Tag Archives: NCO 2020

TRADOC leader sees ‘major step forward’ in NCO 2020

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.)

NCOs learn about changes in leadership development

NCO Journal

Putting the spotlight squarely on leadership development, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey warned senior noncommissioned officers early last month of the “tough changes” coming as part of NCO 2020 and the updated NCO Professional Development System during an NCO and Soldier forum at the Association of the U.S. Army annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

“Sergeants major are what makes the United States Army the strong power that it is,” said retired Gen. Carter Ham, president and chief executive officer of AUSA, to senior noncommissioned officers in October at the Association of the U.S. Army annual meeting in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)
“Sergeants major are what makes the United States Army the strong power that it is,” said retired Gen. Carter Ham, president and chief executive officer of AUSA, to senior noncommissioned officers in October at the Association of the U.S. Army annual meeting in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)

“What it’s really about is getting our noncommissioned officers to a place we need them to be for 2025 and beyond, and maximizing the equivalency in the education we get in both the academic field and credentialing perspective so that we can sustain the all-volunteer force for the future,” Dailey said. “There are some tough changes coming ahead in the Army. Some of those affect Soldiers both positively and negatively. What I can assure you, though, is [that there is] a very good, comprehensive plan for the future.”

NCOs and Soldiers gathered Oct. 3-5 to not only tell the Army’s story and share it with the public and corporate supporters, but also to educate and share leadership development strategies with Soldiers, Dailey said. Gen. Mark A. Milley, chief of staff of the U.S. Army, has called readiness the Army’s No. 1 priority, and Army leaders agree that leadership development is central to building readiness.

“We have to sit back, take our blinders off and ask ourselves what it takes for every single Soldier in the Army to be ready,” Dailey told NCOs.

Dailey said Army downsizing is still underway to reach the goal of 450,000 Soldiers by 2018. Talent management will play a large part in deciding future promotions.

"There are some tough changes coming ahead in the Army," said. Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey to senior noncommissioned officers. Dailey said the changes are coming as part of NCO 2020 and the updated NCO Professional Development System during an NCO and Soldier forum in October at the Association of the U.S. Army annual meeting in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)
“There are some tough changes coming ahead in the Army,” said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey to senior noncommissioned officers. Dailey said the changes are coming as part of NCO 2020 and the updated NCO Professional Development System during an NCO and Soldier forum in October at the Association of the U.S. Army annual meeting in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Martha C. Koester / NCO Journal)

“We’re going to keep people based upon talent,” Dailey said. “We are going to promote people based upon talent, and we will slot people for advancement in the United States Army based upon talent. That is exactly what we are going to do to make sure we maintain the quality of Soldiers and noncommissioned officers who are in place to fight our nation’s wars.”

Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport, command sergeant major of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, told NCOs about changes on the horizon to enhance professional military education.

“We are looking at all the programs of instruction, with all of the proponents, and we are integrating common core standards,” Davenport said. “We’re investing in our facilitators, our instructors. We are going to consolidate all the various instructor courses into one. Just like we advise to grow noncommissioned officers based on experience and education, same goes for our instructors.”

Davenport also trumpeted the release of three applications to help guide Soldiers through PME ­─ Army Career Tracker, the Digital Job Book and the Digital Rucksack.

Davenport encouraged NCOs to take a look at Army Career Tracker online, a leadership development tool that integrates training and education on one website. Career maps have been updated and follow the five lines of effort ─ military life cycle, education, assignment/experience, credentialing/experience and self-development. Lines of effort link multiple tasks and missions to focus efforts toward establishing operational and strategic conditions.

Davenport praised the Digital Job Book app for its ease of use.

“What is really important about it is [it] allows organizations ─ commanders and sergeants major ─ to add up to 10 tasks that are specific to your organization so that you can battle track it,” he said.

The highly touted Digital Rucksack app will work with tablets and smartphones Soldiers bring into classrooms, Davenport said.

“Our Soldiers scan a QR code, and it puts all the material that they are going to need for the PME,” he said. “We think [the apps] are really going to help us connect Soldiers and organizations to leader development.”

Retired Gen. Carter Ham, president and chief executive officer of AUSA, thanked noncommissioned officers during the forum for their continued and sustained leadership and acknowledged their vital role in the Army.

“Sergeants major are what makes the United States Army the strong power that it is,” Ham told senior NCOs. “We should never lose sight of that, and the investment in you, the investment in those Soldiers who aspire to be noncommissioned officers, we owe them the best possible development that we can afford them. So that when they follow you to lead this Army, they will build on all you have achieved to keep the United States Army as the premier land force on this planet. That is only possible because of the people in this room.”

