SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C. (July 27, 2018) - Military education not only makes it possible for a Soldier to progress in their career, but also aims toward shaping an intelligent, capable and competent armed force for the future. Continual investment in education is a growing requirement for enlisted Soldiers and leaders in the U.S. Army.

A group of Soldiers from U.S. Army Central and servicemembers from Ft. Jackson participated in the Battle Staff Noncommissioned Officers Course at USARCENT headquarters here, July 23 through August 22. The course is hosted by the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy in Ft. Bliss, Texas, but made available at other military installations through video teleconference.

The BSNCOC is a 30-day course designed to educate sergeants through sergeants major to serve as battle staff NCO's in high-level staff positions. The course discusses topics including staff operations, stability operations, information operations, cyber defense, urban operations, tactical sustainment, military briefings, plans and orders, the Command Post of the Future system and the methodology of the Military Decision Making Process.

The course also provides Soldiers the opportunity to become familiar with the duties of other staff sections and how they support one another to accomplish the commander's intent.

"This class has the potential to provide insight in how different occupational specialties integrate to form the big picture of how the Army fights," said Sgt. 1st Class Heather Ferguson, a student in the course and a signal operations chief at USARCENT. "At times we are so focused on our own military occupation that we don't consider how the other pieces fit in the puzzle. Learning to see an event or tasking from a multi-view vantage point will enable my ability to produce better products for my commanders and better training for my Soldiers."

Other students shared their enthusiasm to learn more about the U.S. Army's analytical processes and planning methodologies that are the cornerstone of conducting staff operations.

"As an NCO, this course is providing me better insight on how the officers I work with analyze a situation and the decision making that goes with it," said Staff Sgt. Jorel Coleman, a student in the course and a movement supervisor with the 4th Battlefield Coordination Detachment. "I would encourage others to attend. I think this course will help enhance their critical thinking skills."

For many of the students, this is the first time in their military careers they find themselves working in a battle staff position and involved in strategic-level operations. They now have the opportunity to understand how decisions are made during the training process and the strategies taken to enable commanders' completion of their missions on the battlefield.

"By successfully completing this course, it will greatly enhance my understanding of the overall implementation process when executing staff exercises, going on deployments and supporting future missions," said Staff Sgt. Eric Guzman, an air missile defense operations sergeant at the 2503rd Digital Liaison Detachment, USARCENT.

"Almost all Soldiers will eventually end up on a high-level staff or have to attend a higher level meeting where they will be expected to brief the commander," said Sgt. 1st Class Brooke Crytser, an assistant instructor for BSNCOC and a personnel recovery intelligence NCO at USARCENT. "This course will help give them the confidence and create the building blocks they need to succeed when they arrive at that point in their careers."

"Having the confidence to present a solid plan of action and speak up when needed will always help them succeed," Crytser added.

Several of the students agreed this course serves a beneficial purpose and should be a qualification to serve on a staff involved in strategic operations.

"I would definitely encourage others to take this course," Ferguson said. "This should be a requirement for all NCO's supporting USARCENT."