Tag Archives: Army Training and Doctrine Command

TRADOC leader sees ‘major step forward’ in NCO 2020

By MASTER SGT. GARY L. QUALLS JR.
NCO Journal

As technology, the environment, and the strategies and complexities of warfare continue to evolve in the new millennium, national defense leaders are preparing what is widely regarded as the foundation of that security – the Noncommissioned Officer Corps – with 50 initiatives designed to help NCOs meet those evolving challenges. These key initiatives to the nation’s defense in the modern operational environment are known as NCO 2020.

The NCO-driven plan will serve as the lynchpin of the nation’s defense.

The NCO Professional Development System will be the vehicle that drives the NCO 2020 strategy through human performance optimization in the areas of leader development, talent management, and stewardship of the profession. More than education and knowledge, it is a system of professional development based on substantive concepts that matter, delivered in an efficient and effective way, with each and every part of the system integrated with the others, according to U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s “NCO 2020 Strategy: NCOs Operating in a Complex World.”

“We are talking about no less than a paradigm shift in NCO development,” TRADOC’s Command Sgt. Maj. David S. Davenport Sr. said.

Davenport envisions “a continuum of learning” for NCOs, where training designers look at content, how the training is delivered and how to make it matter.

“At times in the past, we’ve had training NCOs completed, but it didn’t really mean anything,” he said. “We want training that has value, that leads to something, and that matters.”

Credentialing is a big part of plan for NCO 2020. Leaders working the initiatives are looking for ways to show affirmation or evidence that NCOs’ training is meaningful and relevant ways. Grading is another tool being considered by the NCO 2020 contingent. Assigning grades to courses and other training may make them more meaningful for NCOs. Moreover, where does the training lead? Does it have a purpose? Does it have a direction? NCO 2020 is implementing an integrated, comprehensive approach to NCO development.

Some of the NCO 2020 initiatives are reviews of structured self-development, curriculum relevance/rigor, skills/qualification/certification, training with industry, professional writing/reading, character development and update Army Career Tracker.

With character development, sergeants major are working on a plan to make Army Values a part of NCOs’ inner being, so when they are in a complex environment they have a foundation of trust.

“NCOs should be an example of honor and integrity because as they progress they are given more and more authority, making the way they handle that authority all the more important,” Davenport said.

The NCO 2020 board is looking at the rigor and relevance of structured self-development and how germane it is to NCO duties and responsibilities, including the provision of self-paced learning allowing NCOs to either take more time with course instruction and material or, for quick-learning NCOs, to test out of NCO training programs.

The board has already decided the Skill Qualification Test, a staple of NCO military education in the 1980s, will not be coming back.

“The more we can encourage NCOs to research, write, and convey their thoughts the better,” Davenport said of the professional writing initiative.

This initiative is actually already underway in the form of the Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston NCO Writing Excellence Program. Submission dates, themes and guidelines can be found at http://armypress.dodlive.mil/nco-writing-excellence-program/

In fact, Davenport said he wholeheartedly agrees with Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey making Army University and Soldier education in general a top priority, adding he has every confidence NCOs can “handle any educational challenge and operate at any and every level of the Army.”

Training with Industry has real value and should not be seen by promotion boards as a promotion stopper, Davenport said.

“Those who downgrade Soldiers because they’ve participated in a Training with Industry program do not understand AR 600-25,” he said, adding, however, that Soldiers should not participate in back-to-back programs of that nature – and that Soldiers’ branches have a role in ensuring they are given assignments that help them progress in accordance with their career map.

Extensive planning, effort and innovation are being applied in many other NCO 2020 initiatives.

The NCO Corps has the support of Army leadership, and the initiatives are being carefully planned and put together to ensure they are solid, enduring programs, Davenport said.

The key to the overall plan of NCO 2020 is “an understanding by all parties of what we are doing here and the integrated, sequential way we are making this relevant development happen.” Davenport said.

“I think NCO 2020 will have a very lasting impact,” Davenport said. “These 50 initiatives are the azimuth to take the Corps a major step forward in NCO development.”

