USASMA undergoes accreditation – gets an operational selfie

Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy J. Sellers, center, commandant, U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, asks a question at the academy Oct. 17 during an accreditation inspection. The accreditation team from Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Eustis, Va., and the Combined Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., descended upon the USASMA Oct. 16 through 20 for a three-part inspection – accreditation, initial command inspections and SHARP inspection. Photo by David Crozier, USASMA Command Communications.

Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy J. Sellers, center, commandant, U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, asks a question at the academy Oct. 17 during an accreditation inspection. The accreditation team from Training and Doctrine Command, Fort Eustis, Va., and the Combined Arms Center, Fort Leavenworth, Kan., descended upon the USASMA Oct. 16 through 20 for a three-part inspection – accreditation, initial command inspections and SHARP inspection. Photo by David Crozier, USASMA Command Communications.

By David Crozier, USASMA Command Communications:

(El Paso, Texas, Nov 2. 2017)

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy welcomed the Training and Doctrine Command and Combined Arms Center inspection team for a three-part inspection Oct. 16 through 20.

The team came to USASMA to complete its triennial accreditation of the academy, as well as conduct an initial command inspection, part of the organizational inspection program, and sexual harassment and assault program, equal employment opportunity/equal opportunity program inspections. A separate team also inspected the Fort Bliss Noncommissioned Officer Academy in the same areas.

This inspection “is all about helping you,” John Bennett, team lead from the TRADOC Quality Assurance Office, said. “Yes, it’s compliance. Yes, it’s accountability, but it is really about helping to improve the learning experience.”

Bennett provided an overview of the inspection and what USASMA officials could expect. The inspection he noted covered seven Army Enterprise Accreditation Standards – mission, purpose and functions; governance and administration; learning programs – analysis, design, development, implementation; institutional training and education mission management; assessment, evaluations and effectiveness; staff and faculty; and leader development. The team also explained the Initial Command Inspection and SHARP/EEO/EO inspection criteria.

After three days of inspections and focus groups, Bennett and his team provided an out brief to USASMA which was overwhelmingly positive.

“We are here to give you our initial impressions of our visit and I want to thank all of you for your openness and honesty during our time here,” Bennett said. “Keep in mind this is just our initial impressions. The purpose of this briefing is not to give you a rating, it’s just to give you initial impressions.”

Bennett said that overall the team did not see any major issues within any of the seven AEAS standards inspected. One inspector, retired Sgt. Maj. John Griffin, who was once on staff at USASMA and who led the inspection team for AEAS 3 – learning programs – analysis, design, development, implementation, lauded USASMA for their efforts.

“Three years ago to now there is dramatic change. Thank you for your hard work,” he said. “Thank you for making me proud to be a retired sergeant major. You’ve done monumental work (on improving NCOPDS).”

Other comments included lauding the academy’s Staff and Faculty Development Division, facilities program, climate and culture and safety reporting.

In the command inspection, the team especially lauded the work of the Human Resour-ces G1 team, the Learning Resources personnel, and the SHARP/EEO/EO programs.

“I enjoyed this week,” Bennett said. “It has been a pretty easy week for the evaluators.”

For the Organization Inspection program, Chris Rader, deputy director of Quality Assurance Office at TRADOC, thanked the academy for their preparation, open doors and availability to the inspectors.

Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy J. Sellers, commandant of USASMA, thanked the inspection team for their initial impressions and the USASMA team for their efforts.

“I didn’t have anything to do with this at all,” he said. “I think what this shows us is, we are who we think we are. It has been a great team effort across the board, but we still have some things to do to tighten up in a few areas.”

Reflecting on his time as commandant; being in place for only 90 days and undergoing a three-prong inspection, and then hearing the comments from the inspectors, Sellers said it shows USASMA has a solid team on board.

“It said to me that we have a great foundation to start from and that everyone was working on the same accord to ensure we continue to move the academy forward,” he said. “It allowed me to come into the position with things pretty comfortably set – a good battle rhythm was in place.”

Sellers said the accreditation team had relayed to him before the outbrief that they were impressed with what they saw and how well the organization understood the mission and individual roles within it.

“They had a pretty good perspective that we knew what we were doing,” Sellers said. “I think the academy is in great hands. Now we can clearly see ourselves; know exactly where we stand. Let’s maintain all of the great things we have accomplished, and get better in the areas where we need some improvements.”

The actual accreditation report won’t be available for three weeks or more, but Sellers noted a good feeling about what is yet to come. “I think the academy has a bright future and everybody is excited about the direction we are going and happy to be a part of the team.”

Additional photos are on Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/133821783@N02/albums.