Retired soldier now holds Fort Benning's highest civilian job

benw@ledger-enquirer.comMay 4, 2014 


When it comes to civilian jobs at Fort Benning, no one has a higher position than Donald M. Sando, director of Capabilities Development and Integration Directorate at the Maneuver Center of Excellence.

Sando took on more duties on April 22, when he was promoted to deputy to the commanding general, Maj. Gen. H.R. McMaster. As a manager in the Senior Executive Service level two, his job is equivalent to a major general.

Sando, who retired from the Army in 2008, oversees the development of new concepts, doctrine, training and equipment for the Maneuver Center of Excellence. The job also includes divisions analyzing developments in optics, small arms, robotics, mortars and vehicles.

Sando's last assignment before he retired from active duty was serving as the Training and Doctrine Command system manager for Stryker and Bradley systems at Fort Benning. In his current position, the director manages the TRADOC Capability Managers for Soldier requirements, Infantry, Stryker, Reconnaissance and Armored Brigade Combat Teams.

Gary A. Jones, director of public affairs for the Maneuver Center, described the new deputy's position as a job with broader responsibilities than serving in the directorate.

"He still has responsibilities, but they have broadened the scope of responsibilities," Jones said.

Using civilian employees as a minor part of the deputy's responsibilities, Jones said, Sando controls the civilian budget.

"If I wanted to pay my employees overtime, I would have to get it approved by him," he said.

A big focus of the job is standing in for the commanding general if needed.

"He steps in for the commanding general if he is not available," Jones said.

The Senior Executive Service has been around since 1978 when it was established by the Civil Service Reform Act. Made up of civilian employees, it's a cadre of highly competent senior executives with solid expertise, public service values and a broad perspective of government.

While Sando is the highest-ranking civilian at Fort Benning, there are higher positions for civilians in federal government. They are at TRADOC, which oversees training at the Maneuver Center and the Army Forces Command or FORSCOM.

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