Mobile teams, new school help turn back PME backlog
June 18, 2010
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, June 17, 2010) -- A new academy and mobile training teams are two of the tools the Army is using now to successfully fight the backlog of Soldiers needing professional military education.
As the operations tempo in the Army continues to run at full tilt, some Soldiers have not had the time to attend the schools they need to get PME.
"This is not a new problem. It's an issue we've been wrestling with for a long time," said Sgt. Maj. Eddie Jackson, the Noncommissioned Officer Education System branch chief. "But I do believe we've finally turned the corner."
Two examples of ways the Army is helping to turn that corner include a new multi-component NCO academy at Fort Carson, Colo., and the use of mobile training teams that can bring leadership training to the Soldiers.
The multi-component NCO academy at Fort Carson -- under the command and control of the Colorado National Guard -- teaches the Warrior Leader Course. The new multi-component academy began teaching Soldiers in October 2009, and it is expected the school will have new facilities constructed in Fiscal Year 2012.
"It's going to help reduce the backlog," said Jackson. "It gives any Soldier, regardless of component, the PME they need."
Jackson said when the new facilities for the academy eventually open, the school will see a "significant" increase in the number of students they can teach.
The Army also uses mobile training teams to give forward deployed Soldiers their foundational leader development course. Those teams have been taking that knowledge to where the Soldiers are since 2008. Since then, the teams have trained more than 7,470 Soldiers in the WLC, the Advanced Leaders Course and the Senior Leaders Course.
"While the number of noncommissioned officers needing to attend their required professional military education courses continues to grow, since October 2009 we've reduced the backlog by more than 14,000," Jackson said.
As always, it is a commander's responsibility, coupled with the advice of their senior enlisted leaders, to get eligible Soldiers and NCOs into their required PME.
"Backlog reduction has come a long way," said Sgt. Maj. Robin Bercaw, the Army's lead training NCO. "All of the actions that we've put in place have achieved positive results and have been in support of the Chief's directives. Our combined leadership has mandated that there will be more robust counseling for Soldiers and NCOs and an increased emphasis on getting these individuals scheduled for their required PME."
For further information and assistance on professional military education please see http://armyncoes.com/ and be sure to contact your First Sergeant for advice.