Editor’s Note: To review “NCO 2020 Strategy: NCOs operating in a complex world,” click on the following link: https://actnow.army.mil/communities/service/html/communityview?communityUuid=fa6e7266-0b78-4b82-b6d7-bcdbff64d5e1

*(At the Army Career Tracker web site, click on “Communities” on the left side of the page, then select “Other Communities” and select the page “NCO Professional Development,” and click on “NCO 2020” on the right side of the page.)

HRC leaders reach out to Fort Bliss NCOs at town hall

Extra

By MARTHA C. KOESTER
NCO Journal

Is it true that assignment officers at U.S. Army Human Resources Command save the great jobs for their friends? Or, that assignment officers sit on the promotion boards?

HRC’s Command Sgt. Maj. Wardell Jefferson has heard many of the fallacies about HRC and urges Soldiers to reject the myths.

“A lot of [the negativity] is [because of a] lack of education,” Jefferson said before a town hall for senior noncommissioned officers in December at Fort Bliss, Texas. “What we try to do is inform the field of what we are doing and why we do it …

Command Sgt. Maj. Wardell Jefferson of U.S. Army Human Resources Command (right), with Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (left) and Sgt. Maj. Derek Johnson, deputy chief of staff G1 sergeant major at Headquarters Department of the Army, take on talent management during the third town hall in November at Fort Eustis, Virginia. (Photo by Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)
Command Sgt. Maj. Wardell Jefferson of U.S. Army Human Resources Command (right), with Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (left) and Sgt. Maj. Derek Johnson, deputy chief of staff G1 sergeant major at Headquarters Department of the Army, take on talent management during the third town hall in November at Fort Eustis, Virginia. (Photo by Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)

If a Soldier doesn’t get a promotion or assignment he or she wants, “it’s not because the assignment manager doesn’t like you or doesn’t want to send you to those locations,” he said. “It’s because you have to meet certain criteria. The way we dispel those myths is to talk Soldiers through it and educate the leaders. The leaders can help us to educate the Soldier on how the assignment process works.”

Jefferson and Maj. Gen. Thomas Seamands, HRC commander, visited Fort Bliss on Dec. 14 to reach out to both noncommissioned and commissioned service members. For Jefferson and Seamands, the advantages of doing these HRC road shows are twofold.

“There’s a benefit for us at HRC because we get to come out here and listen to the Soldiers in the field, to find out what’s on their minds and how we can make things better for them and their organizations,” Jefferson said. “The other part is for us to show transparency. We inform the Soldiers of what’s going on and what kinds of changes are taking place within their career management fields. That way, they are aware of what’s taking place and how it affects them and their families.”

As the Army downsizes, Jefferson said talent management is not just HRC’s responsibility.

U.S. Army Human Resources Command Sgt. Maj. Wardell Jefferson (right), with Maj. Gen. Thomas Seamands, HRC Commander, discusses professional development with noncommissioned officers Dec. 14 at Fort Bliss, Texas. Jefferson says road shows are part of HRC’s efforts to show transparency. (Photo by Mehgan Portillo, NCO Journal)
U.S. Army Human Resources Command Sgt. Maj. Wardell Jefferson (right), with Maj. Gen. Thomas Seamands, HRC commander, discusses professional development with noncommissioned officers Dec. 14 at Fort Bliss, Texas. Jefferson says road shows are part of HRC’s efforts to show transparency. (Photo by Meghan Portillo, NCO Journal)

“We [at HRC] identify the Soldiers that need to move to these different positions in our Army, but once we place Soldiers on assignment, then the unit has the responsibility in managing that talent,” Jefferson said. “The leaders on the ground ensure that Soldiers get to the right schools they need in order to develop the talent and go forward.”

He also recently spoke about the issue during Army Training and Doctrine Command’s third town hall in November at Fort Eustis, Virginia.

Many questions and complaints heard during HRC’s road shows are linked to recent revisions in Army policy.

“It’s just the fear of change,” Jefferson said. “When we decided to make the change to a new noncommissioned officer evaluation report, a lot of people were in an uproar about it. But now that we have been doing this NCOER for almost 12 months, not a lot of people are arguing about it. Now, it’s just learning how to write those evaluations. Same thing with STEP,” the Select, Train, Educate, Promote policy for promotion.

