Army Noncommissioned Officers set the example in 2009
A U.S. Soldier stands against the Afghan skyline after securing a combat outpost in Rajankala in Kandahar province, Afghanistan, Nov. 26, 2009.

<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/rdecom/4185486034/" title="Command Sergeant Major Hector G. Marin by RDECOM, on Flickr"><img src="http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2802/4185486034_a6f2a0180a_m.jpg" width="171" height="240" hspace="10" align="right" alt="Command Sergeant Major Hector G. Marin" /></a>As our year-long tribute to noncommissioned officers comes to a close, we must not allow this recognition to be isolated to 2009. We will continue to work to develop NCOs through education, fitness and leadership training.

As the Army transforms, it is more important than ever that NCOs are engaged beyond a tactical capacity but are empowered through education, training and development, to make critical decisions within the battlespace.

Modern warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan demands our Warfighters go out and look for the enemy within smaller units. Today's fight not only allows NCOs to serve as the "backbone" executors of the mission but requires them to serve as recognized leaders.

At Aberdeen Proving Ground, our NCOs serve as a critical link between research and real-world application. I believe this installation is the future of the Army. This is where science and research work with acquisition to provide the critical tools for the future success of our Army.

For example, during a recent visit to Fort Irwin's National Training Center in California's Mojave Desert and the Communication Electronic Research Development and Engineering Center at Fort Monmouth, N.J., RDECOM NCOs provided critical feedback toward the improvement of technology and spoke on behalf of Soldiers.

These training opportunities provide invaluable interaction between NCOs and Army scientists and engineers, as well as other government and industry defense developers, all in support of our Warfighters.

This year's recognition served to build awareness and public understanding of the multitude of roles and responsibilities that today's NCOs are asked to fill, as well as their continuous development to meet the changing demands placed on them.
One ongoing initiative, recently introduced, is the Army Career Tracker, which will serve as a tool for Soldiers and their leadership to track and monitor, career planning. The Army is also working towards modernizing the NCO Education System in conjunction with launching the <a href="http://www.warrioruniversity.army.mil/">Warrior University web site</a>.

With 234 years of decorated service, our NCOs are critical to today's fight.
Today's Army NCO understands the complexities involved in developing technology so that we can defeat the threat in theater.

At the beginning of the year, Secretary of the Army Pete Geren, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. George W. Casey Jr., and Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth O. Preston signed a letter designating 2009 as the "Year of the NCO." We embarked upon a year focused on highlighting the past and present achievements of our NCOs.

The Army renewed its focus on NCOs professional development and the acknowledgement, both internally and externally, of NCOs as national assets.
As we wrap up the celebrations marking the "Year of the NCO," let us not forget the tremendous contributions of our NCOs.

Army NCOs will continue to serve as mentors, teammates and coaches to all Soldiers, at all levels within the Army. It is my hope that this year's focus on the NCO will lead the way to a highly educated, superiorly fit, and well-prepared environment in the Army, resulting in the defeat of the enemy and the protection of our Warfighters. Our NCOs set the conditions for success. Army Strong!

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<i>Editor's Note: <a href="http://www.rdecom.army.mil/pages/leadership_csm.html">Command Sgt. Maj. Hector G. Marin</a> is the senior noncommissioned officer for the Research, Development and Engineering Command and Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.</i>

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16