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Training the trainer

NCO academies prepare for new Basic Leader Course 

Photo by David Crozier, NCOL CoE & USASMA
Members of the Army’s 34 NCO Academies made their way to The NCO Leadership Center of Excellence and U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy for the purposes of attending the Train the Trainer course on the redesigned Basic Leader Course. The Soldiers learned the ins and outs of the new curriculum as well as the method of instruction using the Adult Learning Model. Above, William Ogletree, director of Curriculum Development Directorate, welcomes the group to the Center of Excellence.

By David Crozier, Command Communications

In just eight months, the newly redesigned Basic Leader Course will launch at each of the Army’s 32 NCO Academies. To ensure each academy is prepared to teach the new curriculum, as well as adapt to the new teaching method, the NCO Leadership Center of Excellence and U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy is conducting Train the Trainer sessions for select individuals.

“We are bringing in representatives from all of the NCO academies that teach the Basic Leader Course and giving them training on the new curriculum,” William R. Ogletree Jr., director of Curriculum Development said. “We are doing two weeks – the first is focused on the Experiential Learning Model, problem solving, critical thinking and writing. The second week is focused on the curriculum itself – a deep dive into the lesson plans.”

Ogletree said the individuals will obtain a full immersion into the new course including the assessments and how to deliver the lessons in the classroom.

“The outcome is the representatives who are sitting here for two weeks getting the training, will go back and establish their faculty development program within their respective NCO Academy,” he said. “They can go back and train the folks and their cadre on the new curriculum so that when we do roll out the new course in January, we won’t have as many problems starting out.”

Ogletree said with news of the new curriculum and method of instruction already out on the street there is anxiety with the writing program and the critical thinking piece.

“These are not Army tasks and we are switching from a task-based kind of approach to an educational-based approach,” he said. “Some of the younger NCOs are struggling with this paradigm shift. So if we can get that across to them while they are here they can go back and create their own training program, learn the writing piece and relay some of the critical thinking piece.”

The members of the Curriculum Development Directorate conduct a Train the Trainer class on the redesigned Basic Leader Course. The students are members of the Army’s 34 NCO academies spent two weeks at the NCO Leadership Center of Excellence and U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy learning the Experiential Learning Model for of instruction and the course materials to be taught. The BLC will begin being taught to the active component on July 31 and will be fully operational capable by January 2019.
Photo by David Crozier
NCOL CoE & USASMA

Sgt. 1st Class Stacya Mitchell, a small group leader with the US Army Alaska NCO Academy who is attending the train the trainer course, said the new curriculum for the Basic Leader Course will get Soldiers to think more, to self-assess, and to be independent so that they can gain the confidence the Army needs for them to be leaders.

“I’m actually in awe, because my experience with the Warrior Leader Course was more ‘do this, this is what I want you to do, this is how I want you to do it,’” she said. “There was no thought process to it. I think this allows the soldiers to make more decisions.”

Mitchell said using the Experiential Learning Model is a big plus for the course.

“The Experiential Learning Model is allowing the soldier to generally think on their own,” she said. “With the new curriculum we are going to start bringing them into the thought process and linking it to the Army curriculum, so they will have an understanding on their own versus, ‘Hey you are going to do this, this way and at this time.’”

Mitchell said she would have benefitted greatly from a course like the new BLC.

“I [could] see myself as a first sergeant already. I would have excelled because I know I would have all the tools I needed to be that leader the Army wants,” she said. “I wouldn’t be as reactive; I would have been a lot more proactive earlier in my career.”

The validation of the new Basic Leader Course is already complete, Ogletree said. The NCOL CoE & USASMA conducted four series of validations at seven different location – all with favorable feedback. The launch of the new course is set for January 2019.

“We made some adjustments, but all in all the feedback we got is we are going in the right direction,” he said. “The curriculum is solid; this is what the students want and need to know. We got it right.”

The NCO Leadership Center of Excellence and U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy is responsible for developing, maintaining, teaching, and distributing five levels of Enlisted Professional Military Education – Introductory, Primary, Intermediate, Senior and Executive. Each level best prepares the soldier to fight and win in a complex world as adaptive and agile leaders and trusted professionals of Force 2025.

 

Branch Week brings career management to forefront

By David Crozier, Command Communications

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy hosted 29 senior enlisted leaders representing their Career Management Fields for Branch Week, December 4-8. The regimental or Center of Excellence sergeants major, were asked to come to the academy to brief the students of Sergeants Major Course Class 68, as well as USASMA staff and faculty on the advancements and future developments of their career fields, career paths, and broadening opportunities within their CMF.

“Today is a big day for us,” Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy J. Sellers, commandant of USASMA said. “We talk about the importance of knowing our CMFs, know what our right and left are doing. [These sergeants major] are here to brief us on what their CMFs do, what they are for and the way ahead.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy J. Sellers, U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy commandant, kicks off Branch Week December 4 in the academy’s Cooper Lecture Center. USASMA invited the 29 Career Management Field regimental sergeants major, Center of Excellence sergeants major or their representative to USASMA to provide a capabilities brief for Class 68 and to meet informally with their Soldiers of their CMF to discuss career management, broadening opportunities and to answer questions from the students. (Photo by David Crozier, USASMA)

Sellers impressed upon the students the importance to listen to every brief and when they had the opportunity to meet face-to-face with their CMF sergeant major, to ask the tough questions.

Sgt. Maj. Felice Murrell, operations sergeant major for the Sergeants Major Course, said bringing in the regimental or Center of Excellence sergeants major to conduct a capabilities brief for their CMF was a first for USASMA. She said prior to this event the students would obtain materials from their CMF and brief their fellow students in the class. The regimental or COE sergeants major would then come in from time to time to meet with the students after academic hours were complete.

