Ukrainians look to model NCO education after U.S.
September 24, 2009
FORT SILL, Okla. (Army News Service, Sept. 24, 2009) -- Lessons learned at the Fires Center of Excellence will help the Ukrainian army develop its noncommissioned officers.
A delegation of Ukrainian army leaders visited the NCO Academy at Fort Sill Sept. 23 to learn how the U.S. Army trains its NCOs.
Ukrainian Maj. Gen. Viktor Shvets, chief of personnel department, explained the need for U.S. advice: "We're just at the beginning of this [training] system. We've got all of these positions. What are we supposed to do," said Shvets. He added, "We don't have 234 years," referring to the history of the U.S. Army NCO Corps.
Command Sgt. Maj. Dean Keveles, NCO Academy commandant, encouraged the delegation to focus on three areas: the command structure, the trust between an officer and noncommissioned officer, and the importance of continuing education. He used the Noncommissioned Officer Education System to explain how its self-development, operational and institutional domains work together to develop a Soldier's leadership potential.
"Invest in education. It will empower you and pay dividends in the future," Keveles said.
The Ukrainian military is aware of the challenge it faces, Shvets said.
"Right now, we have established a system of educational institutions to solve this [training] problem, but we drastically need this experience that you have in accomplishing this [training] mission," Shvets said.
He wants to use the U.S. Army Noncommissioned Officer Education System as a model for the Ukrainian army. The delegation was especially interested in how the Army employs both theoretical and practical exercises to prepare Soldiers.
Keveles used interactive simulations as an example of how Soldiers can learn from the consequences of their actions.
"NCOs are making life and death decisions by themselves on the battlefield," said Keveles.
The message wasn't lost on the Ukrainian delegation.
"I've seen highly educated people who are engaged in training NCOs who are real professionals at what they're doing," said Shvets. He also recognized the Soldiers at the Fires Center of Excellence as eager to be trained and ready to assume added responsibility.
"I think if a person has a desire to advance to get more training and education, and he or she has good instructors, it will work out, definitely," Shvets said.
The Noncommissioned Officer Education System isn't the only thing that caught the delegation's attention. Shvets praised the Fires Center of Excellence.
"Its territory, organization and structure are ready to be used for good work and education," Shvets said. He also spoke highly of the people who help Fort Sill accomplish its mission.
"I was really astonished by the welcome of our delegation because people are really willing to help us, Ukraine, create this NCO Corps."