Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield's current entry-level security guards will see an increase in their grade and pay thanks to a Department of the Army decision to promote them.
The new rank structure was unveiled to the current security guard force at town halls held Feb. 18 at Fort Stewart and today at Hunter Army Airfield.
Beginning March 1, GS-5 security guards eligible for promotion will become GS-6 security guards. Those guards not yet eligible for promotion will have their positions converted. After serving as a GS-5 for a year, they will be promoted to GS-6, Bill Jeffers, garrison resource management officer, said.
"As soon as they hit the one-year mark, that day, they become GS-6s," Jeffers said.
Garrison Commander Col. Bryan Logan said Installation Management Command and the Army have been fighting for this increase in the entry-level grade for a while. The Secretary of the Army approved the changes for security guards in January.
"We know our security guards come in at the five level," Logan said. "It is not competitive. It leaves us shortchanged."
The increase in the entry-level grade will help with recruiting security guard applicants. Fort Stewart-Hunter Army Airfield has 124 security guard positions of various grades, Logan said, with 72 guards currently onboard and 24 new hires coming onboard. That leaves 28 positions available.
"I'm hurting bad on recruitment," Logan said. "We're at 62 percent. We need good quality individuals to apply for these jobs. As soon as I can get more of you out there, I can take the [military police Soldiers] off and start putting MPs back on the streets and put them back in deployment operations."
New applicants and current security guards seeking promotions to higher levels should go to USAJOBS to find open positions at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, Jeffers said.
Fort Stewart's new security guard rank structure is one GS-10, two GS-9s, five GS-8s, six GS-7s, and 58 GS-6s. Hunter Army Airfield's breakdown is one GS-10, two GS-9s, five GS-8s, five GS-7s, and 39 GS-6s.
"Our plan is to fill all of these positions in the upcoming weeks and months," Jeffers said. "The first thing we're going to do is promote all eligible GS-5s to GS-6s."
The goal to promote entry-level guards on staff is by the end of February. USAJOBS will then open the GS-10 positions for competition, Jeffers said. "Maybe some of the nines that are here now are going to fill those," he said.
Vacant GS-9s, then vacant GS-8s, and then GS-7s will follow on USAJOBS.
"And after that we'll keep filling the sixes as people get promoted or leave," Jeffers said.
Logan ended the town hall with thanks for the Department of the Army security guards and reiterated the need to recruit and retain quality guards.
"You take our Soldiers off the gates," he said. "Your presence allows them to do their real job, and what the taxpayers pay them to do, and that's to deploy, fight, and win our nation's wars. I gotta get more of you out there, and I gotta get more of you out there now."
More information can be found at www.usajobs.gov or by calling the Fort Stewart Civilian Personnel Advisory Center at 767-8358.