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Senior NCOs Discuss Training, Education

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U.S. Army
Monday, April 09, 2018

Professional education, training with allies and advice on career progression were some issues discussed by a group of senior NCOs whose collective Army careers span close to 150 years.

The NCO panel discussion at the Association of the U.S. Army’s recent Global Force Symposium and Exposition in Huntsville, Ala., focused on training, educating and developing soldiers for today and the future. The discussion was moderated by retired Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston, AUSA’s vice president for NCO and Soldier Programs.

Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, Kan., Command Sgt. Maj. David O. Turnbull outlined some of the initiatives underway in NCO training and education, such as the elimination of multiple-choice questions in testing environments in favor of written answers. Seen as a more relevant method of testing, the written portion would be more likely to meet the requirements of regional higher education accreditation bodies.

From the Basic Leaders Course to the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy—where the new content will begin with next year’s class, Turnbull said—the content will have “more practical application and focus heavily on leader core competencies.”

“It is part of the effort to increase the number of college credits that our soldiers receive in our education. We’re not building the course just to give them college credit, but if college credit is deserved and warranted, that’s what we’ll work toward. To do that, we have to take certain steps and one of those steps is taking out the multiple-choice questions all the way across the board,” Turnbull said.

In addition to Turnbull, panel participants included retired Command Sgt. Maj. John Sparks; AUSA senior fellow and retired Command Sgt. Maj. Daniel Elder; and retired 1st Sgt. Stephen Canonico of AUSA’s Retired Soldiers, Veterans and Army Civilian Affairs Programs.

Watch the video of the March 27 panel discussion here.