What’s Your Warrior?

Discover the role of Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army

Posted on January 10, 2020

Living in San Diego, we are all aware of the Navy’s presence, from the ships of North Island to the helicopter squadrons rising from Camp Pendleton. What many of us are less familiar with is the presence throughout the region of the U.S. Army, our military’s oldest and largest branch. From managing port construction to overseeing the cleanup of the Tijuana River Basin to providing security support along the border, the ongoing operations of the Army, Army Corps of Engineers, and Army National Guard infuse hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy each year.

Richard Pascoe

One person familiar with all the particulars is Cardiff resident Richard Pascoe, who in October 2017 was appointed Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army for Southern California. Pascoe is the CEO of Histogen Inc., a biotech firm focused on tissue engineering and regenerative medicine. He is also a graduate of West Point and a combat veteran who served during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

Pascoe is quick to point out that the Army is the only branch of the military with Civilian Aides, but the title is by no means honorary. Pascoe is received with protocol comparable to a three-star general and is responsible for communicating the vision of the Secretary of the Army to civic leaders and local, state, and federal officials here in San Diego. Pascoe is also involved with recruiting, a role he takes seriously in that currently 79 percent of those who enlist come from military families, as he did himself.

“Be All that You Can Be” is a phrase every American over a certain age knows, and the Army is looking to repeat that success with “What’s Your Warrior?” a recruitment slogan aimed directly at Generation Z, the oldest of whom are now 23. The campaign builds on “Warriors Wanted,” which was effective but did not address the current generation’s desire for “more than a job.” “Attitudes have changed toward military service over the past 20 years,” Pascoe says. Younger men and women are looking for a sense of identity and a way to apply that identity to something larger, and not only is the Army the second largest employer in the nation (after Walmart), it offers more than 250 occupational specialties.

“The oath a soldier swears to serve his country does not end with military service,” says Pascoe. It continues throughout one’s lifetime, and in addition to his work as Civilian Aide, Pascoe is a board member and chair of the Veteran’s Initiative of the Biocom Life Science Association, which works with local companies to hire from the region’s pool of highly-trained veterans. Like all major corporations, life science companies require skilled personnel in everything from information technology to human resources to marketing and communications. “You don’t have to be a scientist to work in science,” he says. biocom.org     Bill Abrams