“This is the very first time USASMA has actually conducted a Branch Week and additionally the first time the actual [branches briefed and] had the opportunity to break off into informal briefing sessions,” Murrell said. “This was two-fold. They were able to give the capabilities brief and be able to go right into an informal brief with their Soldiers.”

Murrell said she received rave reviews from both the CMF sergeants major and the students.

“The sergeants major said they were honored to take part in this and it was an opportunity to welcome the students into the sergeant major rank,” she said. “The students were ecstatic. Some of them had never met their regimental or COE sergeant major and it gave them an opportunity for one on one dialogue.”

She added Branch Week provided the students a total overview of each CMF and a deep dive into what was going on within their CMF.

“Branch Week has been an amazing experience I believe for Class 68,” Master Sgt. Natasha Santiago (CMF 68-Medical), Class 68 class president said. “So many of the regimental sergeants major came through this week and actually briefed the statistics and capabilities for their respective branches and I know personally I learned so much about my classmates and what they do and what they bring to the fight.”

Sgt. Maj. Mark Belda, sergeant major from the Office of Chief of Infantry, conducts an Infantry Branch Overview Brief during Branch Week at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy on December 4. Sgt. Maj. Belda highlighted how the Infantry is the proponent for lethality, went over requirements for Infantry leaders to remain competitive, and discussed the Brigade Combat Team conversion. He also discussed how the upcoming changes for weapons qualification that will take place across the Army later this fiscal year. (Photo by David Crozier, USASMA)

Fellow classmate, Master Sgt. James Brown (CMF 68-Medical), said Branch Week really opened up his eyes.

“Since going through the joint (Department of Joint Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational), and force management (Department of Force Management) portion of the Sergeants Major Course, everything at the strategic level the regimental briefers have been talking about I totally understand it,” he said. “My vision stayed at an organization level, at the battalion/brigade level. I struggled at seeing the big picture. The way our line of efforts work you get trapped into this tunnel. … We didn’t get to see the broad picture.”

During Branch Week, each CMF sergeants major was asked to brief the entire Class 68 on their branch history, career management chart and credentialing opportunities, career progression trends for command sergeants major and sergeants major, and future developments for the CMF. At the end of each day’s briefing the students were grouped by their CMF and met separately with their sergeants major to allow for questions and answers and a more direct brief.

“Being at the academy I was definitely eyes open for seeing things in a much bigger perspective,” Santiago said. “With Branch Week I see things through a much larger scale. I think we are being prepared to see things in that multi-domain picture and this helps.”

Brown said Branch Week will help him to inform his Soldiers at his next duty station about the why.

“One thing I will do better of is the explanation piece. I feel that when you are given the mission you are just told here is the mission, task and standard, just get after it,” Brown said. “But with an explanation it helps to understand more and actually helps broaden your horizon as well. So, I will do better with the explanation piece when it is feasible to do so.”

The Sergeants Major Course (SMC) educates senior enlisted leaders from our Army, sister services, and allied militaries to be agile and adaptive senior noncommissioned officers through the study of leadership, the conduct of Unified Land Operations, and the application of Joint, Interagency, and Multi-National organizations in an era of persistent conflict. The SMC is the consummate institution that prepares them to execute at all command levels throughout the Department of Defense. This Professional Military Education (PME) is provided by leveraging both resident and distributive learning (dL) educational methods and technologies.

The USASMA mission is to provide professional military education that develops enlisted leaders to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex world.

Class 68 gets schooled on NCO 2020 Strategy

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy welcomed Sgt. Maj. Brian Lindsey of the Institute for Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development, during its Branch Week activities December 5, in order to brief on the NCO 2020 Strategy. The 13-page document outlines three lines of effort – Development, Talent Management and Stewardship of the Profession – that will shape NCO professional development for the future. (Photo by David Crozier USASMA)

By David Crozier, Command Communications

There are a lot of changes that are coming which will affect noncommissioned officer education, Sgt. Maj. Brian Lindsey of the Institute for Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development said during a briefing December 5 to the Sergeants Major Course Class 68 students at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, Fort Bliss, Texas. It comes in the form of the NCO 2020 Strategy – a document all NCOs should be familiar with.

“You all in this class are going to be the stakeholders [of this change] and you are the ones who are going to get the word out to the force,” Lindsey said. “Some change is good and we need to do some changing. … We haven’t revamped NCO education since 1973.”

Lindsey asked the class to not look at the changes through their perspective, but to see the changes through the lens of a Soldier who is just entering the Army. He provided an overview of INCOPD and its responsibilities in the development of the NCO 2020 Strategy and then asked the students how many have read the document.

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy welcomed Sgt. Maj. Brian Lindsey of the Institute for Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development, during its Branch Week activities December 5, in order to brief on the NCO 2020 Strategy. Lindsey told the students that they were the stakeholders of the change and should not only know the NCO 2020 Strategy, but should be getting the word out to the force. (Photo by David Crozier USASMA)

“If you are just learning about it here, you and your Soldiers are behind the power curve,” he said. “We have to get this information out to the force and you have to enforce and reinforce it because it is coming no matter how bad you want to hold it up. It’s coming and you need to make sure you are all in.”

The NCO 2020 Strategy, he said, is only 13 pages long and is easy to read. The document outlines three lines of effort for the Army – Development, Talent Management and Stewardship of the Profession. Under Development the main objectives are S.T.E.P. (Select, Train, Educate, Promote), NCO PME (Professional Military Education), Credentialing and Validate. Under Talent Management the main objectives are Broadening, Operational and PDM (Career Map). The main objectives under Stewardship of the Profession are Doctrine, Self-Development, 2020 Year of the NCO and Character Development.

“You need to get on board and read the 13 pages and make sure you are familiar with what you are going to be enforcing real soon,” Lindsey said turning his attention to Leader Core Competencies. LCCs are being placed into all phases of PME particularly in the Advance and Senior Leader courses because the courses are technically heavy. “We are not teaching a Soldier how to be a leader in these courses. We are not teaching them anything about being a leader.”

