Army plans changes to NCO education USASMA Class 68 learns about NCO 2020 Strategy document

Sgt. Maj. Brian Lindsey, sergeant major, Institute for Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development, speaks about the NCO 2020 Strategy to Sergeants Major Course Class 68 students at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy here Dec. 5. Photos by David Crozier, USASMA Command Communications.

Sgt. Maj. Brian Lindsey, sergeant major, Institute for Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development, speaks about the NCO 2020 Strategy to Sergeants Major Course Class 68 students at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy here Dec. 5. Photos by David Crozier, USASMA Command Communications.

By David Crozier, USASMA Command Communications:

(El Paso, Texas. Dec. 14, 2017)

Noncommissioned officer education is about to change, said Sgt. Maj. Brian Lindsey, sergeant major, Institute for Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development, to Sergeants Major Course Class 68 students at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy here Dec. 5.

The changes come in the form of the NCO 2020 Strategy – a document all NCOs should read carefully.

“You all in this class are going to be the stakeholders (of this change) and you are the ones who are going to get the word out to the force,” Lindsey said. “Some change is good and we need to do some changing … We haven’t revamped NCO education since 1973.”

Lindsey asked the class to see the changes through the lens of a Soldier who is just entering the Army. He provided an overview of INCOPD and its responsibilities in the development of the NCO 2020 Strategy and then asked the students how many have read the document.

“If you are just learning about it here, you and your Soldiers are behind the power curve,” he said. “We have to get this information out to the force and you have to enforce and reinforce it because it is coming no matter how bad you want to hold it up. It’s coming and you need to make sure you are all in.”

The NCO 2020 Strategy, he said, is only 13 pages long and is easy to read. The document outlines three lines of effort for the Army – development, talent management and stewardship of the profession. Under “development,” the main objectives are S.T.E.P. (Select, Train, Educate, Promote), NCO PME (Professional Military Education), Credentialing and Validate. Under “talent management,” the main objectives are broadening, operational and PDM (Career Map). The main objectives under “stewardship of the profession” are doctrine, self-development, 2020 Year of the NCO and character development.

“You need to get on board and read the 13 pages and make sure you are familiar with what you are going to be enforcing real soon,” Lindsey said, turning his attention to Leader Core Competencies. Leaders are placing LCCs into all phases of PME, particularly in the advanced and senior leader courses, because the courses are technically heavy. “We are not teaching a Soldier how to be a leader in these courses. We are not teaching them anything about being a leader.”

The Leader Core Competencies focus on six areas – communications, leadership, program management, operations, training management and readiness. Along with the LCCs, the Army is introducing Distributive Learning Courses, which are replacing the Structured Self Development. The DLC courses will be a part of the progressive and sequential learning model and will include the NCO Writing Program.

“Inside of your DLC there will be a requirement for a reflection paper … then you will have a paper to write when you get to your BLC which will become a part of your GPA,” Lindsey said. “This will become part of the norm as you progress (through NCOPDS) by the time you get to the Sergeants Major Course. We are going to start (Soldiers writing) early and it is going to be progressive and sequential. As you go up, the papers get longer and harder.”

Lindsey explained that being able to develop written communications skills will help support the Soldier and team performance in support of mission readiness.

As part of the NCO 2020 Strategy, USASMA is currently revamping the DLC courses with the updated DLC I expected to hit the streets by June 2018 with DLC II in August. Levels III through VI will follow sequentially in three-to-four-month increments. The Basic Leader Course is also undergoing redesign and is currently in validation with a goal of delivering the course Army-wide by June 2018. The Master Leader Course is expected to be a part of S.T.E.P. by October 2018 and a nonresident course expected to come online on or about May 2018.

To learn more about the NCO 2020 Strategy read the document at http://www.tradoc.army.mil/FrontPageContent/Docs/NCO2020.pdf.