NCO & Soldier Programs

NCO & Soldier Programs


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A Legacy of Writing

The United States Army's Sergeants Major Academy has graduated 27,206 students in its prestigious 22-year history. Two of those graduates later became the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Graduates of the Sergeants Major Academy have collectively accumulated over 500,000 years of leadership experience. But what happens to all that knowledge and experience when a sergeant major retires?

The answer might surprise you.

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The Four Pillars of Tactical Innovation: A Path for Impactful Disruption

Innovation is the lifeblood of progress, and in the context of the military, it is a crucial component of keeping pace with today’s rapid technological evolution. The multifaceted challenge of innovation—which requires understanding emerging threats, leveraging cutting-edge technology, and overturning established paradigms within tactical doctrine—is not merely pivotal; it is a strategic imperative.

Tactical innovation, a subset of the broader military innovation ecosystem, must be driven by the on-the-ground practitioner and is based on four key pillars: ground-up ideation, rapid prototyping, deliberate fusion of technology and tactics, and the emergence of novel concepts.

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Take the Training Wheels Off Your CPX: The Benefits of a Free-Thinking, Free-to-Win, and Equal-Sized OPFOR

In June 2023, the 3rd Battalion, 161st Infantry Regiment (Dark Rifles) conducted “Rifle Wrath,” a command post exercise (CPX) against a battalion-sized opposing force (OPFOR) that was free thinking and free to win with its own command structure. It was by far the best CPX I’ve participated in, and I’ll never go back to the old way with an OPFOR that obeys nice and tidy force ratios and is kept on a leash by the exercise control (EXCON) cell.

CPXs should train staffs to overcome chaos, make decisions faster than the enemy, and employ better tactics; overall, they should be contests of wills where either side can win. The Dark Rifles chose to “take the training wheels off,” and we will perform even better during our next CPX.

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Published Wednesdays, Soldier Today focuses on trending topics in the Army and professional development for today’s NCO.