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Civilian professionals ensure mission success

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By CHARLIE WILSON
Deputy Chief of Staff
U.S. Army Cadet Command and Fort Knox
What’s a DAC?
Ever heard anyone called a DAC? What does that mean? Is it a bad word, is it derogatory, maybe it’s the name of an animal or the sound a duck makes? I have heard it used many times over the years—Oh, they’re just DACs! How many DACs do you have in your organization? Did you count the number of DACs at the meeting...they outnumbered the military!
I strongly believe it’s a special acronym and one we, the DACs, should be proud to be called. We are Department of the Army civilians, and we have the privilege of serving our nation and those who defend her.
Regardless of whether we just entered federal civilian service or have been around for more than 20 years, we all should understand and appreciate the importance of what we do. Sure, our work attire isn’t the MultiCam uniform or ACU, but we too represent our Army and carry just as significant a responsibility in ensuring mission success.
This is not just my opinion, either. Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wrote in his book Duty, “Public servants can move mountains. Anyone who wants to reform the Pentagon had better remember that these civilians are essential to success.”
Did you know we also have our own creed, similar to the NCO and Soldier’s Creed?
I am an Army Civilian—a member of the Army Team
I am dedicated to our Army, our Soldiers and Civilians
I will always support the mission
I provide stability and continuity during war and peace
I support and defend the Constitution of the United States and consider it an honor to serve our Nation and our Army
I live the Army values of Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage
I am an Army Civilian
There are strong words in those statements, which help illustrate that being a DAC is more than a job; it’s a profession. Yes, there is a lot of paperwork as well as administrative actions involved in much of what
we do. And sometimes it seems endless, but it is important that we, the DACs, ensure we accomplish all of our tasks correctly, efficiently and proudly because we are the continuity for our Army.
Think about it: We often have considerable and comprehensive institutional knowledge of the individual organizations we represent. We directly support our Soldiers from initial recruitment, throughout their terms of service (including during deployments), and to retirement and beyond. And we care for our Army Families to provide them with a first-rate quality of life. Simply put, we are invaluable members of our Army Team.
What I’ve described requires a full commitment as well. So, for those who see life as a DAC as just a job, consider another line of work. It’s not for everyone, and that’s OK. But for those who are professionals and dedicated to making a positive difference through service to our nation—and you know who you are—it is the right fit, and I personally thank you for being part of our DAC workforce.
The DACs among us who are retiring deserve a formal “thank you” from our entire Army community as well. We have such an event for that. It’s the monthly Fort Knox Retirement Ceremony. Just as we recognize our retiring Soldiers and their Families at this event, up there are DACs and their Families, too. Last month, two DACs walked across the stage and received the sendoff they so richly deserved. Please contact the Fort Knox Ceremonies and Events Office at (502) 624-6111 if you are about to retire. From there, proper coordination will be made for you to participate in this first-class ceremony, so Family, friends and colleagues in attendance can congratulate you on all of your years of professionalism and excellence as a Department of the Army Civilian!
See you on the high ground.
NEVER GIVE UP!