Back to basics program can strengthen NCO Corps

| September 11, 2012 | 0 Comments

Sgt. Maj. David Galati
18th Medical Command (Deployment Support)
Clinical Operations Sergeant Major



There has been a big push to go back to the basics, and it seems to me that this term has been thrown around a lot.

My belief is that going back to the basics means that we, as an Noncommissioned Officer Corps, need to go back to our core competencies.

This brings me to the NCO vision stated in Figure 3-1 in Field Manual 6-22, Army Leadership, which reads as follows:

“An NCO corps, grounded in heritage, values, and tradition that embodies the Warrior Ethos; values perpetual learning; and is capable of leading, training, and motivating Soldiers.

We must always be an NCO Corps that: Leads by example; Trains from experience; Maintains and enforces standards; Takes care of Soldiers and Adapts to changing world.”

The U.S. has been at war for more than 10 years, and our Soldiers have proven themselves in combat repeatedly by completing multiple deployments.

Many Soldiers in our force today came into the service during this period, and they have become proficient with their combats skills. However, other essential skills have been forced to take a backseat due to the priorities of fighting a war.

The skills I am talking about are our garrison skills, such as counseling, writing awards, NCOERs, and drill and ceremonies, just to name a few. This is not to say that we, as an NCO Corps, have failed; it is to say that we as an Army have changed our priorities and have changed from a deployed force to more garrison activities.

As with all things, there is a change, and, as a professional, you are expected to change along with the organization you belong to or start looking for a new occupation.

The Army has continued to evolve since I joined the service in 1989, and it will continue to change after I leave. After 10 years of war, the NCO Corps has proven itself to be battle tested. However, we as an NCO Corps must be ready to accept another challenge that has been dealt us and change along with it. This means we need to continue to have our Soldiers prepared to be successful in whatever environment they might find themselves, such as the garrison environment.

At the 18th Medical Command, we have started our campaign to regain those forgotten, but not lost, core competencies. Our Soldiers are actively involved in the teaching opportunities presented in our daily operations. As leaders, we have them develop, research and instruct their own classes. These activities allow Soldiers to become subject matter experts on subjects such as history and symbolism of the NCO induction ceremony, how to properly resource and run a range, and how to march a squad and company-size elements.

Marching is an essential skill that Soldiers need to perform well, but a skill that is lacking in many of our mid-grade and junior Soldiers. To reinforce those skills and get back to the basics, we place junior NCOs in charge of leading troops during physical training sessions. These junior NCOs are assigned mentors who provide feedback through an after-action review or on-the-spot correction. This is just one step in a comprehensive program to develop our Soldiers.

We have just begun to scratch the surface of what needs to be done to get our NCO Corps back on track; however, it has to begin by getting our Soldiers to have buy-in what we are trying to accomplish and why.

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Category: Leadership, News, Standing Columns

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