By Chris Rasmussen, Fort Jackson LeaderJuly 15, 2010
FORT JACKSON, SC -- Fort Jackson is well on its way to becoming a fully-accredited TRADOC institution.
In March, a team of TRADOC staff, Combined Arms Center personnel and the deputy commanding general for Initial Military Training visited Fort Jackson to comb through every aspect of how TRADOC courses are being conducted.
"Just like any institution of higher learning, our schools and centers achieving accreditation gives credibility within the Army training community," said Gerald Henderson, deputy chief of staff of the U.S. Army Basic Combat Training Center of Excellence and Fort Jackson. "A Soldier or leader who trains here knows that the training he or she is receiving is current and relevant and that lesson plans are doctrinally correct and that the products have been vetted and meet a common Army standard."
The Drill Sergeant School, Victory University and the USABCTCoE were all inspected for accreditation. Each organization received an assessment rating, and the cumulative ratings are factored into an overall rating.
While the official results have not yet been formally announced, based upon the performance, all three will become fully accredited institutions.
"Receiving our first TRADOC accreditation is a significant achievement," said Col. Jeffrey Sanderson, chief of staff. "In essence, the accreditation is an external measure of how well we are executing our critical Basic Combat Training mission."
"It's incredible to receive such high marks from TRADOC," said Jacqueline Ortiz, deputy director of Victory University. "Accreditation is a formal recognition that we have met and in many cases exceeded the standards."
TRADOC has established multiple standards for its accreditation process; how well individuals are trained, documentation of training and usage of personnel are evaluated.
The evaluation process is done in three phases. First, institutions conduct an internal review, including surveying former and current students. The institution is then evaluated by TRADOC teams of subject-matter experts who check for compliance with accreditation standards. The final step is a follow-up inspection to make sure the schools are staying at accreditation standards.
"The greatest benefit for us locally is the confidence we gain in knowing that we been tested by multiple stringent standards and have met or in many cases exceeded those standards," Sanderson said.
Fort Jackson was praised for several functions and programs, including Victory Forge, the capstone field training exercise conducted before BCT graduation.
The installation also received "best practices" status during the evaluation on the officer development program, including the battalion commander leadership program, commanding general mentorship, guest speaker program and the Drill Sergeant and Advanced Individual Training Platoon Sergeant Resiliency Program, and more.
"Prior to this assessment, we thought we were a solid organization. Now we know we are a solid organization and having been tested and passing the test is worth its weight in gold," Sanderson said.