FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (Sept. 9, 2009) -- "Educating the Strategic Corporal: A Paradigm Shift" took first place in this year's Gen. William E. DePuy writing competition on leadership.

The theme for this year's contest at the Combined Arms Center was "Leadership Development from Initial Entry Training to the Battlefield."

The winning article by Dr. Kevin Stringer asserts that a change is needed in educating noncommissioned officers because the current operational environment requires advanced NCO leadership.

The first steps of change are taking place with redesign of the NCO education system to align curriculum with the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, according to Stringer. He says this will create a "more seamless team" of NCOs and officers that "speaks the same language."

The goal is to have Army field-grade officers and senior NCOs share a common frame of reference, Stringer explains. He adds that NCO education should include language training, cultural education, and interagency exchange opportunities.

The contest's 2nd-place award was captured by Lt. Col. Richard Malish for "Tactical Combat Casualty Care: A Case Study of Technical Professionalism in the NCO Corps."

Malek writes that because of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, NCOs in highly technical specialties have developed into "multidimensional experts." Using military occupational specialty 91W as an example, he demonstrates how NCOs are successfully taking on far greater responsibility than ever and, in the case of the Army medic, saving lives.

Malek concludes that NCOs across the Army in many specialties now possess levels of technical and professional expertise heretofore unseen in the Army.

The 3rd-place award went to Master Sgt. John Proctor for his manuscript "Developing NCO Leaders for the 21st Century."

Proctor's essay maintains that NCOs are the "principal agent of changes in a transforming force." It's important, he says, to establish training values that emphasize character development and self-awareness to "stay true to unchanging principles." He concludes that the NCO is the steward of the Army's heritage, traditions and values.

The 4th-place winner was Maj. Kenneth Williams for "The Noncommissioned Officer as Moral Exemplar."

Williams asserts that "Today's highly deployable Army needs NCOs who view themselves as moral agents and moral exemplars." He cites studies that indicate the significant influence that leaders have in both positive and negative ways, and demonstrates how "the most effective influence on moral development of members in any organization is the first-line supervisor."

Williams concludes that "preparation for battle goes beyond tactical and technical proficiency to include the moral application of lethal force."

Honorable-mention awards also went to the following:

Aca,!Ac Jose Delgado for "The Role of the NCO in Motivating and Training the Next Generation of Soldiers."

Aca,!Ac William King for "Military Education During Wartime - Fundamentals are Key to Versatility on the Battlefield."

Aca,!Ac Krista Selph for "Virtual Environments and the Army: Army Learning from Prospect to Leader."

Aca,!Ac Sgt. Jared Tracy for "Making Modernity Happen: NCO and Technology in Historical and Contemporary Perspectives."

Aca,!Ac Maj. (Ret) Donald Vandergriff for "A Journey from Wyoming to Kansas: The Revolution in Noncommissioned Leader Development has Already Begun."

Members of the panel who reviewed this year's contest submissions were: Training and Doctrine Command's Commander Gen. Martin E. Dempsey; Sgt. Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston; Founder of the School for Advanced Military Studies retired Brig. Gen. Huba Wass de Czege; and Research Professor of Military Strategy at the U.S. Army War College Dr. Leonard Wong.