Tag Archives: senior noncommissioned officers

HRC leaders reach out to Fort Bliss NCOs at town hall

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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.”

‘Share the knowledge,’ SMA Dailey urges fellowship program grads

By MARTHA C. KOESTER
NCO Journal

Eager to share what they have learned with the next generation of senior noncommissioned officers, 19 sergeants major graduated in August from the pioneering U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy Fellowship Program at Fort Bliss, Texas. The graduates, all newly armed with master’s degrees in adult education from Pennsylvania State University, will perform two- to three years as senior NCO instructors in the Sergeants Major Course.

Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Defreese, commandant of USASMA, congratulates Sgt. Maj. Christopher A. Roche. Defreese called the graduation a major milestone for the NCO Corps and NCO education. (Photo by Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)
Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Defreese, commandant of USASMA, congratulates Sgt. Maj. Christopher A. Roche. Defreese called the graduation a major milestone for the NCO Corps and NCO education. (Photo by Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)

Dubbing it a major milestone for the NCO Corps and NCO education, Command Sgt. Maj. Dennis Defreese, commandant of USASMA, said the distance-learning program was “specifically designed to further our NCO Professional Development System and this should indicate … the Army is committed to the education of our NCOs.”

Advancing the corps

Sylvester Smith, fellowship program manager, read a congratulatory letter to the graduates from Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey during the ceremony Aug. 22. Calling the graduating class an inspiration, Dailey wrote “information is a commodity” and urged graduates of the online program to share it.

“I firmly believe you will continue to advance the corps and the Army as you apply your newfound knowledge as instructors in our academy,” Dailey wrote. “Do not hold anything back. As NCOs, we are trained if we share the knowledge then we as a corps will be able to develop and train the most versatile and effective corpsmen our Army has ever seen.”

Sgt. Maj. Jason B. Johnson receives congratulations after graduating from the USASMA Fellowship Program at Fort Bliss, Texas. (Photo by Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)
Sgt. Maj. Jason B. Johnson receives congratulations after graduating from the USASMA Fellowship Program at Fort Bliss, Texas. (Photo by Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)

Offering his own congratulations, Smith said the “graduates represent the best of the profession in the Army and set the standard” for others to follow.

“In your search for knowledge, collectively you have increased your value to service and country,” Smith told the graduates.

Though no specific military occupational specialty is sought, the cross-section of students face an advanced curriculum to better professionalize senior NCO instructors in the classroom. Under the fellowship program, fellows have one year to focus exclusively on completing a master’s degree in adult education.

Guest speaker Renata S. Engel, associate vice provost for online programs at Penn State, told the crowd she was very pleased that two historic organizations such as the university and the U.S. Army came together in a special program and praised the graduates as “risk-takers.”

The 19 graduates are due to perform two- to three years as senior NCO instructors in the Sergeants Major Course. (Photo by David Crozier / U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy)
The 19 graduates, shown with William Diehl and Renate S. Engel from Pennsylvania State University, are due to perform two- to three years as senior NCO instructors in the Sergeants Major Course. (Photo by David Crozier / U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy)

“You were the first,” Engel said. “There was a risk involved, and I would like to think risk without preparation is folly. … But risk with preparation, along with the confidence that comes that you’re building on foundation … what you create is a path that is more accessible to those who follow. … It’s not just what you accomplish. It’s what you enable others to accomplish, and your degrees in education are actually going to elevate that even higher.”

‘Stick with learning’

In closing her address, Engel said she wouldn’t be giving the graduates any advice as graduation guest speakers often do. Instead, she offered them two wishes.

Graduates from the pioneering U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy Fellowship Program at Fort Bliss, Texas, take their seats during a ceremony. Nineteen sergeants major graduated Aug. 22 with master's degrees in adult education from Pennsylvania State University. (Photo by Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)
Graduates from the pioneering U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy Fellowship Program at Fort Bliss, Texas, take their seats during a ceremony. Nineteen sergeants major graduated Aug. 22 with master’s degrees in adult education from Pennsylvania State University. (Photo by Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)

“I wish that at some point in your life as an educator you have the joy that comes from a student, a learner, someone who’s following you, tell you about the impact that you have made on them,” Engel said. “It’s going to happen, and it’s going to be amazing when it does. … The second wish I have for you is a wish that you will always want, and I don’t just mean in your profession but … throughout life ─ that you love learning and find so much appreciation for it that you stick with learning.”

The fellowship program offers an opportunity for qualified active-duty senior NCOs to become ambassadors of the Army in the classroom who will help develop agile, adaptive and innovative leaders of the future.

After the past year, Sgt. Maj. Timothy W. Magee and Sgt. Maj. Manuel D. Atencio said they are ready to take their talents into the classroom.

“I am hoping to impress what I have learned in school with the students, and partly the information that I have learned in school is going to help us empathize with what the students are going to be going through,” Magee said. “We know from first-hand experience the pressure we felt going through a new program that we didn’t know anything about. That’s exactly how these students coming through the Sergeant Major Course feel. We’ve got recent education experience with the same anxieties that they are getting ready to experience, so I think that’s going to help us [in the classroom].”

“It was a transformational process, not having been in school for a while to taking four classes at one time,” Atencio said. “It was a great learning experience.”

Both graduates said they would recommend the fellowship program to senior NCOs and encourage them to continue their education.