The Leader Core Competencies focus on six areas – Communications, Leadership, Program Management, Operations, Training Management and Readiness. Along with the LCCs, the Army is introducing Distributive Learning Courses which are replacing the Structured Self Development. The DLC courses will be a part of the progressive and sequential learning model and will include the NCO Writing Program.

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy welcomed Sgt. Maj. Brian Lindsey of the Institute for Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development, during its Branch Week activities December 5, in order to brief on the NCO 2020 Strategy. Above. Lindsey addresses the class in the Cooper Lecture Center and told the students if they are just learning about NCO 2020 Strategy here, they and their Soldiers are behind the power curve.

“Inside of your DLC there will be a requirement for a reflection paper … then you will have a paper to write when you get to your BLC which will become a part of your GPA,” Lindsey said. “This will become part of the norm as you progress [through NCOPDS] by the time you get to the Sergeants Major Course. We are going to start [Soldiers writing] early and it is going to be progressive and sequential. As you go up, the papers get longer and harder.”

Lindsey explained that being able to develop written communications skills will help support the Soldier and team performance in support of mission readiness.

As part of the NCO 2020 Strategy, USASMA is currently revamping the DLC courses with the updated DLC I expected to hit the streets by June of 2018 with DLC II in August. Levels III through VI will follow sequentially in 3-4 month increments. The Basic Leader Course is also undergoing redesign and is currently in validation with a goal of delivering the course Army-wide by June 2018. The Master leader Course is expected to be a part of S.T.E.P. by October 2018 and a non-resident course expected to come online on or about May 2018.

To learn more about the NCO 2020 Strategy read the document at http://www.tradoc.army.mil/FrontPageContent/Docs/NCO2020.pdf.

 

Jordanian Army seeks to emulate US NCO education

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy hosted a visit by the Noncommissioned Officer School of the Jordanian Armed Forces November 28 to hear about the country’s efforts to build an NCO education system similar that of the U.S. Army. Above, Warrant Officer 2 Mohammad Al-Smadi (right), commandant of the Jordan NCO School, addresses Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy J. Sellers (center), USASMA commandant, and staff about the current status of the NCO education system in the Jordanian Armed Forces. The Jordanians are looking to emulate the U.S. Army NCO Professional Development System. (Photo by David Crozier USASMA)

By David Crozier, Command Communications

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy hosted a delegation from the Noncommissioned Officer School of the Jordanian Armed Forces November 28 in an effort to build stronger ties between them and the U.S., and to reach the vision of Jordan’s Chairman of Defense in developing their NCO Corps to be like the U.S. Army’s.

The delegation, led by Warrant Officer 2 Mohammad Al-Smadi, commandant of the Jordan NCO School and former Jordan Armed Forces Sergeant Major, met with Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy J. Sellers, USASMA commandant, and the academy staff to discuss the Jordanian’s efforts in building an NCO Academy and educating their NCO Corps.

“We established our own Basic Leader Course after we saw the [U.S. Army] model of leadership training and we are now working on our POIs (Program of Instruction),” said Al-Smadi. “We are looking for input from our friends at USASMA about our NCOs because we are developing our academy system.”

Al-Smadi said as their officer academy is run by officers, they are setting up their NCO Academy to be run by NCOs. He added that the meeting with USASMA had been very fruitful.

“We have a very good, strong relationship and friendship from our side with the American NCOs. A few of my team have graduated from the Sergeants Major Course and one from the Basic Leader Course from this academy,” he said. “We have taken away a lot and have had good meetings.”

Sellers echoed Al-Smadi’s sentiments about the partnership and lauded Jordan for their efforts to build an NCO education system.

“I think what they have is a pretty good product right now and we look forward to continuing to work with them and enhance their product,” Sellers said. “I think this is important that we not only give them the tools to develop their NCOs and training development, but this partnership also gives us the opportunity to get over there with them, enhance our partnership base, look at what they are doing, observe them and then provide them with some constructive feedback.”

Sellers added that partnerships and initiatives like this says a lot about USASMA – that its arm is far-reaching, that USASMA can get out an help other countries because they respect our NCO Corps and its lineage.

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy hosted a visit by the Noncommissioned Officer School of the Jordanian Armed Forces November 28 to hear about the country’s efforts to build an NCO education system similar that of the U.S. Army. Above, The Jordanian delegation (left) observes the conduct of a Basic Leader Course Class. The Jordanians are looking to emulate the U.S. Army NCO Professional Development System. (Photo by David Crozier USASMA)

“A lot of countries come to us for help and assistance. It says a lot about our capabilities, our compassion that we have on Team USASMA. We have been doing a lot of things with Jordan for a while now,” Sellers said. “They gave us some great insight about where they are at.”

To date members of Jordan’s military have attended the Basic Leader Course, the Battle Staff NCO Course, the Sergeants Major Course and one has attended the Commandant’s Pre-command Course. During the meeting Al-Smadi and Sellers discussed increasing the numbers of Jordanian Soldiers attending US Army NCO Professional Development Courses, to include the new Master Leader Course.

“For us it is very important. We want to do something for our NCOs and our country,” Al-Smadi said. “In maybe 10 or 20 years when we see the effect on our military, our army, we can say ‘okay’ we were a part of that. It’s all about our nation, our army.”

Sellers said USASMA will support Jordan’s efforts in developing their NCO education system.

“They gave us some great insight about where they are at currently in terms of their document development. So what we are looking to do is to work with them and make sure their doctrine and curriculum in their BLC course and some of their other courses remain aligned somewhat like ours,” he said. “They would like to use our model – sequential, progressive and continue to build on one another. I think what they have is a pretty good product right now and we look forward to continuing to work with them and enhance their product.”

