FORT BLISS, Texas – The NCO Leadership Center of Excellence and Fort Bliss NCO Academy earned their highest accreditation score ever during the June through October 2020 review conducted by the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command Army Accreditation Team.
The NCOLCoE scored a 96.8 percent, while the Fort Bliss NCOA received a 97.1 percent overall rating.
During the process – which was held virtually in support of COVID-19 mitigation strategies – the evaluators conducted assessments of seven Army Enterprise Accreditation Standards: mission, purpose, and functions; governance and administration; learning programs – analysis, design, development, and implementation; institutional training and education mission management; assessment, evaluation and effectiveness; faculty and staff; and leader development.
Data and information were gathered through key person interviews, instructor, staff and student focus groups, document and records reviews, and self-assessment reports.
In their final report, the accreditation team identified several value-added benefits from a variety of NCOLCoE components. For example, the summary of the third AEAS, learning programs – analysis, design, development, and implantation, the senior evaluator noted that the NCOLCoE’s in-house courseware development capabilities was a contributing factor in saving thousands of dollars in the distance learning programs. The Othon O. Valent Learning Resources Center director, Angelica Garcia, was highlighted for her curated “Copyright Resources” library guide which continues to be shared and linked to by TRADOC and other Army libraries. The NCOLCoE Quality Assurance Office, led by director Quentin Brown, received kudos for their ongoing communication with institution stakeholders regarding programs, services, and organizational functionalities.
The NCOLCoE scored 100 percent in the final standard, leader development.
“To address readiness and preparation for future conflict, NCOLCoE has incorporated multi-domain operations and large-scale combat operations, as well as additional rigor where gaps were identified,” the report stated. “The courses are progressive and sequential, and they provide realistic and rigorous [professional military education].”
Command Sgt. Maj. Jason Schmidt, commandant of the NCOLCoE, welcomed the accreditation and the insights which came from it.
“The accreditation process is extremely important because it allows me to gauge where improvements can be made, as well as where we’re excelling in support of the Army Campaign Plan and the TRADOC Strategic Plan,” Schmidt said. “I’m extremely proud of everyone at the NCOLCoE for their commitment and dedication to educating, training and building quality leaders.”
The Fort Bliss NCOA received a perfect score in three of the seven AEAS, with the overall summary report highlighting the organization’s emphasis on climate, culture and leadership development.
“There are many opportunities for the academy staff and faculty to develop themselves through workshops to mentor and guide their team when it comes to written and oral communication skills,” the report stated. “The academy codifies its policies and procedures in the [Standard Operating Procedures, and] … access and ownership of the SOP is maintained at the lowest level... and easy to understand.”
In line with the report for the NCOLCoE, the NCOA evaluators identified the effective relationship between the leadership, training developers, staff and instructors. The report also highlighted the high professionalism of the course instructors who “engage students and allow them to their share personal experiences.”
“A quality and productive learning environment is essential in order to train our junior leaders and enhance their skillset with their introduction into the NCO core competencies,” Command Sgt. Maj. Montae Clark, commandant of the Fort Bliss NCOA, said. “I praise and applaud [our] NCOs for exceeding the standard.”
Review for accreditation occurs every three years, and scoring is based on the AEAS which are aligned with TRADOC function leads and core competencies. TRADOC Regulation 11-21 defines the process as a Quality Assurance Program function which helps to ensure “that the [Centers of Excellence] or learning institution’s Doctrine, Organization, Training, Materiel, Leadership and Education, Personnel and Facilities domains enable [them] to develop Soldiers and leaders with the competency needs of today’s Army.”
With the exception of the United States Military Academy, the TRADOC Accreditation Team is responsible for accrediting all Army training and education institutions across all components must. This includes the Centers of Excellence, NCOAs, Army National Guard regional training institutes, Reserve component multifunctional training brigades, and provides oversight of delegated authority to accredit the Combat Training Center program.
“The NCOLCoE and Fort Bliss NCOA QAO’s pursuit of institutional excellence will help to ensure we provide a professional military education that develops fit, disciplined, well-educated professionals capable of meeting the challenges of our increasingly complex world,” Brown said. “With supportive leadership and enthusiasm for excellence from our stakeholders, the chances for success will always remain high.”
The next accreditation cycle for the NCOLCoE and Fort Bliss NCOA will be conducted in 2023.
The NCO Leadership Center of Excellence provides professional military education that develops holistically fit, disciplined, well-educated professionals capable of meeting the challenges of large-scale combat operations in a multi-domain environment. Through its Professional Military Education courses and non-Military Occupational Specialty courses, the NCOLCoE touches more than 390,000 soldiers annually.