FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. — More than 50 Sergeants Major from around the globe visited Fort Huachuca for the FY23 Military Intelligence Sergeants Major Working Group April 18-20, to collectively discuss issues across the Military Intelligence Corps.
This is the second annual Sergeants Major working group held at Fort Huachuca and military intelligence personnel from the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia attended to give briefings on their best practices for retaining talent, since this year’s theme was “Recruiting and Retention”.
The symposium kicked off with discussions about assignments and talent management, then continued with training and operational discussions.
Warrant Officer Class One Matthew Mancini, with the Australian Army, said the similarities he sees between the U.S. and Australian Army is trying to retain the ranks between noncommissioned officers (NCOs) and senior NCOs.
“I honestly think we need to get back to exchanges,” Mancini said. “Pre-Covid we used to have a lot of U.S. exchange NCOs and we used to have a lot of Australian NCOs based in Hawaii, not so much mainland because it’s a bit too far … we mainly work with INDOPACOM so I think if we reinvigorate, even if it’s short six-month trips, I think that would be a start.”
Mancini said that the joint forces working together is a strength, and while this was the first working group he had attended at Fort Huachuca, he recognized some friendly faces within the group which is a testament to the strong partnership between Australia and the U.S. Army.
“I have already worked with Command Sgt. Maj. Billy Budd [500th Military Intelligence Brigade CSM] in Hawaii, so I already knew him and it’s just that friendly face, so next conflict that we go to we don’t have to create those relationships, we already know the people,” he said. “This is something that our adversaries don’t have, this partnership.”
On the last day of the working group, attendees broke off into two groups to provide updates and recommendations to DA PAM 611-21 (MOS qualification/pre-requisites) and to provide ideas on how to retain talent following an update on retention across the Military Intelligence Corps.
Sgt. Maj. Mary Breslin, 504th Expeditionary Military Intelligence Brigade from Fort Hood, Texas, said the working group was critical because oftentimes Sergeants Major are not the decisionmakers with a predominant voice.
“Coming to something like this, it’s really good to hear and to see because we get to be at the forefront, and we get to bring information back to our units, and we also get to have a little bit more of that voice,” Breslin said. “And everybody is doing something different so it’s really interesting to see how what you might be doing at one place could either be expanded on or changed, or you might be doing something new that nobody else is doing, so it’s good to get that information and feedback.”
This is Breslin’s first year attending the working group and came here from Poland where the 504th EMIB is currently deployed. She said it was good to have joint partners attend the event.
“Interoperability is one of our key tasks that we are doing. We are working a lot with the Polish, the Romanians, the Germans, a lot of the different personnel that are there, so being able to hear from our partners is critical and understanding the rules of their NCO Corps and how they are utilized and how we can work together is so important,” she said. “There’s not going to be a war in the future where we are not working with our partners and so it’s critical to have them be a part of these discussions.”