Commandants Training Council addresses future of NCOPDS

The attendees of the 2nd Annual Commandant Training Council pose for a group picture during a break of the 3-day event, Sept. 11. The council discussed pending changes to NCO Professional Development System and its distance learning modules, the responsibilities of the Institute for NCO Professional Development, talent management, faculty development, quality assurance accreditation, the Army Career Tracker, Army University and more. US Army Photo by Spc. James C. Seals Jr..
Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy J. Sellers, commandant of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy listens intently to a presentation during the 2nd Annual Commandant Training Council held Sept. 11-13 at the Centennial Banquet and Conference Center, Fort Bliss, Texas. Sellers hosted the event which brought together NCO Academy commandants from across the Army to discuss changes in the NCO professional Development System brought about by the NCO 2020 Strategy. (U.S. Army photos by Spc. James Seals)

With the NCO 2020 Strategy driving change for enlisted Soldier Professional Development, the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy brought together all of the Noncommissioned Officer Academy commandants September 11 for a 3-day meeting to discuss the way ahead.

Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy J. Sellers, commandant of USASMA, hosted the event and explained the overall reason for the meeting.

“We wanted to get all of the commandants together that are responsible for some type of leadership development and training education for our Soldiers throughout the Army,” Sellers said. “We wanted to ensure they understand the direction and changes the Army is going through as we change our NCO curriculum development and program.”

Sellers said the feedback he received from the attendees is they are receptive to the changes.

“They understand that revolutionary changes need to be made with the way we educate and train Soldiers,” he said. “They (also) understand that we have not done this in a while.”

Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport (center), command sergeant major of Training and Doctrine Command, listens to comments during the 2nd Annual Commandant Training Council held September 11-13 at the Centennial Banquet and Conference Center, Fort Bliss, Texas. Davenport said that TRADOC and its academies main job is to train Soldiers and fill training seats. (U.S. Army photos by Spc. James Seals)

During the meeting the commandants listened to presentations on the pending changes to NCO Professional Development System and its distance learning modules, the responsibilities of the Institute for NCO Professional Development, talent management, faculty development, quality assurance accreditation, the Army Career Tracker, Army University and more.

Sellers noted the changes the Army is making are more relevant to the Soldiers and will help them become better leaders. Also attending the council meeting was Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport, command sergeant major of Training and Doctrine Command, who informed the commandants their job was to fill all of the seats available.

“We do not want to penalize our Soldiers. Our job is to train Soldiers. If you have capacity …. Common sense says they get in (to school),” Davenport said. “Commandants have the authority for walk-ons. It’s about maximizing capacity.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Jarred A. Gale, commandant of the 40th Training Regiment NCO Academy at Camp Williams, Utah, said he gained an immense amount of knowledge by attending the meeting.

“The biggest thing I got was a lot of the accreditation standards and business practices we at the individual academies go through,” he said. “That has been invaluable for what we are going to be doing in the future.”

Charlie Guyette, director of the Directorate of Education, U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, addresses the 2nd Annual Commandant Training Council September 12 held at the Centennial Banquet and Conference Center, Fort Bliss, Texas. Guyette discussed the changes in Structured Self-Development, Basic Leader Course redesign, writing assessments in NCOPDS, Leader Core Competencies and an overview of the Master leader Course. (U.S. Army photos by Spc. James Seals)

Gale added there were things that came out of the meeting that will be very helpful with the future of NCOPDS.

“A lot of this is the way forward and (many) of our Soldiers are not educated on the direction the military is heading,” Gale said. “As commandants we have a big stake to play in that because at any given time we have 200 to 300 students. It is a captive audience and we (need to) take that opportunity to help educate them on the initiative.”

Command Sgt. Maj. John Helring, commandant of Joint Base Lewis-McChord NCO Academy, Washington, said it has been a great experience coming to the council meeting.

“This has been a great experience talking with the other commandants hearing some best practices and lessons learned,” he said. “The most enlightening part was hearing about the Army University, their initiatives and vision on educating the future of our noncommissioned officers.”

Helring said he was going to take back a lot from the event.

“All of the best practices, all of the tools and handouts we got here,” he said. “I think we are going in a very positive direction with the NCO 2020 Strategy.”

When asked what he would tell Soldiers attending NCOS today, Sellers said he would want to be in their shoes.

“As I look at all the different things and changes we are making with the NCO Professional Development System, I think this is a great time to be in our Army,” he said. “They are going to come out well educated, well trained and better prepared to handle some of the challenges they will face in the future.”

Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport, command sergeant major of Training and Doctrine Command, addresses the attending during the 2nd Annual Commandant Training Council held September 11-13 at the Centennial Banquet and Conference Center, Fort Bliss, Texas. Davenport discussed changes in the NCO Professional Development System and ensuring empty training seats get filled to maximize resources. (U.S. Army photos by Spc. James Seals)

USASMA drives change for enlisted Soldier development and is responsible for developing, maintaining, teaching, and distributing five levels of Enlisted Professional Military Education – Introductory, Primary, Intermediate, Senior and Executive. Each level best prepares the soldier to fight and win in a complex world as adaptive and agile leaders and trusted professionals of Force 2025.

Additional photos of this story can be found at https://www.flickr.com/photos/133821783@N02/albums.

USASMA welcomes historic Class 68

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy welcomed the largest class, 713 students, in the history of the Academy August 28, during ceremonies held in its Cooper Lecture Center. Above, Command Sgt. Maj. David Turnbull, command sergeant major of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, addresses the class as the events guest speaker. Class 68 also includes the largest contingent of international students, 59, representing 46 partner nations. U.S. Army Photos by Spc. James Seals.
By David Crozier, Command Communications

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy welcomed another iteration of students August 28 for their exclusive Sergeants Major Course and broke two records in doing so. The first record broken was for the size of the class – 713, the largest class in the history of the Academy. The second record broken was the number of international students, 59, again the largest in the history of the Academy. Those international students represent 46 partner nations, including three who sent representatives for the first time – Iraq, Norway and Senegal.

Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy J. Sellers, commandant of USASMA, welcomed the group before introducing the guest speaker for the event, Command Sgt. Maj. David Turnbull, command sergeant major of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

 “Today marks a tremendous day in our history of the Sergeants Major Academy as we welcome the largest class to the Sergeants Major Course – Class 68,” Sellers said. “You have tipped the scales of our physical capacity, but we wouldn’t have it any other way. We are as eager to have you here as you are to be here.”

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy welcomed the largest class, 713 students, in the history of the Academy August 28, during ceremonies held in its Cooper Lecture Center. Above, Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy J. Sellers, commandant of USASMA welcome the class to the Academy and El Paso, Texas. Class 68 also includes the largest contingent of international students, 59, representing 46 partner nations. U.S. Army Photos by Spc. James Seals.

 Sellers said he understood the students were probably wondering what challenges they would be facing and provided them some insight.

 “So here’s what I can tell you,” he said. “The faculty is going to challenge you on your critical thinking skills, your thought processes, your writing skills and your humility.”

 Sellers continued telling the students they would be taken out of their comfort zone of their MOS and be asked to be a part of a larger picture, and would gain new perspectives an

Master Sgt. Sophie Mokgadi Madigage, from the South African Army, presents her country’s flag August 28, during opening ceremonies of Sergeants Major Course Class 68. Madigage joins the 58 other international students who make up the largest class of internationals in the history of the Sergeants Major Course. U.S. Army Photos by Spc. James Seals.

d knowledge from our sister services and our international partners.

 “We have the largest class of international students ever with 59 student representing 46 partner nations,” he said. “Many of them brought their families which will further enhance the cross-cultural exchange in and out of the classroom.”

 He concluded his remarks by cautioning the class to “treat each other with dignity and respect” and to “communicate, collaborate and cooordinate” with their fellow students and they will find success at the academy.

 Turnbull began his remarks by noting he never imagined as student of Class 52 that he would be “headlining” the class opening someday.

 “It’s an overwhelming thought,” he said before turning his attention to the international students. “A special thanks to the international students for being here. You bring a side, a culture and perspective that (we) can’t get by reading books.”

 Turnbull said the class needed their thoughts, their different ways of looking at solutions and problem sets.

 “We need you here to help us think in a different light,” Turnbull said. “We hope you have a great year.”

 This is not the academy I came to, he noted. The leadership, faculty and staff are the envy of colleges and universities across the country.

United State Air Force SMSgt Jeffrey A. Adkins, presents his service flag during opening ceremonies of Sergeants Major Course Class 68. Adkins joins 6 other members of the sister services which includes two Air Force personnel, three members of the U.S. Marine Corps and two members of the U.S. Coast Guard. Class 68 also has 59 international students from 46 partner nations, the largest representation in the history of the course. U.S. Army Photos by Spc. James Seals.

 “We started the fellowship a few years ago and now you have great facilitators who not only have a degree, but they have experience, knowledge and a reputation of being great leaders,” he said. “They will give you insights that I probably did not get.”

 Turnbull pressed the students to be open-minded, be open to change, and to change with it or become irrelevant. He concluded his remarks focusing on a benefit of attending the academy.

 “The realm power that you are going to get out of this class is the person sitting next to you – the sergeant major on your left and right,” he said. “That is your power. When you leave here, that is the person you are going to call for help. They are going to be invaluable to you. … It makes a world of difference when you are taking care of Soldiers.”

 The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy drives change for enlisted Soldier development and is responsible for developing, maintaining, teaching, and distributing five levels of Enlisted Professional Military Education – Introductory, Primary, Intermediate, Senior and Executive. Each level best prepares the soldier to fight and win in a complex world as adaptive and agile leaders and trusted professionals of Force 2025. You can learn more about USASMA by visiting http://usasma.armylive.dodlive.mil/.

 Hi-resolution photos of this event are available for download on our Flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/133821783@N02/albums.

 

TRADOC recognizes NCOPDS change agents

Photos and Story by David Crozier, Command Communications

Members of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy Curriculum Development and Education Department were recognized by the TRADOC command team for their work on their analysis, design and development of Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development System courses. Gen. David Perkins and Command Sgt. Maj. Dave Davenport presented the military members with Army Commendation Medals and the civilians with the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service. Above, the awardees pose for a picture with the command team. Receiving the awards are were Sgt. Maj. Eugene O’Day and Master Sgts. Jesus Gonzalez and Kevin Kendrick, and civilian cadre Hugo Cantu, Carl Carlson, Dennis G. Earle II, Robert Edwards, Raffaele Francisco, Jason Henderson, Gerardo A. Hernandez, Sharonne J. Jacobs, Reginald B. Mainor, Richard L. Philpott, Roland Reyes Jr., Michael Roth and Gregory Woolfolk.

 

English Clergyman William Pollard once said, “Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.”

On July 26, the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy welcomed the Army’s change team, Gen. David Perkins and Command Sgt. Maj. Dave Davenport of Training and Doctrine Command, for the purposes of recognizing some USASMA individuals who are the “change agents” of the new and improved Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development System.

Perkins began his address to the Academy staff by noting it was a good day to be at USASMA.

Gen. David Perkins, commanding general of Training and Doctrine Command recognized members of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy July 26, Command for their work on six levels of Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development System courses. Above, Perkins addressed the cadre before presenting the awards telling then they “are the mantle of NCO Professional Development.”

“What you are doing here at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy is quintessentially at the heart of what TRADOC is for,” Perkins said. “The Army created TRADOC to change the service, not to keep things ‘status quo.’”

