Year of the NCO: A call to enhance, recognize and inform
March 18, 2009
For those of us who remember the first Year of the NCO celebration in 1989, it was a time to reflect, with an eye toward enhancing the Noncommissioned Officer Corps.
The major result of that year was the NCO Leader Development Action Plan.
The LDAP resulted in major changes in the NCO Education System and linked NCO evaluations to promotions. Another innovation, the concept of Skills, Knowledge and Abilities, gave rise to "Be-Know-Do," the foundational leadership theory for the new Field Manual 22-100 Leadership Manual.
As we observe this second Year of the NCO, 20 years later, I would like to remind all of the Army that this is not an observance for the NCOs in the Army, but rather an observance of the NCOs in the Army.
This year's announcement by Secretary of the Army Pete Geren, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey Jr., and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston is of a year of focus on the backbone of the U.S. Army, "The Strength of the Nation." The goals for the Year of the NCO are to enhance our NCOs' education with programs such as the College of the American Soldier and Warrior University; fitness, including master fitness training and mental health courses; leadership development including an NCO Leadership Skills inventory; pride in service through the implementation of programs and policies that support the sustainment and growth of our NCO corps; and to recognize the leadership, professionalism, commitment, courage and dedication of the NCO corps.
Another objective is to inform and educate Congress, government institutions and the American people of the roles, responsibilities and quality service of our NCO corps. Our NCO corps is a national treasure.
NCOs, I encourage you to consider the legacy we establish as we develop the young NCOs of the future. Remember the legacy of the NCOs who mentored, trained and molded us into the NCOs we are today.
Make recommendations to your chain of command and chain of concern to improve the NCOs we have today, and to prepare for the NCO corps of the future.
For those who are not NCOs, allow me to invite you to learn more about this corps of NCOs, the most effective NCO corps of any nation. Stay alert for functions that highlight NCO accomplishments and that tell the NCO story.
Roper is the Senior Enlisted Advisor at the National Security Agency.