Jefferson often offers his assistance to Soldiers at the road shows. If, for example, a Soldier has an issue with his or her assignment and is not connecting with the assignment officer to discuss it, Jefferson will take the Soldier’s information and meet with the assignment officer in an effort to get both parties in touch. Also, if Soldiers continue to take issue with a certain policy or question its relevance, they may count on Jefferson to take up the debate with the deputy chief of staff, G-1.

“If it’s something we think we should look at, we’ll take that back to the Army G-1 and say, ‘We have got this feedback from the Soldiers out in the field. Maybe we could look at this policy, and see if it’s still relevant or if we need to adjust it,’” Jefferson said.

As for those NCOs looking for advice on how to get ahead in the Army, Jefferson said it’s all about self-improvement.

“The way you do that is by going to military schools, by taking the hard jobs and developing yourself and making sure that you are technically and tactically proficient in your career management field,” he said. “Also, reach out to your mentors and find out what else you need to be doing. But the most important thing to prepare yourself for promotion, regardless of what job you are in, is do the best you can and ensure that your evaluation says exactly how you did in that position. Along with going to the schools, that’s the major way to develop ourselves.”

The command sergeant major said he has grown a lot in his 18 months on the job and learns something new every day, especially in his interactions with Soldiers.

“I want to make an impact on the Soldiers and families because that’s what it’s all about,” he said. “Our job is to ensure that Soldiers and our families are taken care of, and I am very passionate about that. There are going to be some Soldiers saying, ‘It’s just HRC again,’ but there is another Soldier out here who I am going to have an impact on ─ something that I am going to say today is going to impact him and his family, or I am going to be able to assist them with something and they are going to put that trust back in HRC and think, ‘Well, maybe they are not the bad guys.’”

Jefferson often leaves NCOs with the same bit of advice ─ develop a passion for what they do, and success will come.

“If you are passionate about something, you are going to be successful in doing that,” he said. “Remain competent and relevant. If you are a leader, all these changes affect all of our Soldiers and their families. You have to know what’s going on in our Army today in order for you to be an effective leader.”

State of NCO Development Town Hall 2 will focus on leader development

Previously in the NCO Journal

By JONATHAN (JAY) KOESTER
NCO Journal

After every great movie, there is a sequel. So, it’s time for NCOs to get ready for the State of NCO Development Town Hall 2.

After the resounding success of the first town hall from U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command in March, Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport, command sergeant major of TRADOC, decided to have another one. In fact, Davenport has announced plans for three more.

“The first town hall was an overview of what was coming their way, and it was such a big success,” Davenport said. “We touched more than 1 million social media accounts. We had on average 3,000 people in our chat rooms, and we went out to 18 countries, so it touched a lot of Soldiers with just a couple hours of hard work.”

The next town hall will take place this week, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday, June 23. The chat room will open at 4 p.m. to allow the questions to start rolling in. With a focus on leader development, NCOs are again encouraged to ask questions in the broadcast chat room at http://www.emc.army.mil/broadcast/, or on social media using #TRADOCtownhall.

The town halls are focused on the overarching NCO 2020 strategy, Davenport said. For the town hall this week, the focus will be on line of effort one, leader development. In the fall, Davenport plans a town hall on line of effort two, talent management. A fourth town hall will take place toward the end of the year focused on line of effort three, stewardship of the profession.

“For the coming town hall on development, we’re going to have Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Defreese, the commandant of the U.S. Sergeants Major Academy, there; we’re going to have the Combined Arms Center sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. David Turnbull, there; we’re also going to have Army University sergeant major, Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Clowser, there.

Having set themes and topics for the town halls should allow for a discussion that is more relevant to the total force, Davenport said.

“Toward the latter part of the last town hall, it really got into specific Soldier concerns about themselves,” Davenport said. “What I’m trying to paint a picture for the force is, we’re looking out to the year 2020. … It’s not necessarily about them, here and now.”

As before, NCOs are encouraged to send in video questions before the town hall to be played during the event. NCOs can post a video question to Facebook or Twitter using #TRADOCtownhall.

