WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 9, 2007) -- Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston unveiled the newest modernization effort for the U.S. Army enlisted force during a meeting with senior non-commissioned officers today at the Association of the United States Army annual meeting and exposition.

It was not a weapon system, or a new piece of gear for Soldiers, but rather a management system designed to provide a process that manages the Army's most senior-level noncommissioned officers, command sergeants major and sergeants major.

"By changing ... we enhance our capability of getting the right leader with the right experience and skill sets, into the right position at the right time," said SMA Preston during an earlier interview.

The new policy will change the management system for senior NCOs from one designed for a peace-time Army, SMA Preston said, "to a system that selects, trains and promotes Soldiers ready to meet the full range of threats and challenges in the 21st Century."

The benefits to this modernization will be seen in a variety of ways, he said.

"It will be an improvement overall, from the way we select our command sergeants major and sergeants major, to the way we train them to how we select and synchronize our battalion and brigade command teams.

"The Army, and the nation will benefit from this change by having NCOs with greater leadership experience in a variety of operational environments," SMA Preston said, "while Soldiers - the centerpiece of our Army - will benefit from the mentorship and leadership of these multi-skilled, adaptive and successful leaders."

Command sergeants major and sergeants major will benefit from greater predictability in upward mobility and career progression, he said, and greater family stability.

"This new system will provide greater certainty for those selected for promotion and attendance to the U. S. Sergeants Major Academy, that they know they will be promoted, frocked if necessary, to sergeant major upon completion of the course, beginning with the graduation of those in 'Class 60' (set to graduate the nine-month course at Fort Bliss in the summer of 2010) and beyond," said SMA Preston.

Additionally, this policy change is designed to allow the creation of command teams that train together before taking command of a battalion or brigade combat team.

"Perhaps the greatest impact to the Army will be in our ability to align command sergeant major selection and appointment with the selection of battalion and brigade commanders," said SMA Preston. "Achieving this allows the Army to create command teams that can attend the Pre-Command Course at Fort Leavenworth together, building a cohesive command team for our brigade combat teams and our battalions.

Execution of this new policy will be most readily evident with the next sergeant major selection list in Fiscal Year 08, SMA Preston said. He sait hat list, and subsequent lists, will not include the selection of junior, non-promotion-eligible master sergeants for early attendance to the Sergeants Major Academy as alternates. The FY07 board was the last board with a mission to select master sergeants as alternates for school, he said.

"That transition will further enhance our ability to provide the Army with NCOs in the most senior leadership ranks of the NCO Corps -- multi-skilled leaders who are adaptive, confident and competent," SMA Preston said.

See related article,<a href="http://www.army.mil/-news/2007/10/09/5506-new-policy-gives-top-ncos-more-choices/"> New Policy Gives Top NCOs More Choices.</a>

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