Pro­gram to boost se­nior non­coms' skills

The Progress-Index - - MILITARY LIFE - By Jim Gara­mone DoD News, De­fense Me­dia Ac­tiv­ity

WASHINGTON — Cred­i­bil­ity, un­der­stand­ing, re­la­tion­ships and ex­po­sure are the four foun­da­tions needed to build joint lead­ers, and the Joint Staff is look­ing at a pro­gram to build joint se­nior en­listed lead­ers.

“The U.S. mil­i­tary ex­cels at build­ing [non­com­mis­sioned officers] that can take mis­sion com­mand and ex­tend the com­man­der’s reach,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Shane Pil­grim, the Joint Staff’s Chief of Joint En­listed Leader De­vel­op­ment. “We are an of­fi­cer led, NCO-driven or­ga­ni­za­tion.”

Build­ing the lethal­ity that De­fense Sec­re­tary James N. Mat­tis wants in the mil­i­tary re­quires a more-ed­u­cated NCO, able to han­dle the in­tri­ca­cies of a tech­no­log­i­cally and po­lit­i­cally com­plex world, Pil­grim said. He has been work­ing closely with Army Com­mand Sgt. Maj. John W. Trox­ell, the se­nior en­listed ad­viser to the chair­man of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

One of only a few hun­dred en­listed per­son­nel on the Joint Staff, Pil­grim is bas­ing the pro­gram on an Army of­fi­cer in­tern­ship pro­gram. In that pro­gram, post-com­pany-com­mand cap­tains come to Washington to study for a year at Ge­orge­town Univer­sity, then serve a year on the Joint Staff, fol­lowed by a year in

broad­en­ing as­sign­ments in other ar­eas.

The pro­gram – with about 10 en­trants per year – would also be small enough to tai­lor courses to in­di­vid­ual de­vel­op­men­tal needs, the chief said. The course will be open to se­nior NCOs, and it will build on pre­vi­ous ed­u­ca­tion and ex­pe­ri­ences.

Key to the pro­gram will be ex­changes with the State Depart­ment, the FBI, the Depart­ment of Home­land Se­cu­rity, the U.S. Agency for In­ter­na­tional De­vel­op­ment (USAID) and oth­ers. This would give the NCOs the ex­po­sure “out­side their tribe,” Pil­grim said.

The pro­gram falls into the con­tin­uum of NCO Joint Pro­fes­sional Mil­i­tary Ed­u­ca­tion, Pil­grim said. He en­vi­sions that the ser­vice se­nior en­listed lead­ers will choose can­di­dates for the pro­gram and that the se­nior en­listed ad­viser to the chair­man will make the fi­nal se­lec­tions.

The chief said the ser­vices have bought into the pro­gram, and the State Depart­ment and USAID are very in­ter­ested in hav­ing the se­nior en­listed per­spec­tive.

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