“I encourage Soldiers to go to my blog site, tradocnews.org, and they’ll see ‘Straight From the Sergeant Major,’” Davenport said. “They’ll have to scroll back a couple of articles, but we hung the video, and the chat log from the first town hall, to be as transparent as we can to the force. All of that is still there. They can go back and review. And I ask that they read the NCO 2020 strategy, to really understand those items contained under the development line of effort, so we can have a great discussion.”

Davenport announced that the town hall will again feature a few special video appearances, with messages from Command Sgt. Maj. Scott Schroeder, command sergeant major of U.S. Army Forces Command, and Command Sgt. Maj. John Troxell, the senior enlisted advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“It’s going to be a fantastic event,” Davenport said. “I’m looking forward to it. I rearranged my whole schedule so that I can spend time with the leaders that are coming here, so we can be prepared when we go in there to talk to the Soldiers of our great Army.”

Participate

What: State of NCO Development Town Hall 2

When: 5-6:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday, June 23 (Chat room opens at 4 p.m.)

Where: www.emc.army.mil/broadcast

Social media: Find U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command on Facebook at facebook.com/USArmyTRADOC and Twitter @TRADOC. Ask questions or make comments using #TRADOCtownhall

RDECOM’s NCOs use expertise to assist in Army product development

By MARTHA C. KOESTER
NCOJournal

It wasn’t the detailed overview of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command or even the staff ride to John F. Kennedy Space Center that particularly motivated the noncommissioned officers. It was the valuable connections made for future project collaborations that would prove the most gratifying during the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development System training sessions in October at the Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith Simulation and Training Technology Center.

Sgt. Maj. James P. Snyder, command sergeant major and senior enlisted advisor of RDECOM, urged the 54 NCOs who attended to capitalize on their shared link to RDECOM and make those connections at the training sessions.

Sgt. 1st Class John C. Hardwick, center, tells NCOs about Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith before the start of the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development System training sessions in October at the Simulation and Training Technology Center, which is named after Smith. Hardwick is the senior enlisted advisor for Army Research Laboratory’s Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith Simulation and Training Technology Center. (Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)
Sgt. 1st Class John C. Hardwick, center, tells NCOs about Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith before the start of the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development System training sessions in October at the Simulation and Training Technology Center, which is named after Smith. Hardwick is the senior enlisted advisor for Army Research Laboratory’s Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith Simulation and Training Technology Center. (Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)

“Start thinking, ‘How do I better work with others out there to leverage the product that we are building in design, so that way we can give the benefit to the Soldiers in the Army?’” Snyder said. “Because that’s what it’s about. It’s about the Soldiers; it’s not about us. It’s about the unit, it’s about the Soldier in the field and the product that we provide them, and the best product that we can give them.”

Exercising skills

The 54 NCOs are part of RDECOM’s vast enterprise and are assigned to either Headquarters, Army Research Laboratory or the six research, development and engineering centers — Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center or AMRDEC; Armaments Research, Development and Engineering Center or ARDEC; Communications-Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center or CERDEC; Edgewood Chemical Biological Center or ECBC, Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center or NSRDEC; and Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center or TARDEC.

The NCOs provide military expertise throughout RDECOM. They work closely with a large civilian workforce of scientists and engineers to develop products and technologies.

Neuropsychologist Hector Gonzalez of Army Research Laboratory advises Sgt. 1st Class Laritza Hamby on how to use the Construction Equipment Virtual Trainer research equipment in October during the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development System training sessions at the Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith Simulation and Training Technology Center. (Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)
Neuropsychologist Hector Gonzalez of Army Research Laboratory advises Sgt. 1st Class Laritza Hamby on how to use the Construction Equipment Virtual Trainer research equipment in October during the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development System training sessions at the Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith Simulation and Training Technology Center. (Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)

“Why you are here is to provide user-level input to our scientists and engineers so they can develop the best product they can develop, to get to our Soldiers the first time,” Snyder told the NCOs during the training sessions. “We cannot afford to keep providing a product quickly, that we have to continue to go back and to modernize and revamp. We just can’t afford it.”

Because most of the NCOs come from the operational side of the Army to RDECOM, working with civilians may prove to be a little tricky in the beginning.

