By David Crozier, Command Communications
The military’s top enlisted leader spent the morning May 29 talking NCO and transition issues with the students of Sergeants Major Course Class 63 at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy.
Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Bryan Battaglia, the senior enlisted advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, started his presentation to the class by introducing Dr. Susan S. Kelly, Ph.D. the principal director, Transition to Veterans Program Office, whom he said had very important news for the students to hear about transition assistance.
“It is very important for us to get our transition programs right. Part of our job as NCOs is to prepare our [troops] to transition and ensure they reenter society as a productive member,” he said. “Doctor Kelly has been a lead in overhauling our Army Career and Alumni Programs.”
The Department of Defense has developed a curricula for transitioning service members and encompasses responsibilities that include leadership ensuring certain career readiness standards are met, Kelly said. The curricula are also standardized ensuring every service member receives the same transition assistance training.
“This is an entirely new curriculum for transitioning service members that they must complete,” she said. “They just don’t sit through classes either. There is a concrete deliverable that each service member will have to show at the end of the [training] and it is the commander’s responsibility to verify that every service member meets new career readiness standards.”
Dr. Kelly said the standards are basic, but critical to ensuring the military is doing its best to prepare transitioning service members. Some of the requirements include, having a job application or job offer letter; filling out a college application or having an acceptance letter; attending a VA benefits briefing; completing self assessment tools; understanding financial requirements and so forth. Once all of the standards have been met, or a referral for assistance has been made, the leader can sign the new form, DD form 2958, verifying the service member is prepared to transition out.
“Senior NCOs are going to play a pivotal role in this,” she said. “The service members are going to need leadership, guidance and a nudge to get the ball rolling and that nudge is going to come from you.”
Following Dr. Kelly’s presentation, Battaglia addressed the class about his role as the SEAC and how he helps the Chairman implement his four priorities – Achieve our national objectives in current conflicts, Develop Joint Force 2020, Keeping faith with our military family and Renewing our commitment to the Profession of Arms – all with an overarching theme of “Total Commitment to the Total Force.”
Battaglia explained that total force means from the young military child and spouse, to the service member and the service member who is now retired and is 80 years old and has been a lifelong member of the American Legion. “That is the total force,” he said.
Speaking to the priorities, Battaglia said that with sequestration “[The military is] going to have challenges of [its] own with downsizing and we are going to have to roll up our sleeves and get things done to ensure that we remain ready, relevant, trained, educated, and we can face any American threat or a tasker that our president may direct.”
He added, “It is not the first time we have been here. We got through it before; we will get through it again. While we make our way through,
we are not going to let readiness drop where we are irrelevant or ineffective. That dog is not going to hunt and the NCO corps, the backbone of our military, plays a vital role in that.”
He also said that the service must bridge back to basics by leveraging the technology of today while ensuring we make today’s generation part of the solution and not the problem.
He closed his presentation to the class asking them to renew their commitment to the profession of arms. He said while each service has their creed – Soldier’s Creed, Sailor’s Creed, Airman’s, My Rifle – the Creed of a United States Marine, etc. – there is one thing everyone has that is the same – the Oath of Enlistment.
“Everyone should know the oath just like your service creed,” he said. “It is the common denominator between all of us and has been around since the late 1700s. It is a very, very powerful paragraph and I use it to renew my commitment to the profession of arms.”
For more information about the new transition assistance program visit http://www.turbotap.org/portal/transition/resources/Stakeholder_General_Public.