JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas —
A Department of Defense official who oversees human resources policies, programs and services for the civilian workforce met with transitioning service members and veterans during a visit to Joint Base San Antonio March 20-22.
Ronna Garrett, member of the Senior Executive Service and director of the Defense Civilian Personnel Advisory Service, or DCPAS, gave opening remarks at the Hiring Heroes Career Fair March 21, at the Sam Houston Community Center, located at Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston. She also met with local DCPAS staff members and human resources directors to discuss emerging policies and other top priorities for the Department of Defense civilian workforce.
As DCPAS director, Garrett is responsible for the development and oversight of human resource policies, programs and services for 950,000 DOD civilian employees worldwide.
Garrett spoke to approximately 35 human resource leaders at a conference attended by commands and agencies within the JBSA area. The topics focused on simplifying human resources policies, streamlining processes and standardizing practices for the hiring, retention and development of the DOD’s civilian workforce.
“It’s an opportunity for us to gather as human resource professionals to discuss the challenges we have with the operations now so that I can hear what the needs are,” Garrett said. “It’s a conversation. I don’t have a set agenda. I do have a few messages to start the conversation, but it is intended to be a dialogue with the human resources professional community.”
Garrett said meeting with human resources professionals on the local level helps DCPAS develop the best policies and guidelines for the hiring of and taking care of the Department’s civilian workforce.
“Our job is to ensure that we have clear and simple human resources policies,” she said. “When I’m out talking to folks in the human resources community, I ensure that we talk about how to operationalize policy in the simplest way. Ensuring we get the right talent at the right time for mission critical occupations; for example, cyber and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and developing the right hiring authorities and right polices to ensure we make it as easy as possible on the commanders and supervisors to get the right talent.”
In her remarks at the Hiring Heroes Career Fair, Garrett thanked the many employers, companies and governmental agencies who were there to give information about career opportunities to transitioning, ill, injured and wounded service members, veterans and military spouses.
She emphasized the attributes and skills of transitioning service members and veterans that they can bring to the civilian workforce, including dedication, leadership, loyalty and selfless service. Garrett is a military spouse whose husband served for 20 years and retired from the U.S. Army.
“In my mind, we owe a debt of gratitude to warfighters and the sacrifices they make to defend our nation’s freedom,” she said. “I’m hoping you’ll what the candidates bring to the table. I want you to have a conversation with the warfighter, the family member and spouse and find out what their goals are, what your mission is and what you need for your company and corporation and marry the two. I promise you, you won’t be disappointed.”
Garrett praised the efforts of both the San Antonio and JBSA communities in the support they provide to service members and veterans and their families.
“San Antonio is a great community in support of the warfighter and their families,” Garrett said. “It’s a great place to live if you happen to be assigned to the joint base, but it’s also a great place to retire for federal government employees and our warfighter families as well. The community is very supportive in transition from their active-duty careers and employing family members. They understand the sacrifice.”