FORT BLISS, Texas--The Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development System continues to promote a laser focus on readiness to create a professional and competent leader through NCO Professional Military Education.

Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Sellers, the commandant of the NCO Leadership Center of Excellence, explains what NCO PME provides the force.

"We are laser focused on producing, agile, adaptive, lethal trainers at the squad and team level while adding rigor to the Physical Readiness Training and common task training outside of the classrooms and sending Soldiers to school using effective Order of Merit Lists," Sellers said.
Unit OMLs are designed to improve readiness, leader and professional development, and the professionalism of the NCO corps.

"We have taken a critical look to ensure OMLs result in selecting the right Soldier to attend PME," Sellers said.

The new system falls in line with the Select-Train-Educate-Promote, also known as STEP program, which maximizes the Army's biggest asset--our people.

"At a minimum Soldiers should be fit, disciplined and familiar with the fundamentals of leading Physical Readiness Training and Drill and Ceremonies," he said. "NCOA instructors will make them better by making them well adapted trainers and leaders of Soldiers."

The list is a tool provided to leaders that gives them the knowledge and ability to select the right talent, ensure they are trained, ready, educated, and promoted in a timely manner upon completion of their resident PME.

By better understanding the talent of the workforce, the Army can maximize Soldier talents to allow the placement of the right Soldier in the right course at the right time. It also ensures promotable Soldiers are scheduled to participate in resident NCO PME courses at the time of selection for promotion, ensuring Soldiers are "fully-qualified" to promote.
"Attending NCO PME is a privilege, not a right," Sellers said.

Soldiers preparing to attend NCO PME resident courses will now have to be prepared before they arrive to their resident course. In fact, before they can even secure a seat they have to pass their respective Distributed Leader Course.

The DLCs are prerequisites for a Soldier to attend a promotion board and all resident NCO PME courses.

The courses are linked to the next level of resident PME, and designed to be progressive and sequential while providing Soldiers at all stages of development with an engaging, worthwhile learning experience in a sequential and progressive manner that nests in the Army's NCOPDS.

Command Sgt. Maj. Matthew O'Brien, the commandant of the XVIII Airborne Corps and Fort Bragg NCO Academy, discusses the importance of leadership involvement when it comes to Soldiers attending PME.

"Leaders at the Company/Troop/Battery must get their Soldiers ready to attend PME physically and mentally as well as ensure their families are prepared for the separation if applicable," he said. "This ties directly back into the NCO Common Core Competencies (NCO C3) of Readiness, Leadership, and Training Management. Leaders need to teach their Soldiers how to be critical thinkers, and by ruthlessly enforcing troop leading procedures, it will prepare those Soldiers to succeed in PME; while further instilling the privilege versus right mentality."

A better professional understanding is created between the knowledge delivered through the DLCs and the NCO C3. Based on Army doctrine, these elements will help bridge the gap of understanding.
These fundamentals were created to help the Soldier build the skills, knowledge, and abilities needed of every NCO in order to operate effectively as a professional member of a ready, diverse, integrated and lethal force.

"The NCO C3 is a strategy that will guide our NCO Corps and shift the paradigm of PME from, 'it is my right to attend, to it is a privilege to attend,'" O'Brien said.

All NCO Academy commandants serve as subject matter experts when it comes to NCOPDS.

"To fill the most demanding demographic in the Army, the SSG, we have to flood the force with the maximum number of sergeants every month," O'Brien said. "Per military personnel message 16-089, placed on the top of the OML are the Soldiers with the highest number of promotion points, but we have also included APFT data to help shape that. Typically those with higher APFT scores are ready, motivated, and the RIGHT Soldiers to attend PME."

The changes in the Order of Merit List now evaluates the force on Soldiers who are qualified to attend Professional Military Education.

"Training management is one of the most important tasks that we as NCOs are responsible for, and we have to get this right," O'Brien said.