SMA: Disciplined, Cohesive Teams are Army’s ‘Bedrock’

SMA: Disciplined, Cohesive Teams are Army’s ‘Bedrock’

large group of soldiers listening to leader
Photo by: U.S. Army/Sgt. Joshua Oh

Instilling discipline among soldiers requires personal drive and standards that are clearly articulated by the Army, said Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Weimer.

Driving home this message, which he spelled out in a September letter to the force at the outset of his tenure as the Army’s senior enlisted soldier, Weimer emphasized the need to be “brilliant at the basics.” This includes mastering the Army’s core competencies as well as the tasks and skills of an MOS.

“The first thing we have to do … is clearly ensure that the standards are known and that there’s the least amount of ambiguity possible,” Weimer said in a recent conversation with Lt. Col. Joe Byerly on his “From the Green Notebook” podcast.

Weimer said he’s learned from soldiers as he travels around the Army that there is “confusion and ambiguity” about standards. He acknowledged that it’s hard to be the leader who shows up every day and is the model standard bearer, but he pointed out that if discipline isn’t instilled and there is “some gray space and some ambiguity,” young soldiers will slack off.

“That has nothing to do with this generation. It was that way in the 1990s and 1980s, too,” Weimer said. “The discipline comes from following the standards’ reps and sets over time. When you build personal discipline, it equals team cohesive discipline, it equals warfighting.”

Weimer said he’s been “really hard on this” because a squad is only as strong as its weakest link. That’s why he also pushes hard on the need to excel at the basics and be accountable, because teams will need to “handle the complex multidomain operations, near-peer adversaries and the complexity of large-scale combat operations,” he said. “That’s why I think it’s a bedrock.”

By instilling these fundamental tenets of cohesive teams, Weimer said, he is promoting Army Chief of Staff Gen. Randy George’s focus on strengthening the Army profession. “It’s all connected,” he said.