By Sgt. 1st Class Joel F Gibson (USARAK)November 7, 2017
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- The most recent graduates of the Basic Leader Course here finished the first BLC validation program of the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy, for the change from our current noncommissioned officer education system to the proposed noncommissioned officer professional development system.
Representatives from USASMA joined instructors at the Sgt. 1st Class Christopher R. Brevard NCO Academy to conduct the Army's first iteration of the validation program.
Sgt. Maj. Nicole Reddick, director for the Master Leader Course (nonresident) at USASMA said, "We're here as part of the Basic Leader Course validation program. We're validating all the course material and content for the new curriculum set to roll out 1 October 2018."
Reddick focused on the differences between the old BLC curriculum and the new one, "The end state goal of the validation program is to update the curriculum from what we're currently doing now, which is training, to educating our future leaders."
Cpl. Tyson Ray, a BLC student and medic with the 725th Brigade Support Battalion, said, "The pilot program is like public speaking and English 101 curriculum with an Army spin on it, with leader development and team building."
"With this new curriculum, Soldiers will do much more writing than they did in the previous Basic Leader Course curriculum, so they'll have that basic foundation as they move forward. It's not a skill set they'll just learn at the Master Leader Course, or at the Sergeants Major course. It'll be a skill they can develop at the BLC level and continue to groom as they progress," Reddick said.
"[The new curriculum] focuses more on how to think than what to think," said Staff Sgt. Neil Damin, a BLC instructor with the Sgt. 1st Class Brevard NCOA.
"Legacy BLC, it's all directing information at you," Damin said, "Learn this, know this, remember that."
The new curriculum helps students understand how to research topics, collaborate with peers and interact with others to accomplish their goals, remarked Damin.
Staff Sgt. Tatiana Mason, a BLC instructor with the SFC Brevard NCOA, said while the students are validating a new curriculum, they also have to complete the currently accepted curriculum, making this iteration of BLC more demanding than usual.
Instructors and facilitators from USASMA alike pointed out the magnitude of changing the curriculum of a professional development school.
"This is going to be the first time in over 40 years that the curriculum for the Basic Leader Course has been changed or updated. It's a new pilot program, we're in validation right now, and I'm super excited," said Reddick.