Building a Better Army 

One thing some soldiers may not fully understand yet is that transformation involves more than two brigades up at Fort Lewis - it's about the future and what kind of Army we'll have for decades to come. We will continue to man, modernize and train our current forces throughout the transformation.... We will continue to need sharp, quick-thinking leaders. The variety of missions and volume of information they'll be given will place a lot of responsibility on them.

Transformation could cause as many changes in training and developing leaders in our schools as tactics and equipment. The result will be a future that lets us put more powerful forces on the ground faster and that will save a lot of lives. These are interesting times and sergeants need to stay open minded, keep updated on transformation and be thinking about how it will impact the NCO Corps.

SMA Jack L. Tilley



There are three things that have to happen in the Army. You’ve certainly got to maintain near-term readiness. You’ve got to modernize for the future. And, you’ve got to maintain quality of life. The Army is balancing three glass balls- quality of life, readiness, and modernization- all of which carry equal weight.

SMA Robert E. Hall



Secretary of Defense William Perry said that there are two types of change, change that happens to us and changes we make happen. I’d say that the changing environment in which we operate is change that has happened to us, as an Army. And, change isn’t all bad because it provides us opportunities which allow for that second type of change- the change we make happen. Either way, we must seize the opportunities that are created by change.

SMA Gene C. McKinney



Six fundamental imperatives, which continue to mold the Army are: maintain a quality force; maintain a solid war-fighting doctrine; maintain the mix of armored, light, and special operations forces required by national strategy; conduct tough, realistic training; continuously modernize to improve war-fighting capabilities; and develop competent, confident leaders. Seek to be part of the solution, not the problem. NCOs are in the best position to identify and implement improvements at the soldier level. It goes without saying that I am obliged to base my recommendations to the Army leadership on my knowledge of rules and regulations. However, I exist in order to sense when this rule or that rule is in need of change.

NCOs are so important because they are the recruiters, the first trainers, the first-line leaders, the ones responsible for the equipment and the training of the soldiers on that equipment. NCOs and soldiers will be invaluable in enhancing the Army of the future. The opportunity for them is to test concepts, to buy things right off the shelf, to test them and to try to get them into the force quickly to improve our capabilities. Feedback from soldiers helps us truly evaluate a piece of equipment and get changes into the system quickly. The key for the noncommissioned officers will be to watch over their soldiers, allow them to use new technologies, and really capture the feedback.

SMA Richard A. Kidd



“Doers” are the true experts of the Army; if something does not work like the user manual claims it should, or if there is a better way to do it, then the NCO Corps should change the book. We cannot be satisfied with just changing the way of doing something in our units, but must ensure that the idea is standardized throughout the Army. Some of our new equipment is that much more advanced over what we used before. Most of us expect the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) schools or new equipment training teams to train new soldiers and their leaders in maintenance and the use of equipment- and they do, but this is an enormous mission and without the NCO Corps’ involvement, it will not be completed.

SMA Glen E. Morrell



The six challenges we faced to insure the readiness of the Army in the 1980s were to train our soldiers to tough, measurable standards; standardize how we train; good plans; train smart and share the load; focus on what is important; and train and coach subordinates.

SMA William A. Connelly



Good NCOs are never satisfied with the status quo.

SMA Leon L. Van Autreve



Challenges demand vigorous action and dedication by our NCO Corps. Don’t be afraid of change. Move smartly with the times as long as military order and discipline are not jeopardized. I ask everyone at every level to be excited and challenged by the changes and to let me know what ideas they have to suggest that will help all of us working together to build a better, more professional Army. The accomplishment of these tasks rests at our Army’s “grass roots.” My main job is getting out to the field to talk with you, the soldier. Not just to talk, but observe you at work and off-duty. To inform myself about your welfare, your views, and to learn what you and I, working together, can do to help build a better Army. It will take the hearts, hands, and heads of every soldier to build a better Army.

SMA Silas L. Copeland



These are challenging tasks when the Army is at 100 percent of its authorized strength, but it would become imaginably difficult if we were not able to retain the kind of leaders our Army requires.

SMA Jack L Tilley