Perkins said that USASMA plays a big role in that change and is uniquely designed for change.

“Our NCO Corps is the envy of the world,” he said. “We are really taking (NCOPDS) to a new level and a lot of the work is done right here at USASMA. You are the mantle of NCO Professional Development and you need to be the model of change; change for the better; staying on the cutting edge.”

Davenport said the changes he envisioned 2 years ago looked at what the Army was going to face in the future. The creation of the Select, Train, Educate and Promote system put into effect a forcing function of getting Soldiers to school, which meant that the schools’ curricula needed to change to meet the future as well.

“When they come into that academic environment we are going to challenge them,” Davenport said. “We are going to make sure that when they leave, they’re changed. They are no longer followers, they are leaders. Today we are going to recognize these great change agents for all the work they have done to get us where we are at now with the curriculum.”

Command Sgt. Maj. Dave Davenport, command sergeant major for Training and Doctrine Command, joined Gen. David Perkins July 26, in his praise of the cadre for their work on their analysis, design and development of Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development System courses. Above, Davenport speaks to the cadre prior to the awards ceremony.

With their remarks ended, Perkins and Davenport invited the awardees center stage for their recognition. The first to be recognized were Sgt. Maj. Eugene O’Day and Master Sgts. Jesus Gonzalez and Kevin Kendrick of the Curriculum Development and Education department. The trio were awarded the Army Commendation Medal for their work on the analysis, design and development of six levels of distributive learning, formerly known as structured self-development, and four levels of resident courses. Following the military awards, Perkins and Davenport presented the Commander’s Award for Civilian Service to 12 members of the Curriculum Development and Education department for their work on the analysis, design and development of six levels of distributive learning, formerly known as structured self-development, and four levels of resident courses. Receiving the award were Hugo Cantu, Carl Carlson, Dennis G. Earle II, Robert Edwards, Raffaele Francisco, Jason Henderson, Gerardo A. Hernandez, Sharonne J. Jacobs, Reginald B. Mainor, Richard L. Philpott, Roland Reyes Jr., Michael Roth and Gregory Woolfolk.

The USASMA is responsible for developing, maintaining, teaching, and distributing five levels of Enlisted Professional Military Education – Introductory, Primary, Intermediate, Senior and Executive. Each level best prepares the soldier to fight and win in a complex world as adaptive and agile leaders and trusted professionals of Force 2025.

USASMA celebrates, bids farewell to Class 67

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy celebrated the cumulative achievements of the 565 students who made up Class 67 of the Sergeants Major Course during a graduation ceremony held June 23 at the Abundant Living Faith Center in El Paso, Texas. Class 67 had within its ranks 49 international students from 39 different countries as well as members of the Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard. (Photo by David Crozier, Command Communications)

By David Crozier, Command Communications

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy celebrated the accomplishments of the 565 students of Sergeants Major Course Class 67, June 23, in ceremonies at the Abundant Living Faith Center, El Paso, Texas. Class 67 had within its ranks 49 international students from 39 different countries as well as members of the United States Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard.

Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Defreese, commandant of the Academy, welcomed the special guests and thanked all for attending. He especially thanked the El Paso community for all their support and the cadre, staff and faculty of USASMA whom he said were world class.

“We have made the Sergeants Major Course significantly more challenging in the last few years. All of you older sergeants major have no idea how difficult and different this course is from the one you went to,” he said. “Despite that, for the second year in a row we did not have a single academic failure.”

Upon concluding his remarks, Defreese introduced Warrant Officer One G. J. Haughton, the Army Sergeant Major of the British Army, as the keynote speaker who after thanking all for their attendance had a few words to say about the Academy before addressing the graduates.

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy celebrated the cumulative achievements of the 565 students who made up Class 67 of the Sergeants Major Course during a graduation ceremony held June 23 at the Abundant Living Faith Center in El Paso, Texas. Above, Warrant Officer One G. J. Haughton, the Army Sergeant Major of the British Army and keynote speaker for the ceremony left the graduates with a few thoughts and encouraged them to live by their Army Values. (Photo by David Crozier, Command Communications)

“Be under no illusion that this academy is the envy of the world in terms of noncommissioned officer development and education. Many armies have used this academy as an example of excellence and have developed their own type of organizations to best suit their soldiers and noncommissioned officers of the future,” Haughton said. “I have no doubt that many graduates of USASMA were the driving force of the current ongoing world-wide NCO development.”

Turning his attention to the graduates, Haughton congratulated them on their accomplishments and noted that because of their attendance in the course, “You will be better leaders, but more importantly better human beings which is good because we need your leadership now more than ever.”

Haughton told the graduates that he did not want to patronize them or offer advice, but said that he wanted to offer some thoughts they could use or not and began with a quote from Sidney Gerry, a famous British military leader and a recipient of the military Cross.

“When you have been in the company of a true leader, you will feel uplifted. In their presence you will feel safe,” he said. “You will see that they are trustworthy, that they exude optimism, and that they create stability. Leadership is essentially an exercise in unselfishness.”

Haughton continued saying, “Remember you are the rock that your soldiers will cling to in the turbulence of the seas.”

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy celebrated the cumulative achievements of the 565 students who made up Class 67 of the Sergeants Major Course during a graduation ceremony held June 23 at the Abundant Living Faith Center in El Paso, Texas. Above, Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Defreese, commandant of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy introduces Warrant Officer One G. J. Haughton, the Army Sergeant Major of the British Army, as the keynote speaker for the graduation ceremony for Sergeants Major Course Class 67. (Photo by David Crozier, Command Communications)

In his list of thoughts, Haughton noted that fitness should be at the heart of everything they do and they should meet the fitness standard they require of others; they must demand and display high performance that “As sergeants major we are the champions and examples of standards”; and they “must do as we ought and not as we want, all the time.”

