FORT BLISS, Texas -- The NCO Leadership Center of Excellence held the third annual branch week for the Sergeants Major Course, Class 70, Feb. 4-6.
The NCOLCoE supports the Army's top two priorities of taking care of our people and ensuring readiness through the annual branch week by providing the students and faculty the tools and critical information occurring in their respective branch.
The senior enlisted leaders across 18 Army Career Management Fields came to speak to the students about assignments, changes in their CMFs, and their roles and responsibilities as they return to the force.
"We wanted to provide an overview of the branch, and where the branch is going in the future," Command Sgt. Maj. Brian Hauke from the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence shared. "I brought in the command sergeants major from the U.S Army Materiel Command, the Aviation Special Operations, and the Program Executive Office in Aviation. They were able to hear about the aviation and missile command, the long term projects happening, and hear where the aviation branch is going and how we are nested."
Students expecting to learn about their new assignments received a lot more information than they anticipated during branch week.
"We received an overview of the future for our CMF and learned more about the critical gaps facing the Army," SMC Class 70 student, Fred Killea from the Military Police said.
Each senior enlisted leader representing their branch provided insight on the technical and tactical gaps facing their branch and the NCO Corps as a whole.
"We identified as we transition to the large scale operations a lot of the skills of an NCO have atrophied over the last 17 years," Command Sgt. Maj. Kevin Muhlenbeck, from the United States Army Armor School said. "Because we have all the manning requirements that we have, but with a limited population, we have to give those NCOs as much time possible in the critical leadership position."
Muhlenbeck speaking on the NCO professional development model overtime for the Armor and Infantry branches, continued.
"So they [NCOs] can get as many reps and sets at doing their jobs in a tactical environment, we are changing the mindset now and slowing people down for moving on to the next thing. We removed all the caveats and are getting our NCOs to stay in a position for 24 months minimum," he said.
Besides learning about the critical gaps and career management field changes, the students also learned what it takes to be a sergeant major.
Command Sgt. Maj. Joe Ulloth from the Installation Management Command asked the students in the sustainment CMFs, "what does it mean to be bigger than yourself, your unit, and your MOS?"
After the students gave their answers, he added, "it is also about understanding humility and finding someone you can rely on for honest feedback and taking those mistakes and helping others."
As of July 2019, humility is the newest leadership value codified in the Army Doctrine Publication 6-22.
"A leader with the right level of humility is a willing learner, maintains accurate self-awareness, and seeks out others' input and feedback," ADP 6-22.
As the days of branch week came to an end, the students were reminded of the primary duty of the sergeant major, to guide and mentor Soldiers.
"It is not about wearing the rank of SGM," Muhlenbeck said to the Infantry and Armor CMF students. "You are wearing that rank to take care of Soldiers, making sure they are trained and proficient in their jobs and ensuring you make a positive impact in that organization. If you cannot do that, then you are a SGM wearer and not a bearer."
Students from all the CMFs heard a lot of the same information when it comes to their roles and responsibility as sergeants major.
"Be a predictable leader," Hauke added from the USAACE. "Being predictable in the schedule with Soldiers builds their morale and confidence in my leadership skills. It also helps build better families and gives our Soldiers the time to plan both professionally and personally."
The sustainment senior enlisted leaders discussed developing and maintaining a positive command climate and to build relationships, be trustworthy, and be an agent of change to create a positive impact.
The senior enlisted leaders across the 18 CMFs helped the students learn how to leverage being a SGM to solve problems, work together through the bonds they made throughout the course, and know when to reach out to the operational force for guidance.
The NCOLCoE is the premier institution driving innovative development for enlisted leaders, constantly focused on readiness.