Future Force chief steps down amid workplace controversy

The mastermind behind the Defense Department’s recent personnel reforms is stepping down from his post.

As reported by Military Times, Principal Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness Brad Carson will leave his post April 8.

Carson led DoD’s Force of the Future initiative, which aimed to make the Pentagon a more progressive employer.

“Carson has developed some of the most important and groundbreaking work in years to modernize our personnel policies,” stated Defense Secretary Carter in a March 14 release. “At my direction, he charted a path forward for the Department and our people that will leave a lasting legacy, and will improve the mission effectiveness, readiness and the quality of life for our civilian workforce, uniformed service members and families. I asked him to serve in this important role, and I am grateful for his service, leadership, and commitment to our Force of the Future.”

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Carson was nominated as the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness in July, but hit a roadblock during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last month.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) asked the committee to hold off on reporting out Carson’s nomination until some whistleblower allegations could be checked out.

“I was disappointed when complaints were brought to my attention and to the attention of other members of this committee about your leadership in the command environment,” Inhofe said, during a Feb. 25 hearing. “I’ve read reports and have been briefed, as other have, regarding a … hostile work environment that has been fostered under your leadership.”

Inhofe requested the committee delay voting on Carson’s nomination until a command climate assessment (CCA) is conducted on Carson’s office.

CCAs are traditionally performed in the military and are used to look at the health and functioning of a command or organization. The assessments usually look at factors like morale, communication, teamwork and diversity through surveys and interviews.

Carson denied the allegations of a hostile work environment under his leadership.

Carson took office in April 2015 and made big changes within DoD’s personnel system. Those included extending maternity leave to 12 weeks, expanding child care hours on bases and expanding programs to attract top talent.

But some lawmakers were critical of Carson’s reforms.

“Many of these Force of the Future proposals appear to be solutions in search of a problem,” Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) said. “I find it deeply disturbing that you are proposing to add expensive fringe benefits allegedly aimed at retention during a time when we are asking 3,000 excellent Army Captains to leave the service who would have otherwise chosen to remain on active duty. From my perspective, this initiative has been an outrageous waste of official time and resources during a period of severe fiscal constraints. It illustrates the worst aspects of a bloated and inefficient Defense organization.”

Before April, Carson was the undersecretary of the Army and also served four years as a Democratic representative from Oklahoma.

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