‘Experto Crede:’ Designing the new Army Instructor Badge

Previously in NCO Journal:
— Army Instructor Badges a key step to professionalize NCOES instructors

Institute for NCO Professional Development

Transforming NCOs’ professional development will come about by improving strategies for delivering educational content and leveraging the Army Learning Model. This transformation is a vigorous, evolutionary strategy that drives the Army to re-examine itself on a frequent basis. The U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Institute for NCO Professional Development intends to use this strategy to evolve the current NCO Education System into the NCO Professional Development System of the future.

NCOs’ feedback was captured in the NCO 2020 Survey Analysis, published in March, which indicated the importance of motivating our NCOs through professional development. INCOPD’s staff and other researchers believe that professional development should include learning opportunities that provide instructors with new skills, competencies and a “can-do” attitude to improve the NCOES. Master Sgt. Dan Mueller exemplifies this vision of NCO development through his design concept for the new Army Instructor Badge.

From 2012 to early 2013, Gary Rauchfuss, then the chief of INCOPD’s Learning Innovations & Initiatives Division; Command Sgt. Maj. Wesley Weygandt, then the deputy commandant of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy; and Master Sgt. Lawrence S. Payne, then the program manager of INCOPD’s Instructor Development and Recognition Program, worked with Mueller to design the Army Instructor Badge. Mueller, who knew it would be important for instructors to wear a badge that they would feel proud to wear, wanted to create a design that would capture the essence of what it meant to be a professional mentor, trainer and educator.

Mueller’s design concept for the instructor badge ties together military history and his background in the Army, where standards, consistency and professional development are crucial for Soldiers to progress and become experts in their field. Mueller said he was “inspired by heraldic symbols tied to education, like the owl’s quill, the torch of knowledge and the laurel wreath.” He worked closely with INCOPD to create a well-thought-out design “that would in some way encompass the countless hours, dedication and commitment of cadre to the Army’s NCOES.” His creativity led to the design of the three badges for the Basic, Senior and Master levels.

The three badges symbolize knowledge, leadership and commitment, Mueller said. A ring of 13 stars represents the original 13 colonies and the critical role that instructors play in building the new Army. The torch signifies a zeal for training and education and a commitment to lifelong learning. The concentric rings radiating from the flame of the torch symbolize the instructor’s role in the three training domains: institutional, operational and self-development. All three Army cohorts are represented through the NCO’s halberd, the officer’s sword and the owl’s quill, which represents civilian instructors. The open book symbolizes wisdom attained through training and education, and “Experto Crede,” means “Believe the one who has had experience in the matter” in Latin. The uppermost star in the senior and master level badges is a compass rose, which is also referred to as a leadership star. The Master level badge has a laurel wreath edge, which represents accomplishment.

Instructors are inherently motivated and are most impacted by the act of accomplishment and the acknowledgment of their fellow NCOs and leaders through encouragement and recognition. Through the work of Master Sgt. Mueller, Master Sgt. Payne, Command Sgt. Maj. Weygandt and Dr. Rauchfuss, INCOPD is able to continue to support the Army’s NCO academy instructors as they build their professional competencies, which will in turn support implementation of the Army Learning Model as a part of NCO professional development.

Master Sgt. Elsi A. Inoa-Santos is a senior military research analyst and Instructor Development and Recognition Program manager at the Institute for Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Eustis, Va.

New Army Instructor Badges a key step to professionalize NCOES instructors

NCO Journal

The U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Institute for NCO Professional Development (INCOPD) knows the Army will lean heavily on noncommissioned officers to train, lead and mentor tomorrow’s Soldiers as part of NCO 2020, the leader development strategy that was initiated last year.

To help recognize the professionalism of its NCO educators, the Army will begin awarding Army Instructor Badges this summer to bolster the standing of the NCO instructors who teach the courses in the Noncommissioned Officer Education System, said Dr. Liston Bailey, Chief of the INCOPD Learning Innovations and Initiatives Division.

The badge — which will be awarded in Basic, Senior and Master levels — is the culmination of a nearly three-year process that seeks to professionalize Army instructors and enhance their standing, Bailey said.

“A lot of times today an assignment as an instructor is viewed as not adding to a Soldier’s career enhancement,” Bailey said. “It’s not as highly regarded as, say, a drill sergeant, detachment chief, or some other kinds of assignments that are out there for NCOs. So we want to change those perceptions.”

The path to being awarded the badge is stringent, Bailey said. NCOs must be counseled into the instructor development program by their NCO academy commandant and meet TRADOC’s baseline instructor evaluation and certification requirements. Time on the podium is then accrued for each level.  For example, a Soldier vying for the Basic Army Instructor Badge must serve 80 hours as a primary instructor. In addition, Soldiers are evaluated twice as part of the application process. The evaluations, which must be 30 days apart, are based on a new instructor observation rubric.

Upon successful completion of all requirements, the PSB or orders issuing authority at the Soldier’s respective NCO academy can award the badge. NCO Academy commandants are responsible for reviewing Soldier’s award application packets for the instructor badges prior to submission.