Haughton offered the graduates should empower their soldiers and give them a chance to excel and they should not discipline honest mistakes, but encourage the Soldier to learn to not repeat it. He added that “we” are no better a person than any of those under “our” command.

“Treat your Soldiers they way you would want to be treated yourself and ensure you try your hardest to find the good in everybody,” he said. “Never thrive on other people’s misfortune. Everybody under your command should feel valued.”

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy celebrated the cumulative achievements of the 565 students who made up Class 67 of the Sergeants Major Course during a graduation ceremony held June 23 at the Abundant Living Faith Center in El Paso, Texas. Above, Command Sgt. Maj. Harold Reynolds, director of the Sergeants Major Course, presents Class 67 president, Sgt. Maj. Keela Smith (left) with her graduation certificate. (Photo by David Crozier, Command Communications)

Haughton concluded, “Our soldiers watch our every move even when we think they are not looking. We must live by our own army’s values. Remember, if your soldiers want to be like you then you are probably doing something right. If any of them don’t, then you are probably doing something wrong. … Show humility. You must allow [your soldiers] to laugh and you must take time to laugh alongside them.”

Following Haughton’s remarks, the sergeant major was joined on stage by Defreese, Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey and Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport, Training and Doctrine Command, command sergeant major, to hand out the awards and diplomas.

USASMA is responsible for developing, maintaining, teaching, and distributing five levels of Enlisted Professional Military Education – Introductory, Primary, Intermediate, Senior and Executive. Each level best prepares the soldier to fight and win in a complex world as adaptive and agile leaders and trusted professionals of Force 2025.

The Army’s culminating enlisted Professional Military Education (PME) is the Sergeants Major Course. This course provides tools to develop critical reasoning, creative thinking and decision-making skills. Soldiers are provided an education that teaches them to enhance their character, self-expression, and strengthen teamwork abilities. The course assists in the development of logical, practical and original reasoning abilities necessary for problem solving. Students analyze problems based on available information, arrive at logical solutions and decisions with reasonable speed, communicate reasoning and decisions orally and in writing, and supervise to ensure proper execution. Intellectual honesty, integrity, and professional values and standards are highly stressed. The SMC contains a total of 1,484.7 instructional hours, and is also offered as a nonresident course which culminates with two weeks of resident instruction at the academy. The Sergeants Major Course is a ten-month resident program of instruction conducted once a year at the Academy.

Additional photos of the graduation will be updated to our Flickr page next week. Watch our Facebook page for the announcement of when they are available.

Sellers assumes leadership of U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy held a change of responsibility June 23, which saw Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Defreese relinquish responsibility as commandant of the academy to Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Sellers. Above, Sellers accepts the USASMA colors from Maj. Gen. John S. Kem, Provost for Army University and Deputy Commandant for the Command and General Staff College, who presided over the ceremony. (Photo by Spc. James C. Seals Jr., USASMA)

By David Crozier, Command Communications

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy changed leadership June 23 when Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Sellers assumed the responsibility as commandant from Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Defreese during a change of responsibility ceremony held in the Academy’s Cooper Lecture Center, Fort Bliss, Texas. Maj. Gen. John S. Kem, Provost for Army University and Deputy Commandant for the Command and General Staff College, presided over the ceremony and gave remarks after the unit colors were passed between the outgoing and incoming commandants.

“It is an honor to be a part of a ceremony in the best noncommissioned officer academy in the world. It is a place that has always had such a forward look on where our Army needs to go and is such an integral part of it,” Kem said. “That is what stands this academy apart from the others across the world.”

Kem recounted his early years as an officer and said that he was shaped by great NCOs; that throughout his career he has been watching NCOs do their business.

Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Defreese addresses the gathered crowd after relinquishing his responsibility as commandant of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy to Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Sellers during ceremonies June 23. Defreese was the 21st commandant, and third enlisted commandant of the academy. He will retire at the end of the month. (Photo by Spc. James C. Seals Jr., USASMA)

“That’s what this academy is all about, teaching and growing NCOs to continue to lead our Army,” he said. “Our investment and training in the NCO Corps is one of the most important aspects of being a profession. Lots of people have jobs; very few people in our country have professions.”

Kem noted that under the leadership of Defreese, and now under the leadership of Sellers, USASMA will continue to bring the academic rigor to the institution and into the NCO Corps.
At the forefront of this world-class academy for the last few years has been Command Sgt. Maj. Defreese and his wife of 25 years, Jane,” Kem said. “I don’t have to tell you that you have been instrumental in the collective efforts of our senior sergeants major.”

Kem said that Defreese’s efforts, particularly with increasing international partner presence, the Penn State Fellowship, were extremely notable.

“[The fellowship] program is really instrumental to the rigor and long-term viability of the institution because we are raising the faculty level,” Kem said. “We are bringing that faculty together so the student outcomes are naturally better.

“Command Sgt. Maj. Defreese has fulfilled his duties with distinction. Our Army is better for his dedication, duty, selfless service,” Kem said. “As a leader you try to leave the place better than you found it; you become a part of the building.”

Kem said that there is a brick, a “Defreese brick” that Sellers and the Army will continue to build upon that foundation. He also lauded Jane Defreese’s work at the academy particularly taking note of her work with the Spouse Leadership Development Course.

Turning his attention to the incoming commandant, Kem said they were no stranger to the Army or the institution.

“We are happy to have you here and look forward to your leadership,” he said.”

Defreese thanked all for attending and gave a heartfelt thank you to the staff and faculty for their support for the last three years.
“I am sure you are all expecting a long speech, but that just ain’t going to happen,” Defreese said. “I just want to recognize a few phenomenal people and move on and let Jimmy be commandant.”

Turning his attention to the Sellers’, Defreese said, “Have fun. While you are here, enjoy every day. It goes by very fast. I know you will do great things while you are here.

