Discipline is the key to developing future leaders

| October 11, 2013 | 0 Comments


Command Sgt. Major John Letriz
3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion
3rd Brigade Combat Team
25th Infantry Division

When I joined the Army, we, as a nation, prepared for any and all potential attacks, but we knew who our enemies were.

Our threat was a nation, not an idea or a global terrorist threat.

It was because of this fierce capability that we were respected, admired and maintained global superpower status.

Our Soldiers were disciplined, focused, trained and ready to deploy. We proved this during multiple operations: Operation Just Cause in Panama,1989; Gulf War in Kuwait, 1991; and Operation Gothic Serpent in Somalia, 1993.

We have seen our junior leaders transition into effective personnel managers and trainers. Basic noncommissioned officer courses teach sergeants and staff sergeants further development strategies and provide effective leadership tools. Our senior NCOs are provided valuable instruction through a plethora of topics and areas in order to train our senior leadership to be agile and adaptive. This method enables our military to be seen, worldwide, as having the most capable NCO Corps, one that is strongly emulated and sought after for guidance in developing other nations’ NCOs.

The Army has seen a loss of garrison functions that were essential to troop development, training, preparation and Soldier welfare without neglecting families. We have come to rely on technology; however, we have lost the person-to-person factor. That is a basic need we must return to.

We rely on computers for weight control, Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT) scores, marksmanship and counseling and neglect to accomplish the same tasks when computers become unavailable. We need to return to the level of Soldier control and Soldier maintenance.

Another basic necessity we need to return to is the weekly Sergeant’s Time Training. This weekly function allowed NCO leaders at all levels to gain experience as instructors, planners and coordinators.

We must return to the basics of monthly counseling, with closeouts, appropriate corrective training and rehabilitation, and then revert to the Uniform Code of Military Justice if all that fails.

The Army isn’t for everyone. As leaders, it’s our duty to determine those who have a future in today’s Army and those who do not. Soldier behavior has resulted in inordinate amounts of drug usage, APFT failures, failure to qualify with weapons and off-duty misconduct, such as impaired driving, domestic violence and financial indebtedness.

A key factor that can assist us in attaining control is discipline. Discipline is not abusing, hazing, neglecting, yelling or cursing. Disciplining Soldiers is holding them accountable for their actions.

Back to basics incorporates leaders knowing the 11 principles and 14 traits of leadership, and the basic systems that enable us to maintain our adaptability and agility, regardless of our next mission.

We are warriors and professionals in our trade as Soldiers. We are a disciplined and uniformed organization sworn to protect our democracy and deter war. We cannot do this if we cannot discipline our Soldiers.

Discipline is tkey to enabling us to think, act, look and feel like Soldiers first, last and always. We must embrace the Army and with our own culture. We protect our nation as professionals.

We can only accomplish all this if we return to the basics.

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Category: News, Standing Columns

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