Learning, Execution and Evaluations
Christopher Pickett, far right, Learning, Execution and Evaluations Division chief, along with members of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command's G-3/5/7, prepare to conduct a virtual meeting in October 2009 with NCO academies that are scheduled to transition from U.S. Army Forces Command to Training and Doctrine Command.

Final article of a five-part series on the INCOPD. Read the rest of the series at https://usasma.bliss.army.mil/NCOJournal/leadershiparch.asp and https://usasma.bliss.army.mil/NCOJournal/trainingarch.asp

As the Institute for NCO Professional Development approaches its one year anniversary, it has managed to implement several initiatives to help improve educational opportunities for the NCO Corps. While the other divisions within the institute - the Learning Innovations and Initiatives Division and the Learning Integration Division - are devoted to managing future battles, the Learning, Execution and Evaluation Division focuses on the immediate fight.

"We handle anything current, anything ongoing," said Christopher Picket, LEED's division chief and a retired sergeant major. "If it involves working with the NCO academies or additional Army components to improve training and efficiency, that's what we do for the NCO Corps."
With a mixed staff of civilian and Army personnel, LEED helps implement approved projects from the other two divisions. Once projects are no longer simply initiatives, they cross over into execution, which is where LEED steps in.

One specific project that LEED plays an integral part in is making sure the mobile training teams for the Advanced Leader Course are conducted to standard. "We look at the programs of instruction. We did the ALC and Senior Leader Course transformations, working with the Training Operations Management Activity to make sure it all got vetted properly and put in the system so the academies could start the transformation on 1 October 2009," Picket explained.

LEED often works closely with TOMA, which according to its website, "plans, coordinates, and manages documenting, programming, scheduling, logistic management and training management operations for Army courses conducted in the Army school system during peacetime and mobilization."

Since 2007, TRADOC has had MTTs out in the field conducting ALC MTTs for Soldiers in critical military occupational specialties with high deployment rates. Officials have identified 20 MOSs most often deployed in combat, for example 11B infantryman. Since these MOSs have difficulty making it to professional military schools in between deployments, TRADOC, TOMA and LEED work together to address backlog by taking the courses to Soldiers. There are several benefits in using the MTTs: The Soldier stays home, and the Army saves money with only the MTT personnel traveling. Instead of 150 students travelling to an academy for temporary duty assignment, only a team of trainers travel to the critical location.

"We also help ensure all proper equipment is available for training needs. Units aren't always fully supplied with the necessary equipment," Picket said. "So, we'll conduct the search to find it. LEED can also serve as a conduit in tracking down necessary items, especially for those units whose equipment may still be en route from overseas. "If they have issues in getting the equipment, we're here to help," he said.

"Gaining efficiency through initiative" should be LEED's motto. And that's exactly what's going on at Fort Carson, Colo. "We're combining our resources to establish a multicomponent NCOA at Fort Carson - for active Army, Reserve and National Guard. We're about 90 percent down the road from making that thing happen," Pickett said.

Officials identified a large population at Fort Carson that needs a noncommissioned officer academy where there is currently not one. The Army has had to be creative in getting some Soldiers to school for training, especially since the beginning of the Global War on Terrorism. Pickett said that for some time, Soldiers from Fort Carson have been sent to Camp Williams, Utah, to go to school. So a typical scenario might be: Soldiers spend 12-15 months overseas. When they return, they go through their 45-day integration training and block leave. Then, they come down on orders for WLC at Camp Atterbury for 15 days. "Two weeks may not seem like a long time, but to that young Soldier it's significant," he explained.

Aside from the obvious advantages, training the different components together will improve their performances in real time operations. "We fight together, so we need to train together," Pickett said.

The new academy falls under the Colorado National Guard and began teaching classes in 2009. New facilities are expected to be constructed in 2012, and class sizes will then increase to help address backlog.

LEED is currently researching other installations that may benefit from this same effort, as John Sparks, director of the INCOPD, reported to the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, House Armed Services Committee on July 28th.

"The intent behind chartering this study is threefold: 1) Examine the feasibility, benefits, limitations, and cost-effectiveness of creating multicomponent noncommissioned officer academies throughout the Army to conduct the Warrior Leader Course; 2) provide recommendations on the best method to develop and assess options for implementing a multicomponent organizational structure to align WLC student loads; and 3) assess the implications for NCOES more broadly," Sparks reported.

"Upon full implementation," he continued, "the One Army School System will provide increased training and education by leveraging the available resources of all three Army components and establish multicomponent facilities to train future warriors."

Another major undertaking for LEED is moving the remaining NCO academies that are currently under U.S. Army Forces Command and transferring them to Training and Doctrine Command. A total of seven academies will be restructured to be subordinate units to specific Centers of Excellence.

The decision was made in 2006 that the academies should be institutional entities, which means TRADOC entities. Pickett said that it makes sense these NCOAs are located on predominantly operational installations: Fort Bragg, N.C.; Fort Lewis, Wash.; Fort Stewart, Ga.; Fort Campbell, Ky.; and Fort Hood, Texas. "These are war fighting installations. It doesn't make sense for FORSCOM, which is the operational side of the Army, to run the academies," he said.

One transition was completed last year: Fort Leonard Wood picked up the academy at Fort Lewis. The remaining transitions will take place over the course of the year, aligning each academy under a TRADOC Center of Excellence. These transitions will enhance the NCO education system by relieving FORSCOM from the institutional requirement. "By moving these NCOAs underneath TRADOC, the institutional arm of the Army will now fill the instructor slots; whereas before, those FORSCOM units were required to fill the slots but couldn't always afford to lose the personnel since they are operational units.

After transitions are completed and all is finalized, Pickett hypothesizes that instructors from a FORSCOM unit at the 82nd Airborne Division or XVIII Airborne Corps who may be chosen to work at the NCOA at Fort Bragg will actually PCS to their new teaching assignment, which may very well lead to some happy families. After a two-year stint at the NCOA, the Soldier could PCS back to their unit, which turns out to be very cost effective as well.

"This is one of the ways we can take care of the Soldiers, and the process to be an instructor will probably become quite competitive," he said. "It will definitely set the bar higher."

To contact Linda Crippen, e-mail linda.crippen@us.army.mil

Page last updated Thu October 21st, 2010 at 12:28