CRC benefits from nimble organization

Making the most of technology often requires a sponsoring organization structured to maximize innovation, flexibility and service. But this can be a problem for military agencies, where chain-of-command culture can sometimes slow down responsiveness.

A crucial factor in the success of the IT division of the Combat Readiness Center (CRC) has been structuring it so that the best ideas don’t die on the vine of the bureaucracy, said Brig. Gen. Joseph Smith, the Army’s former director of safety, and former commanding general of CRC.

“Success does not come by accident. The key ingredient for the CRC was the transformation to a flat organization, where innovative people had a chance to show their talent,” Smith said. “Web technology is developing so quickly, IT folks need a free hand and reasonable resources to stay on the cutting edge.”

The CRC’s IT division, called the G6 Directorate, consists of 50 team members—one-third army civilians, and two-thirds contractors.

Melissa Johnson, the G6 director, recently reorganized the directorate into services-based divisions: application and database development services; network, communication and customer support services; and information assurance and knowledge management services.

These divisions, in turn, are organized to be able to quickly draw on expertise. For example, Jason Harlow, division chief for the application and database development services, has grouped his team members’ strengths into three layers: data, business logic and user experience.

Workloads can then be assigned in a way that ensures efficient, quick service. For CRC, quick service means fewer injuries and a stronger Army.

“I definitely see the direct results of all the things we are able to do here,” Johnson said.

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