By Master Sgt. Crista Mary Mack, U.S. Army EuropeFebruary 10, 2017
WIESBADEN, Germany - "What we are really facing right now is a moment in our history as noncommissioned officers, I think it's revolutionary not evolutionary, the changes we are making to our entire education system," Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport, command sergeant major of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, said today while conducting a town hall event at U.S. Army Europe headquarters, Clay Kaserne.
During the event, Davenport discussed expanded focuses of TRADOC for the future of the U.S. Army's over 91,000 NCOs, including new career maps, more emphasis on civilian education, attention to broadening opportunities and more opportunities for joint professional military education among them.
Even the name has changed, he expounded, making reference to the noncommissioned officer education system, or NCOES.
"We will no longer call it the NCOES, we will call it the NCOPDS, the noncommissioned officer professional development system," he said. "Because there is more to being a noncommissioned officer than just going to your required primary military education. "
Davenport explained why STEP, an acronym that stands for Selection, Training, Education and Promotion, a relatively new Army program that he calls a "forcing function to get our NCOs to school," was needed by the Army.
"A year ago, we had almost 14,000 noncommissioned officers that hadn't been to school," Davenport said, referring to the professional military development classes provided by the Army and required for each rank. "Of that 14,000, 4,000 were in their grade three or more years. Of that 4,000, 1,200 had been scheduled for school six or more times and didn't go. This is why we need STEP."
This is why we need STEP," he said. "This last year we are down to about 4,000 right now."
STEP is an implementation of the NCOPDS across the Army, in accordance with Secretary of the Army Directive 2015-31. Davenport discussed a multitude of changes within STEP, innovations and future programs currently in the process or already implemented by TRADOC which, such as a reworking of the Structured Self Development, or SSD courses, which are required online courses for promotion, the addition of instructor badges for wear on the uniform, even a new service school academic evaluation report, known as the Department of the Army Form 1059, and ITCOP, the Institutional Common Operating Picture.
At the end of the brief, Davenport held a candid question and answer session with attendees.
"I think it should've been mandatory for all NCOs to be here," said Sgt. 1st Class Leroy A. Hunter, a noncommissioned officer assigned to the USAREUR Inspector General class who attended the event. "He put out some revolutionary information that us as leaders, not only as potential students of the future, need to know so that we can take care of our Soldiers."
Davenport invited anyone interested in further informing themselves about these changes to visit the TRADOC site at http://www.tradocnews.org, and read his web blog there.