Senior NCO conference gets Soldiers back to basics
March 16, 2011
By Amy Sunseri
- One hundred fifty-four senior Military Intelligence leaders attended the three-day conference at Fort Huachuca
- The theme of this year's conference was "Military Intelligence leaders Back to Basics and Moving Forward"
FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. -- This year's 2011 Military Intelligence Command Sergeants Major/Sergeants Major Conference was all about getting back to the basics. One hundred fifty-four MI command sergeants major, sergeants major, first sergeants, master sergeants and retirees attended the three-day conference held March 8-10 on Fort Huachuca. The vast majority of attendees traveled from installations around the world, including those in Korea, Hawaii, Germany, Belgium and more.
The theme of this year's conference was "Military Intelligence leaders Back to Basics and Moving Forward." The event is held annually every March on Fort Huachuca.
"This conference is basically that one time of year that all MI command sergeants major and sergeants major gather together in one place to discuss key issues that are affecting the MI Corps," explained Sgt. Maj. Michael Dodson, United States Army Intelligence Center of Excellence G3.
It's an opportunity for the MI senior leadership to discuss topics varied from Military Occupational Specialty changes, policy changes to school training, etcetera. The main discussion this year focused on getting Soldiers back to basics, the Army's fundamentals.
"We've been at war for 10 years, and Soldiers are good at combat operations, but our garrison operations have kind of faltered a little. So we're trying to get that balance back and readdress a lot of the things that made us great at garrison ... and trying to find that balance," said Command Sgt. Maj. Todd Holiday, USAICoE.
Holiday discussed how many Soldiers in today's Army are on their third or fourth rotation to either Iraq or Afghanistan. He explained how many of them haven't had the opportunity to learn about the basics, stating those are the things senior leadership has to balance back out.
"In combat operations, things are different ... you're in a different environment so standards ... change with uniforms and what not."
When they come back, many Soldiers are still stuck in the mentality of being in combat, Holiday added.
The basics that need to be addressed are saluting, uniform standards, not walking and texting on one's cell phone, more so simply understanding the basic Army values, Holiday explained.
"You know we'll [senior NCOs] go away one day, and if we don't instill these values, this foundation in them now, it may get lost and we don't want that to happen," Holiday said.
The leadership at the conference also took time to discuss what they can do within their own units to make the Army better. The Soldiers split up into work groups and discussed issues affecting today's Army and how to make improvements.
Another key issue that was discussed during the conference was the rebalancing and restructuring of the Army.
Video teleconferences were also held with senior MI leadership in Iraq and Afghanistan who could not attend the conference.
Two ceremonies, the Command Sgt. Maj. Doug Russell Award and Sergeant Audie Murphy Club induction took place during the event honoring and recognizing Soldiers who have stood out in the MI Corps. The ceremonies are right in line with the basics, Holiday said. He added that recognizing Soldiers and the Army's heritage are important.
The conference also held a ceremony on the last day recognizing those MI sergeants major who will be retiring and not attending next year's event.
"It is an important event. We come here so that we can make a difference and all these sergeants major travel here so they can make difference within their units and then make a difference for the Army. So I think it's a good thing and something that we need to keep on doing. I recommend that people stay involved in it," Dodson added.
"We have to continue to be an adapting and learning organization. Right now, I think that's evident in us readdressing a lot of things that we're addressing. I would ask that sergeants major keep an open mind and listen to the junior Soldiers because they have ideas. There's a definite generation gap between us and them ... we need to have a balance and reach out to them if we want them to come to us," Holiday said.