“I think it’s a very worthwhile program,” Magee said. “One of the amazing parts was when we all got together at Christmas time and we had just completed four classes. … I didn’t realize I had learned anything until we sat around and talked. Just listening to everybody say, ‘Well we talked about this, and we learned this and we learned that,’ and I’m like ‘Holy cow, we actually did learn something.’ It was amazing and pretty fun, too.”

 

Fellowship program graduates
  • Sgt. Maj. James J. Adcock
  • Sgt. Maj. Manuel D. Atencio
  • Sgt. Maj. Scot D. Cates
  • Sgt. Maj. Carl B. Dwyer Jr.
  • Sgt. Maj. John O. Garrison
  • Sgt. Maj. Reginald R. Gooden
  • Sgt. Maj. Jason B. Johnson
  • Sgt. Maj. David J. Lee Jr.
  • Sgt. Maj. Jason F. Leeworthy
  • Sgt. Maj. Timothy W. Magee
  • Sgt. Maj. Patrick D. Mason
  • Sgt. Maj. Feliece Y. Murrell
  • Sgt. Maj. Pedro F. Quiñones
  • Sgt. Maj. Dennis M. Reynolds
  • Sgt. Maj. Ryan C. Robert
  • Sgt. Maj. Christopher A. Roche
  • Sgt. Maj. Timothy C. Todd
  • Sgt. Maj. Steven M. Townsend
  • Sgt. Maj. Terry J. Wade

For more information on the program, contact Sgt. Maj. Joseph J. Hissong, director, USASMA Fellowship Program at 915-744-8827 or email him at joseph.j.hissong.mil@mail.mil

SMA’s Senior Enlisted Council focuses on personnel

By Sgt. 1st Class Joy Dulen
U.S. Army Human Resources Public Affairs

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey led the first 2016 meeting of the Senior Enlisted Council recently at the U.S. Army Human Resources Command at Fort Knox, Kentucky, with the focus set on managing the enlisted force and maximizing talent.

Because HRC’s mission is to optimize total force personnel readiness, Dailey said it was the perfect setting for the topic at hand.

“This time, we talked about our personnel and how we’re going to rearrange the talent management and leader development of our senior noncommissioned officers,” he said.

A new direction

Dailey changed what was once known as the Board of Directors under former Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler to the SEC shortly after taking over as the 15th Sgt. Maj. of the Army in January 2015. The council of senior sergeants major from throughout the Army meets monthly via video teleconference and in person quarterly to discuss issues that affect the welfare of Soldiers.

Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey, right, talks with Command Sgt. Maj. James Sims, U.S. Army Material command, during a recent Senior Enlisted Council meeting at the U.S. Army Human Resources Command. The SEC meets quarterly to discuss issues affecting Soldiers' welfare. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Joy Dulen, U.S. Army Human Resources Public Affairs)
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey, right, talks with Command Sgt. Maj. James Sims, U.S. Army Material command, during a recent Senior Enlisted Council meeting at the U.S. Army Human Resources Command. The SEC meets quarterly to discuss issues affecting Soldiers’ welfare. (Photo by Sgt. 1st Class Joy Dulen, U.S. Army Human Resources Public Affairs)

Topics may range from military pay and compensation recommendations to uniform changes. However, Dailey said the time has come to concentrate on Soldiers after more than a decade at war.

“The Chief of Staff of the Army has tasked me with taking a look at how we manage our enlisted force, how we maximize the talents and capabilities of our Soldiers, and really answer some of the questions that we’ve asked for a long time,” Dailey said.

Topics discussed during SECs can affect the force in as little as a month or result in ongoing talks into the future. Dailey said it depends on the issue.

“We get recommendations, and some of those start with one individual Soldier,” he said.

Making changes

He gave the example of a recent change in Army policy on the authorized wear of black socks with the Army physical fitness uniform. A Soldier stood up in a town hall meeting and asked why black socks weren’t allowed. Less than 30 days later, the policy was changed.

“We took that to the Senior Enlisted Council, had a unanimous vote that it was in keeping with the finest traditions of Army service, went to the Chief of Staff of the Army and we quickly made a decision,” Dailey said.

Some issues are much more complex. When you’re discussing working through the intricacies of military compensation and reform, it could take several months to affect the force, he said.

“The perfect example is the Noncommissioned Officer Evaluation Report that has just been launched,” Dailey said. “We worked on that for two years in the Senior Enlisted Council … and some of these things take a lot of work because we have to call in the professionals, like those people who work here at the Human Resources Command, to be able to inform us and do the analysis.”

Dailey reiterated the SEC’s biggest concern is Soldiers’ welfare. They don’t want to make decisions that could have a negative impact over the long term, he said.

“This is the Army, it’s a big organization and it’s hard to turn back,” he said. “Simple things like black socks — not a huge effect on Soldiers. But the Noncommissioned Officer Evaluation Report, that has a huge effect on the total population of NCOs, not just now, but into the foreseeable future.”

Dailey said the SEC will continue to meet with a fresh new focus on Soldiers and the Chief of Staff of the Army’s No. 1 priority — readiness.

“We’re an organization made up of people, and we’re the largest people organization in America,” he said. “Human Resources Command is one of those critical nodes that we have to invest in for the future and make sure we get it right because they’re here to take care of our people. And our job as an Army is to always get better.”