JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-FORT SAM HOUSTON, Texas — U.S. Army South concluded the first-ever virtual PISAJ 14 (Programa Integral para Suboficiales de Alta Jerarquia), which took place from Nov. 9-20.
PISAJ is a U.S. Army South-hosted engagement between the U.S. and Colombian armies to further develop noncommissioned officers. This year, senior enlisted service members from Brazil and México were also invited to participate.
“This is a great opportunity for Colombian Army sergeants major students to address senior NCO’s in regards to competency skills and strategic knowledge from both Air Force and Army sergeants major,” said Sgt. Maj. Alejandro Pereyra Alaniz, U.S. Army South PISAJ 14 coordinator.
Members of the Colombian and Brazilian sergeants major academies participated in virtual presentations to support the NCO professional development efforts between armies.
“We are fully committed to assisting our partners in designing and developing a course map for the future sergeants major academy that reinforces the Colombian commitment and goal to professionalize their NCO corps,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Trevor C. Walker, U.S. Army South command sergeant major. “The U.S. NCO corps is an integral part of what has made the U.S. Army so successful throughout 245 years of service to our nation.”
The U.S. Army prioritizes the Colombian Army transformation by increasing Colombia and U.S. interoperability, focusing on human resource reform, human rights, NCO development, and gender integration.
The Colombian Army determined NCO development as one of the pillars of their transformation necessary to develop into a strategic combined arms force capable of deploying alongside the U.S. Army worldwide.
Senior non-commissioned officers met at the end of week one to discuss the distinction in roles and responsibilities of first sergeants and sergeants major, being that currently, the Colombian military only supports the rank of first sergeant in their special forces units. The Colombian Army is considering incorporating the rank and position of first sergeant and master sergeant within their regular forces.
“We met the overall objective and will continue to help strengthen NCO leadership and enable a joint, exportable sergeants major course that can be used as a reference for educating all noncommissioned officers in Central and South America,” said Walker. “Despite having to execute this joint geo-strategic engagement via Microsoft Teams using a virtual platform, we were still able to educate, give professional courses and collaborate with the COLAR students.”
Instructors from Army South, the Inter-American Air Forces Academy, and the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC) participated virtually to transmit and generate professional dialogue on essential leadership topics, mission command concepts, critical thinking skills, and concepts in creating and maintaining a soldier recovery unit. Additionally, students interacted with course developers, which assisted them in designing and creating a course map for their future sergeants major academy.
“We facilitated a joint approach of addressing Air Force and Army strategies used to lead units and advise commanders,” said Pereyra. “Topics such as how to empower NCO’s, talent management, roles, competencies, and responsibilities of command sergeants major were discussed in detail by both services.”
PISAJ 14 culminated with a virtual graduation ceremony of forty-five senior enlisted command sergeants major, including two senior enlisted from Brazil and one from México. The PISAJ program is a bi-annual agreed-to-action between U.S. Army South and the Colombian Army through 2023.