Sellers thanked all for attending.

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy held a change of responsibility June 23, which saw Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Defreese relinquish responsibility as command of the academy to Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Sellers. Above, Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Sellers (center) shakes hands with Command Sgt. Maj. (retired) Joe Gainey, the former Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff, during his reception as the new commandant. Also pictured is command sergeant major Sellers’ wife, Shaunette D. Sellers. (Photo by Spc. James C. Seals Jr., USASMA)

“What a great day to be a Soldier,” he said. “I feel blessed and humbled to be able to work with the great Army staff here. I will ensure you this awesome responsibility will not be taken lightly.”

Sellers ended saying this is a prominent time for NCOs and USASMA and that he is “excited to have the opportunity to roll up my sleeves and help the process move forward.”

Sellers comes to USASMA from an assignment as the command sergeant major of the U.S. Army Quartermaster School, Fort Lee, Virginia. Defreese will retire from the Army at the end of the month.

USASMA is responsible for developing, maintaining, teaching, and distributing five levels of Enlisted Professional Military Education – Introductory, Primary, Intermediate, Senior and Executive. Each level best prepares the soldier to fight and win in a complex world as adaptive and agile leaders and trusted professionals of Force 2025.

Class 67 students participate in Black and Gold ceremony

More than 170 students, staff and family members of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy earned a total of 177 degrees: 83 Masters, 79 Bachelors, and 12 Associates and three professional certificates from 18 different colleges and universities during a Black and Gold ceremony June 19, held in the academy’s Cooper Lecture Center. Above, a graduate walks across the stage after receiving his diploma. Photo by Spc. James C. Seals Jr., USASMA

By David Crozier, Command Communications

Black and Gold have been the U.S. Army colors since the American Revolution. Black represents a never ending search for knowledge and gold – the standard of achievement. On June 19, the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy celebrated the more than 170 students, staff and family members who rose to that standard by taking their place among their fellow warrior-scholars during a Black and Gold commencement ceremony held in the Academy’s Cooper Lecture Center. The graduates earned a total of 177 degrees: 83 Masters, 79 Bachelors, and 12 Associates and three professional certificates from 18 different colleges and universities.

Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Defreese, commandant of USASMA, presided over the commencement ceremony. The guest speaker for the evening, Judge M. Sue Kurita, County Court At Law Number Six, El Paso, Texas.

“My favorite place to teach is here at USASMA. I feel I learn so much from my students. It is kind of selfish because I give some, but get so much back,” Kurita said. “I have learned that the Soldier’s Creed is something that is real and is practiced every day. It is not just on the wall in every classroom, but it is how you live – ‘I am a warrior, a member of a team. I will never leave a fallen comrade.’

Kurita said that she has personally seen that statement at work in every class.

Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Defreese, commandant of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, congratulates Jeff Davis, director of USASMA’s Operations, after he received his master’s degree in Leadership Studies from the University of Texas at El Paso during ceremonies June 19. Davis joined more than 170 students, staff and family members of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy who earned a total of 177 degrees: 83 Masters, 79 Bachelors, and 12 Associates and three professional certificates from 18 different colleges and universities. Also pictured is Judge M. Sue Kurita, County Court At Law Number Six, El Paso, Texas, who was the guest speaker for the graduation. Photo by Spc. James C. Seals Jr., USASMA

“There are always the students who feel they are not capable of finishing and usually the rest of the class jumps in to help them,” she said. “I know that there are some of you who are sitting there in black and gold that are here because you were helped by your fellow students.”

Kurita said the graduates had overcome many obstacles to get to the evening’s events.

“You are not the normal boring four year straight out of college student. That’s not what you did. You took a different route, you took the difficult route,” she said. “You took a route that took you to places away from your family; places that are dangerous; where you put your lives on the line for me every single day. But you made it. You’re here and I am grateful for that. We are all grateful for that.”

Kurita said the journey the students took was actually superior to that of a conventional four-year degree because their journey showed that they appreciated education.

More than 170 students, staff and family members of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy earned a total of 177 degrees: 83 Masters, 79 Bachelors, and 12 Associates and three professional certificates from 18 different colleges and universities during a Black and Gold ceremony June 19, held in the academy’s Cooper Lecture Center. Photo by Spc. James C. Seals Jr., USASMA

“Because you have experience in life; because you bring those real life experiences to the classroom making education more relevant, more real, you appreciate the gift of education. You set a goal and you achieved it and now you are here. You have pursued that goal and you have achieved it,” she said. “You are without question successful warriors. You know that because you will graduate from [this academy] on Friday. You are all successful leaders and tonight you are successful Soldier-Scholars.”

USASMA is responsible for developing, maintaining, teaching, and distributing five levels of Enlisted Professional Military Education – Introductory, Primary, Intermediate, Senior and Executive. Each level best prepares the soldier to fight and win in a complex world as adaptive and agile leaders and trusted professionals of Force 2025.

The Army’s culminating enlisted Professional Military Education (PME) institution is the Sergeants Major Course. This course provides tools to develop critical reasoning, creative thinking and decision-making skills. Soldiers are provided an education that teaches them to enhance their character, self-expression, and strengthen teamwork abilities. The course assists in the development of logical, practical and original reasoning abilities necessary for problem solving. Students analyze problems based on available information, arrive at logical solutions and decisions with reasonable speed, communicate reasoning and decisions orally and in writing, and supervise to ensure proper execution. Intellectual honesty, integrity, and professional values and standards are highly stressed. The SMC contains a total of 1,484.7 instructional hours, and is also offered as a nonresident course which culminates with two weeks of resident instruction at the academy. The Sergeants Major Course is a ten-month resident program of instruction conducted once a year at the Academy.

Note: Additional photos are posted to our Flickr site at https://www.flickr.com/photos/133821783@N02/albums.