the goals from five to three. It's a lot more refined. It really explains where we want to go to reach a culture of readiness and to maintain it."

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