WASHINGTON, February 16, 2016 — The Defense Department is bringing together the military's centers of excellence for a two-day conference to spur dialogue, share best practices and create a community of practice, a top Pentagon official said.
The first DoD Professionalism Summit will provide a unique opportunity for the centers to discuss approaches in strengthening culture and tackling challenges, Navy Rear Adm. Margaret Klein said. Klein, the senior advisor to the secretary of defense for military professionalism, is leading the Feb. 23-24 conference at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
"My vision for the summit is that these centers can get together and realize the tremendous opportunity for collaboration and insight sharing," she said. "There's a high degree of energy to get these people together and help them think about how to solve those complex problems."
In an interview to preview the conference, Klein pointed out that advancing a culture of trust ultimately will strengthen the fighting force.
"It's a great way for DoD to come together and bring the best that they have to solve challenges common to all the services — things in the area of values-based leadership of character and leadership development," the admiral said.
Fresh Perspective, Infusing New Ideas
The meeting can be a foundation for infusing fresh ideas into the force and getting all members to recognize their responsibilities in promoting trust and respect, Klein said. "If we get culture right, then some of these other problems will stand out very quickly in stark contrast," she added.
Thought leaders will present ideas and concepts for discussion, laying the groundwork for topics for breakout sessions. Members of the centers of excellence from the Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy and Coast Guard will provide valuable insight as they detail their unique perspectives and expertise, the admiral said.
Lt. Col. Kevin Basik, the Air Force representative in the DoD military professionalism office, said the professionalism summit is expected to be an annual event, hosted each year by one or more of the centers of excellence.
Embracing the culture of trust, loyalty and commitment will have positive impacts on mission accomplishment, he said.
“The commander is responsible for the mission” is a phrase heard often in the military, but there’s more to it than that, he said. "The commander is responsible for the people who are responsible for the mission," Basik explained. "The commander is accountable for the mission, but the mission only gets accomplished through the people."
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