The Institute for Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development wants to hear from you. INCOPD has created an online survey, to seek NCO’s input on how to further enhance the current NCO Education System. NCOs in the ranks of sergeant through master sergeant will receive an email via their Army email accounts with instructions on how to complete the 30-minute survey. NCOs from active duty, Army Reserve and Army National Guard are being included and will be encouraged to participate in the voluntary survey.
“This survey is more important to NCOs,” said Aubrey Butts, INCOPD’s director. “However, it’s important to us so we can design their future. It’s important because we need to know when they train, where they train and if we are training on the right things. We can also reduce the redundancy in NCO training.”
INCOPD is examining what the Army, and its needs, will look like in the year 2020. They are hoping the NCO 2020 survey will help guide them during next seven years to build a solid and relevant NCOES structure and curriculum by 2020.
Although the survey is voluntary, INCOPD’s leadership highly encourages participation.
“This is an opportunity to be serious about what your concerns are and what you would like those influencing and shaping your development to know,” said Dan Hubbard, INCOPD’s deputy director. “If you don’t take the time—and it’s only about 30 to 40 minutes on average to do this—then you’re kind of giving up your opportunity to give us what you think in order to help us shape what is important into the future.”
Both Hubbard and Butts are retired sergeants major.
Tammy Bankus is a senior instructional systems specialist at INCOPD and helped to develop and implement the survey. She said the survey will have questions about what NCOs should be learning at various points in their careers, the appropriate ranks at which they should be learning certain tasks and how the courses should be delivered (such as resident or online courses).
“We will ask very specific questions, on specific topics but we also give NCOs the opportunity to provide broad input with essay questions,” Bankus said. “They can tell us what they think about the training and how they liked the last NCOES course they attended, whether it was a resident course or distance learning.”
The NCO 2020 survey will allow NCOs to give feedback about three of the Army’s four resident NCOES schools: Warrior Leaders Course, Advanced Leaders Course and Senior Leaders Course. The Sergeant Major Course is not included in the survey. Survey’s participants can also give their opinions on distance learning courses like ALC-Common Core and Structured Self Development.
“We also have some questions about distributed learning so we can see how many hours our Soldiers have to spend during the week to work on distributed learning on-duty and how many hours off-duty,” Bankus said. “What do they think about distributed learning? Having that data, we try to tap the institution, the unit and the self-development domain.”
INCOPD, whose mission is solely dedicated to NCO professional development, will share the results of the survey with the Army’s highest levels of leadership.
Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, chief of staff of the Army, Gen. Robert Cone, commander of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III will carefully look at the survey’s results and provide input for the way ahead.
“I ask that each of you invest the time and thought to ensure your answers provide the Army’s senior leaders a clear vision of what you think the NCO of 2020 should be and what he or she will need to know and understand to meet the complexities of an uncertain security environment in 2020 and beyond,” Chandler said in an email to NCOs.
INCOPD’s sergeant major, Sgt. Maj. Trefus Lee, said leaders need to encourage their NCOs to participate in the survey and to provide honest feedback.
“I just left a command sergeant major position four months ago,” Lee said. “Current battalion and brigade-level leaders need to get involved, making sure their NCOs are focused on this and getting involved in this survey. It’s key at the unit level that the leaders take the survey seriously and realize that it’s not just another survey to be put on the shelf. It’s going to help the senior Army leadership focus where we are going.”
Butts and his staff stressed that NCOs should also encourage their peers and subordinates to complete the survey because, he said, improving NCO professional development will improve the Army’s readiness.
“The main goal of INCOPD is to make sure NCOs have the knowledge, skills and ability to bring each and every one of those young people back home [from war],” Butts said.