“Instructors have always been there to train, educate and develop subordinates,” Bailey said. “NCOs continue to care for the Soldiers, maintain standards and lead. But what this program does is provide additional credibility for instructors at the noncommissioned officer academies and within NCOES. The Instructor development program that INCOPD has created will not change the nature of their duties. However, it will give them additional tools, tactics and procedures, so that they become more effective in the classroom. The instructor development program will also support classroom facilitator competencies that are in line with the Army Learning Model.

In another change, serving as an instructor will also earn junior NCOs promotion points. Soldiers competing for advancement to sergeant and staff sergeant positions can earn 15 promotion points by serving in instructor roles.

The new promotion-points policy gives junior Soldiers an incentive for serving as an educator and supports the NCO Professional Development System by exposing the Army’s future leaders to adult learning principles, learning methods and strategies, Bailey said. The expertise Soldiers acquire as instructors will give unit commanders key assets with regard to training and education.

“NCOPDS will be a holistic NCO development model for 2020,” Bailey said. “So you’ll get instructors who are trained, have advanced facilitator skills, and who understand adult learning principles. Once they complete their tour at an NCOA, they can go back to the unit and they’ve got this badge. So that says to the commander, ‘Hey, I’ve got a resource now. I’ve got an NCO who has these skills and attributes, and I can leverage that talent within my team or unit in the future.’”

Bailey added that the notion that the Army Instructor Badge is an offshoot of the SHARP program is a misconception. “We never conceived this badge to be a part of SHARP in any way,” Bailey said. “As part of our training we talk about professional credibility. We talk about ethics and professional standards as far as being an instructor and leading Soldiers within in the classroom. So from that angle, yes, we try to emphasize ethics and military bearing.”

He also said criticism that the badge is an unnecessary decoration or that it is part of an overabundance of badges, tabs and pins is erroneous and unwarranted.  “It’s about more than just issuing badges to instructors,” Bailey said. “It’s about developing competencies as far as being able to effectively facilitate Soldier learning, and training in the classroom. The people who say those kinds of things are short-sighted or they don’t have enough information. What we’re trying to do is to improve and move NCOES into the future.”

The Army Instructor Badge is expected to be in Army clothing sales stores by June. NCOs with questions about the badge are encouraged to consult TRADOC Regulation 600-21 or contact INCOPD. But, Bailey says, NCO academy commandants may be the best resource for Soldiers.

“NCO academy commandants will get on a quarterly basis the most current information about this program,” Bailey said. “The way we envision this program, is as a commandant-centric program that should be used to develop their NCO instructors and to improve what’s happening at the NCO academies.”

 Closer look: Army Instructor Badge requirements

The three levels of the Army Instructor Badge authorized for award are the Basic Army Instructor Badge (BAIB), Senior Army Instructor Badge (SAIB) and the Master Army Instructor Badge (MAIB). Soldiers who are assigned to a noncommissioned officer academy and serve in an instructor position after June 7, 2013, are eligible to be awarded the AIB. Requirements for each badge are as follows:

  • BAIB — Soldiers must meet the instructor requirements outlined in AR 614-200. They must complete the requirements of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command regulation 600-21. They also must complete 80 hours of instruction as a primary instructor and must meet evaluation requirements after two separate evaluations 30 days apart.
  • SAIB — Soldiers must meet the instructor requirements outlined in AR 614-200. They must complete the requirements of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command regulation 600-21 and complete the following prerequisites — the small group instructor training course/intermediate facilitation skills course and the systems approach to training basic course/foundation training developer course. They also must complete 400 hours of instruction as a primary instructor after being awarded the BAIB and must meet evaluation requirements after two separate evaluations 30 days apart.
  • MAIB — Soldiers must meet the instructor requirements outlined in AR 614-200. They must complete the requirements of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command regulation 600-21 and complete all courses required for the SAIB along with the following prerequisites — advanced facilitator skills course or the faculty development program-1 and the evaluating instructors workshop. They also must complete 400 hours of instruction as a primary instructor after being awarded the SAIB and must meet evaluation requirements and master instructor board requirements outlined in TRADOC regulation 600-21.

The Army Instructor Badges are awarded promotion points as follows:

  • Basic Army Instructor Badge: 15 points
  • Senior Army Instructor Badge: 15 points
  • Master Army Instructor Badge: 20 points

Promotion points are not cumulative for the AIB. Award of a higher level AIB will increase a promotion score by the difference between the badges. There is no difference in promotion points between the BAIB and SAIB. For example, a Soldier who earns the MAIB will earn 20 promotion points, not 50 (BAIB, 15 + SAIB, 15 + MAIB, 20 = 20 points.)

INCOPD needs input for “NCO 2020” survey

NCO JournalNCO 2020b

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.