By MAJ. GEN. JAMES MILANOJuly 28, 2010
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- I am very pleased to note that Fort Jackson was recently recognized for its performance within the Army training community. It is reassuring to know that we are well on our way in becoming a fully-accredited installation, which means that our education processes and training are meeting established standards.
The accreditation process began a few months back when a team from TRADOC visited Fort Jackson to examine how our courses are being conducted. We received three separate evaluations - training center staff functions, Victory University and the Drill Sergeant School. And, overall, the Basic Combat Training Center of Excellence received a full accreditation.
This is not a rubber-stamp process, by any means. It's a very complex and thorough examination of all training standards, focusing on such elements as approved course materials, student-to-teacher ratios, as well as training support categories to include the management of resources, materials, manpower and the evaluations of instructors.
I am not even going to get into the proponent functions category, nor the mandate that each school - prior to the examiners' visit - must put together a self-assessment on every one of its courses using the TRADOC accreditations standards. None of this is easy. But one of the best internal methods of ensuring we are conducting the best possible training is by doing an extensive self-evaluation.
Again, the purpose of the program is to ensure that students in Army schools are learning the right tasks to the appropriate standards. This ranges from qualified/certified instructors and mentors, with all the necessary equipment, supplies, support personnel and facilities to ensuring an atmosphere that is conducive to learning and supportive of an appropriate standard of military life.
As in all types of evaluations, there are areas identified that require organizations to refocus efforts, while at the same time there are those areas that stand out positively and are identified as "best practices."
Several best practices were identified during our evaluation, most notably our officer development program, the battalion commander leadership program, commanding general mentorship, the guest speaker program, the Drill Sergeant and AIT Platoon Sergeant Resiliency Program, our training program in support of the installation status report, our efforts toward knowledge management and a host of other endeavors.
Overall, one of the team's most noteworthy comments was that the BCTCoE staff, leaders and cadre "have a passion for meeting their mission and are doing an excellent job at training Soldiers and leaders."
I place a lot of importance on that observation, because that quality is garnered through pride in one's duty to accomplish the mission and one's self-discipline to ensure the mission is completed well. There is a tremendous amount of confidence to be gained through this process, as well, knowing that we not only have met many stringent standards, but in many cases, we have surpassed those expectations.
None of the results have been officially announced yet, but when they are, everyone affiliated with our training programs should take pride in knowing that his or her work has helped us qualify the quality of training and education a Soldier receives here.
Receiving our first TRADOC accreditation is indeed a significant achievement.
More important, however, is that a Soldier who receives training or takes a course here knows that he or she is receiving current and relevant instruction. Lesson plans are correct and the products have been vetted to meet a common Army standard.
Job well done by all involved in this very significant achievement!
Army Strong and Victory Starts Here!