NCO Leadership Center of Excellence Streamlines In-Processing with Technological Know How.

By Andrew SmithApril 26, 2024

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The Noncommissioned Officer Leadership Center of Excellence serves over 300,000 Soldiers annually by providing varying levels of NCO training and education for Soldiers stationed all over the world. With those numbers any improvement in administrative functions can save valuable time and make the process easier and less stressful for Soldiers attending training.

Using widely available online tools, Soldiers and the NCOLCoE were able to create an in-processing system that saves hours for students and is easier for the staff.

The Department of Distance Education (DDE) in-processes approximately 640 students within a five-month period. In order to verify information on their records and input missing information, five instructors would meet with each of their students on the day of their arrival on campus. A process that typically takes about 10 minutes per student, totaling over six hours. The new process takes less than two hours thanks to online databases that are updated before students even arrive to Fort Bliss.

According to Master Sgt. Max Weinstock, a Master Leader Course facilitator, the process began when Sgt. Maj. Lisa Cowboy recognized a capability gap concerning the organizational resources required to in-process students attending Phase 3 of the Sergeants Major Course – Distance Learning (SMC-DL). “We requested Sgt. 1st Class Dustin Gomez's assistance from his previous experience in developing databases for units,” said Weinstock. “The objective was simple, develop a secure database that allows incoming Phase 3 students to provide all the necessary information required prior to their arrival. The guidance given to Sgt. 1st Class Gomez entailed the database having limited access to only need-to-know authority, and the survey is password access protected for only the students attending their specific class iteration.”

DDE organized a small project team that collaborated, developed, and produced a product that was ready for testing after a legal review. “The DDE leadership was very receptive to implementing this concept,” said Weinstock. “However it did meet some skepticism amongst the department instructors. This was until the survey proved true by reducing the manpower requirement down to only one individual and cutting down the in-processing time by over four hours.”

The time saving process consisted of creating an online questionnaire using Google Forms. The idea was to get these questions answered before students arrived on campus, which would save time on the first day of training which previously was largely dedicated to in-processing. After evaluating the appropriate quantity of information needed, the team produced a Quick Response (QR) code, a barcode like image that provides links to websites with the camera build into modern smart phones, that would be attached to the welcome package email making the online forum easy to access from any place at any time.

“The concept was innovative and exciting,” said Gomez, the NCOLCoE Command Career Counselor, involved in the roll out of the new process. “We are accustomed to doing things the ‘old way,’ and experiencing something new might be intimidating. Everyone was pleased with the outcome, which was made possible by the efforts of all DDE instructors.”

While numerous Soldiers from around the NCOLCoE were involved Weinstock gave credit to Sgt. 1st Class Gomez. “He is truly the unsung hero of this effort and should be recognized accordingly. Despite serving in an organization predominately staffed by Master Sergeants and above, he effectively showcased his self-taught skills, resulting in an immediate impact to how DDE now in-processes Phase 3 Distance Learning students.”

For their efforts and the success of their program Weinstock and Gomez were recognized as NCOLCoE ‘Squad Members of the Week’ and were awarded command coins by NCOLCoE Commandant Command Sgt. Maj. Tammy Everette.