FORT BELVOIR, Va. -- 1st Information Operations (1st IO) Command (Land) senior enlisted leaders hosted the second Squad and Team Leader Development Course, designed to develop and improve the leadership skills of junior noncommissioned officers in the ranks of specialist (promotable) through staff sergeant, Sep. 9 - 12.

The course addressed topics of counseling, NCO professional development schools, mentorship, military writing, leadership philosophy, deliberate risk assessments, operations orders, suspension of favorable actions, the Army Body Composition Program, and physical readiness training.

According to Sgt. Maj Daniel Deming, brigade operations senior enlisted leader and the event manager, "Our end state for the Squad and Team Leader Development Course was to increase the confidence and competence of the brigade's junior leaders. We tailored the course to be led by senior leaders from the brigade, with the intention of being both facilitators and mentors. The classes armed our junior leaders with relevant and current information."

Deming believes the program exceeded its objective and was impressed with the professionalism of all Soldiers who were involved.

"It was an excellent course that was executed by the true professionals from 1st IO Command. I'm very impressed by the caliber of the NCOs who supported and facilitated the course. It definitely would not have happened without them."

The Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT) and Master Resiliency Training (MRT) Obstacle Course were added to the development course as a result of after-action review comments from the previous class. The ACFT evaluation and the obstacle course were the new leaders' favorite events.

For the MRT, students were split into two teams and competed to negotiate five obstacles and complete a mental challenge. The mental challenge was completed by asking the competitors 10 questions about a picture that they looked at for one minute.

"I really enjoyed the obstacle course," said Spc. Aimee Smidt, 1st IO Battalion. "I have an injury and I was still able to finish the obstacle course. It was very inclusive for everybody, even people with 'no-run' profiles."

For other Soldiers, the biggest takeaway from the course was the writing portion of the training and gaining a better understanding of the role their leaders play in the organization.

"I think one of the biggest takeaways was the NCO evaluation reports, and what Soldiers should be expecting from their leaders," said Spc. Jay Pagano, 1st IO Battalion. "I spoke with people from other units about how often they receive counseling before I took this class. I was not aware they were not receiving proper counseling."

Overall the training reinforced the core responsibilities of an NCO as it built teamwork among Soldiers and helped them to become successful leaders of tomorrow.

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ABOUT 1st IO: 1st Information Operations (IO) Command (Land) provides IO and Cyberspace Operations support to Army and other Military Forces through deployable support teams, opposing forces support, reachback planning and analysis, and specialized training, in order to support freedom of action in the information environment and to deny the same to our adversaries.