SMA Preston speaks at AUSA luncheon
Command Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth O. Preston speaks to attendees of the Alamo Chapter of the Association of the United States Army luncheon at the Sam Houston Club Jan. 7

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Jan. 25, 2011) -- The Army's top noncommissioned officer said noncommisioned officers will soon shoulder more responsibility for furthering their own professional education through structured self development.

During a leadership forum Jan. 25, at the Pentagon, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston discussed changes to the noncommissioned officer education system and new self-development courses for NCOs.

"We're going to formalize self development and self study," Preston told an audience of both commissioned and senior noncommissioned officers.

Most phases of professional education for Soldiers are now or will be preceded by a required period of self study. For instance, before junior Soldiers can attend the Warrior Leadership Course, the first step in NCO development, they will be required to complete Structured Self Development 1, or SSD-1.

"SSD-1 is 80 hours of online education," Preston said. "And it will be required to complete that 80 hours of online education prior to attending the WLC. So it's going to be sequential, it's going to be progressive, and it's going to be tied to the formal NCO education levels."

Preston said that SSD-1 will focus on things like Army writing style, for instance, to get Soldiers on a level playing field they might not be on coming out of high school.

"It's all those things we want a young Soldier to be, to know and do before getting to the WLC," Preston said.

The SSD-1 phase will become a requirement in Fiscal Year 2013, and will be a total of 80 hours of work online. Spread out over the two years before a Soldier would take WLC, it amounts to about 40 minutes of work each week for Soldiers to complete.

Preston said that prior to attending the in-residence portion of the Advanced Leadership Course, formally called the Basic Noncommissioned Officer Course or BNCOC, Soldiers will need to complete the ALC common core.

"(It's) two weeks of proctored and mentored education, and it's done by a mall-group instructor, usually via video teleconference, usually at a Soldier's home duty station," Preston said. "So prior to a Soldier leaving and going to attend the resident ALC, they'll have to complete that two weeks of common core at home station prior to going."

That preliminary portion is currently called Phase 1, with the in-residence course called Phase 2.

Also in advance of other NCO development courses: SSD-3 will be required in front of the Senior Leadership Course, formally called Advanced Noncommissioned Officer Course or ANCOC; and SSD-4 will be a prerequisite for attending the Sergeants Major Course.

A final SSD-5 will come after the Sergeants Major Course.

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