By Susannah Sanchez and Claudia McCartneyAugust 15, 2014
Fort Huachuca's Quality Assurance Office, or QAO, has the mission to prepare the United States Army Intelligence Center of Excellence, USAICoE, for the Training and Doctrine Command's accreditation visit. A failed accreditation can affect the ability to train Soldiers and negatively impact the military training institution.
While QAO works year-round to help the various military intelligence organizations to maintain all training standards, the year before an accreditation visit has a strong and organized push. This year, a TRADOC accreditation team will visit Fort Huachuca Monday --Aug. 22. The team will assess the 28 TRADOC standards listed in the Army Enterprise Accreditation Standards covering all areas of the Army training program.
QAO Director Debra Spohn and staff of 10 Department of the Army Civilians, military personnel and contractors, have specific assignments for this accreditation process which occurs every three years. In October, QAO staff members were assigned standards for oversight throughout the entire process. There are various facets to accreditation, and one is for QAO staff to continuously coordinate with their USAICoE customers.
The customers which are the "standard holders" include the 111th Military Intelligence Brigade, Training Development and Support, the Non-Commissioned Officer Academy, select organizations in Capabilities/Development and Integration Directorate, and the U.S. Army Garrison.
In December, QAO and USAICoE held a kick-off meeting for designated personnel that included an overview of the TRADOC accreditation process, followed by training sessions in January. In February, two QAO staff attended the TRADOC accreditation visit at Fort Gordon, Georgia, to gain insight and training on what to expect during the USAICoE TRADOC visit. QAO held subsequent in-progress reviews with leadership and key customers up to the July 23 video-teleconference with this year's 13-member TRADOC accreditation evaluation team.
While the TRADOC team communicates with the USAICoE QAO in various ways throughout the planning stages, the culmination of the process includes the final on-site visit. An integral part of preparation is the creation of the USAICoE QAO SharePoint site where QAO submits the required documentation to TRADOC.
In the past, the TRADOC accreditation team has awarded a Full Accreditation status to USAICoE, and an Institution of Excellence to the NCO Academy. The team's comprehensive findings' report has cited multiple "best practices" for other TRADOC institutions to consider adopting, while recognizing some of the institution's limitations, such as having the proper resources of trained personnel and facilities, to include barracks, dining facilities, classroom connectivity and more.
Despite these challenges, USAICoE has continued to emphasize the importance of quality military training and training support services to meet the needs of the 21st Century Soldier. Per the training guidance of Maj. Gen. Robert Ashley, USAICoE and Fort Huachuca commanding general, his vision is for USAICoE is to be, "a Center of Excellence with an innovative workforce of adaptive and responsive partners supporting the mutual goals of the community to be the best in all we do." The experience, skills and abilities this workforce brings to the classroom illustrate the Full Accreditation status that TRADOC has historically granted to USAICoE.