FORT STEWART, Ga. - The Noncommissioned Officer Academy (NCOA) at Fort Stewart, Georgia, will implement a new curriculum for the Basic Leader Course (BLC) in July 2018.

The new curriculum will focus on teaching students how to think critically and shaping them into effective leaders.

With the changes, training will be conducted mainly in the classroom, and the students will lead Soldier tasks like land navigation and physical readiness training, right away versus being trained to do so, said 1st Sgt. Mike Garcia, Fort Stewart BLC Chief.

"We are focusing on educating Soldiers and less on training them," said Staff Sgt. Brian Gougler, BLC instructor.

Training for success at BLC will be the responsibility of the Soldiers' operational units, said Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Foster, BLC instructor.

"If you have a Soldier going to BLC, you need to get them ready," said Gougler. "You need to teach them how to march a squad, how to lead physical readiness training and how to do land navigation."

Gougler said there would be no more multiple choice questions in the new curriculum. The students will have to express themselves through essay writing and public speaking, he said.

"We're trying to get them used to talking in front of people they hardly know," Foster said.

There will be more interaction in the classroom where Soldiers are encouraged to seek peer-to-peer help by asking each other questions on how to do something more effectively said Gougler.

"Students are going to see more conversation across the board and fewer PowerPoint presentations," Gougler said. "There's going to be a lot of interaction and conversation between the students with the instructor just guiding that along."

The course will no longer include a situational training exercise or land navigation in the same capacity as before, Foster said.

Regardless of the changes to course, the NCOA will not change the way they conduct physical training or the standards the students are held to, Garcia said.

Garcia also stated that NCOAs across the Army are expected to implement the new BLC changes by January 2019.

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