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.”
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.”
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.”
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.