Chief Master Sgts. Brent Sheehan the commandant of the Air Force Senior NCO Academy and Michael Wester, the director of Air University’s Chief Master Sergeant Leadership Course visited the NCO Leadership Center of Excellence at the invitation of Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Sellers, the commandant of the NCOLCoE, February 19.
Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Sellers speaks about the importance of the visit.
“This visit gave us the ability to talk to them about how they are progressing in their NCO Professional Development System,” he said. “It also allowed us to share lessons we learned as we were developing and educating our NCOs.”
“Most importantly,” he added. “This visit helped us tie in together how we want to continue moving forward on providing joint services.”
The NCOLCoE and Air Force have joined together in providing senior enlisted education to the sergeants first class community either through the Army Master Leader Course or the Air Force Advanced Leadership Experience through the Air Force Senior NCO Academy at Hunter-Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery, Alabama.
“A part of our interoperability communication and our memorandum of understanding, the AFSNCOA authorized 30 slots a year for the Army to fill for the AFALE,” Sellers said. “To date, 22 NCOs graduated the AFALE and received their MLC course credit.”
Sellers added, “upon completion of the MLC or the AFALE NCOs are then eligible to be enrolled into the Distributed Leaders Course V.”
Besides solidifying a partnership with the Air Force, the NCOLCoE sponsored the visit to assist the chiefs in gaining a better understanding of how the Army delivers NCO Professional Military Education, the life-cycle for enlisted development, and to learn the institution’s best practices.
“There are a lot of value-added practices we see from the Army,” Sheehan said. “By being here and cross-talking, I can glean from someone who already started the path we are moving towards.”
While visiting the NCOLCoE, the chiefs received a brief from the institution’s main directorates to include: Policy and Governance, Curriculum Development, NCO Professional Development, and the Sergeants Major Academy.
Tony Battle, the director of Policy and Governance, explained the analysis, design, and implementation for the educational and training curriculum across the NCO Corps.
“The NCOLCoE’s mantra,” Battle stated, “is to collaborate, communicate, and coordinate, and it works,” he said. “There is a shared understanding across all the directorates and the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command,” he said.
Battle also informed the chiefs, when the commandant flattened the organization it helped rid the institution of the communication challenges, and promoted growth and open communication in driving the mission of NCO PME.
Wester then spoke to the group on the opportunities and challenges NCO PME presents.
“The challenge occurs when you have not developed your NCOs enough, and they cannot take advantage of those opportunities, Wester said. “We are looking for opportunities to develop our NCOs and eliminate the challenges,”
Battle agreed with Wester on the importance of creating more development opportunities and spoke about the NCOLCoE Fellowship program, which not only benefits the Sergeants Major Academy by producing highly qualified and highly educated instructors, it is also doubles as a broadening experience for sergeants major.
“Yes, you want to have a well-trained and educated force, as much as possible,” Battle said. “The fellowship program not only benefits our NCO Corps, by producing highly qualified and highly educated instructors, it also doubles as a broadening experience for sergeants major while creating opportunities for them to excel in their careers.”
The chiefs also learned of the different outcomes and educational opportunities provided throughout each level of NCO PME.
William “Bill” Ogletree, the director of Curriculum Development, explained to the group how the directorate sets the standard for designing and developing world-class enlisted common core curriculum.
“The NCOLCoE Directorate of Curriculum Development is committed to creating and sustaining professional, learner-centric products that link NCO education with Soldiers’ experiences,” he said.
Ogletree added, “all of our products focus on the six NCO Common Core Competencies of Leadership, Readiness, Training Management, Operations, Communications, and Program Management.”
The NCOLCoE has closed the gap in NCO PME by creating an educational system that is progressive and sequential with lesson content that is relevant to today’s operational environment.
“This visit has been incredibly valuable,” Sheehan said. “We are all trying to get after the same objectives in improving our NCOs’ professional development opportunities.”
Wester added, “Working together and joining forces will help us advance our capabilities. Our National Defense Strategy is the foundation of which we set our priorities and align our resources. This visit has allowed us to align our resources with another branch of the military.”
This joint opportunity afforded the NCOLCoE and the Air Force to share best practices to see how our directorates work together, and most importantly having both military branches working together by continuing to drive change for enlisted leader development.