“Sometimes our civilians are a little bit intimidated by a Soldier coming into the process because they are not used to working with a Soldier,” Snyder told the NCOs. “You have to show them the benefit that you can be to them in that process. The rank you wear does not matter. They can’t associate rank with anything. What they can associate with though is your technical expertise, and until you show them the technical expertise you provide, you will not gain that trust and they will not come to you seeking that advice.”

Organizational roles

NCOs at the training sessions were eager to ask Snyder, who assumed his position in March, about his job at RDECOM.

“Sergeant Major, how long did it take you to get comfortable in your position, coming out of an operational brigade sergeant major position?” asked Sgt. 1st Class Ralph Zito, senior NCO advisor to AMRDEC.

Science and technology manager Bill Pike, right, shows NCOs simple entry and exit wounds used for medical simulation training in October at the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development System training sessions at the Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith Simulation and Training Technology Center. (Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)
Science and technology manager Bill Pike, right, shows NCOs simple entry and exit wounds used for medical simulation training in October at the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development System training sessions at the Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith Simulation and Training Technology Center. (Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)

“I am more comfortable than when I first took the seat because I try to embed myself in the process,” Snyder said. “I ask questions. There are plenty of things out there that I do not know yet. That just makes me want to know and ask more questions. I need all of you to do the same thing. The folks in this room know a lot more about how that piece of equipment is going to be utilized in the field than our scientists and engineers do.”

All of the information helped put NCOs at ease, especially in helping them to figure out their organizational roles.

“That RDECOM brief was pretty amazing,” said Sgt. 1st Class Tyler D. Hardy, Satellite Communications Terminal chief, Space and Terrestrial Communications Division, CERDEC. “I have been here for about three years. I wish I had heard it two years ago. That would have helped immensely, because RDECOM is so complex. That helped me understand where we fit in to the grand scheme of things. I’m getting ready to leave RDECOM, and it will help me brief the new NCOs who are coming in. Now, I have a better understanding.”

On display

A group of ARL scientists and engineers treated NCOs to technology demonstrations, which included the virtual 3D platform Enhanced Dynamic Geo-Social Environment using virtual puppeteering, as well as technological advances in tactical combat casualty care using medical simulation.

Sgt. Maj. James P. Snyder, command sergeant major and senior enlisted advisor of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, urges NCOs to make professional connections during the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development System training sessions. More than 50 NCOs attended the event in October in the Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith Simulation and Training Technology Center. (Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)
Sgt. Maj. James P. Snyder, command sergeant major and senior enlisted advisor of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, urges NCOs to make professional connections during the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development System training sessions. More than 50 NCOs attended the event in October in the Sgt. 1st Class Paul Ray Smith Simulation and Training Technology Center. (Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)

NCOs from ARL, AMRDEC, ARDEC, CERDEC, ECBC, NSRDEC and TARDEC presented outlines of their organizations to give other training participants a better understanding of what each contributes to RDECOM.

The NCOs also heard a variety of topics discussed, including guidance on professional development, the updated noncommissioned officer evaluation report and the Army’s new Select, Train, Educate, Promote policy.

“I thought the professional development piece was very helpful,” Zito said. “I thought that was really interesting [advice] to further my career and longevity in the military. It was very helpful on what to look for within myself and how to help Soldiers when I get back into the fight and be more productive as a leader.”

Snyder also told the NCOs about the effort to put the word out on RDECOM within the operational Army.

“I’ve been working with Army Training and Doctrine Command to get a block of instruction about RDECOM into the Basic Leaders Course,” Snyder said. “We’re trying to embed a block of training, not just about RDECOM but Army Materiel Command in general, because AMC is misunderstood. We’re trying to embed it in BLC so that our young leaders, who are the ones who are going to find the problems in equipment, have reachback capability to us.”

For Sgt. Maj. Todd Galindo, RDECOM G3, operations sergeant major, the NCOPDS training sessions offered a valuable opportunity to keep all NCOs up to date. Galindo is a new addition to the organization.

“Being a part of RDECOM really completes everything for me and what I’ve done on the operational side of the house,” Galindo said. “It’s a shame that I didn’t know this before, but now that I do I want to share it with everybody else. I know a lot of folks out in the force and hopefully I can make my rounds to explain what RDECOM does. That way, Soldiers can come in and be a part of it.”