By Karen S. Parrish, USAREUR Public AffairsOctober 25, 2006
KIEV, Ukraine Aca,!" U.S. Army, EuropeAca,!a,,cs command sergeant major says he is a man on a mission: promoting the growth of a professional noncommissioned officer corps in the militaries of coalition nations.
Command Sgt. Maj. Iuniasolua Savusa often travels through Germany, Italy and the Benelux, meeting with Soldiers, noncommissioned officers and other leaders to discuss training and NCO professional development.
His mission this week remains the same, but the territory is very different.
Savusa has visited Azerbaijan and the Republic of Georgia, and is currently in the Ukraine. His main objective at every stop, he said, is to assess and offer assistance in developing these armiesAca,!a,,c NCO corps.
The three nations are very different, but each has deployed troops to Iraq and Afghanistan is support of coalition efforts in fighting the Global War On Terror, each is developing an NCO corps as a prerequisite for NATO membership, and each has a military based on the former Soviet Union armyAca,!a,,cs force structure and doctrine.
One Georgian brigade sergeant described an NCOsAca,!a,,c duties under the old system as doing the Aca,!A"dirty workAca,!' Aca,!" manual tasks, not training and leading Soldiers.
That role has begun to change in each of the countries Savusa is visiting, and he came prepared to offer help in pushing that change.
Monday, Savusa spoke to a group of Azerbaijani officers serving as faculty at that countryAca,!a,,cs Armed Forces Training and Education Center. He praised their soldiersAca,!a,,c service in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo, and offered help in training their armyAca,!a,,cs sergeants by accepting them as students at USAREURAca,!a,,cs Noncommissioned Officer Academy in Grafenwoehr, Germany.
Aca,!A"If you send your soldiers to our academy, they can then return to Azerbaijan to train other soldiers, or serve as NCOs in one of your units,Aca,!' he said. Aca,!A"We fully understand our system may not encompass everything you want, but our academy could serve as a start.Aca,!'
As Azerbaijan currently has a mostly conscript military Aca,!" service is compulsory for men Aca,!" with a high turnover, sergeantsAca,!a,,c ranks are still undermanned. But the force is changing; Azerbaijan instituted an NCO training course in 2004 and has worked extensively to transform its military.
U.S. military representatives serving at the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan, as well as Oklahoma Army National Guard troops and a range of NATO forces, have assisted by coordinating seminars, visits, courses and training exercises with AzerbaijanAca,!a,,cs forces.
The Oklahoma Guard is AzerbaijanAca,!a,,cs counterpart in NATOAca,!a,,cs Partnership for Peace program, which pairs mature and developing military forces in ongoing relationships to increase interoperability among armies and to help developing forces meet NATO standards.
The commandant of AzerbaijanAca,!a,,cs military training center, Col. Anver Efendiyev, praised U.S. forces who have worked with his nationAca,!a,,cs military, and expressed interest in sending their junior NCOs to Grafenwoehr to attend USAREURAca,!a,,cs Warrior Leader Course.
Aca,!A"We are making changes in the system. We are producing platoon sergeants,Aca,!' Efendiyev said. Aca,!A"But we donAca,!a,,ct have enough trained NCOs. We have just started this work.Aca,!'
He said his nationAca,!a,,cs soldiers benefit from teaming up with U.S. forces.
Aca,!A"We are a very young army, and our junior ranks are entirely conscripts,Aca,!' he said. Aca,!A"Yours is a professional army.Aca,!'
Savusa told Azerbaijani officers a trained NCO corps Aca,!" with legally defined authority Aca,!" is vital to establishing a professional army. Therefore, the training center commandant said that he will request legislation outlining the duties and responsibilities of noncommissioned officers.
Aca,!A"NCOs have to be empowered by the officers in your army, to have the authority to maintain discipline,Aca,!' Savusa said. Aca,!A"As your military transforms, U.S. Army, Europe and 7th Army stand ready assist you.Aca,!'
In Georgia, NCOs are more firmly established: team, squad, company, battalion and brigade sergeants are in place. The German military runs an NCO training course that Maj. Darren Smith, deputy of U.S. European CommandAca,!a,,cs Office of Defense Cooperation in Georgia, said focuses on mid-career NCOs. Aca,!A"ItAca,!a,,cs much like our basic and advanced NCO courses,Aca,!' he said.
Savusa said while he doesnAca,!a,,ct want to disrupt the German-run courses, one of his objectives in visiting Georgia was to offer Ministry of Defense officials there access to the Warrior Leader Course, which could provide a foundation for their NCO training program.
Another training suggestion lies at the other end of the NCO education system spectrum: the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy.
During a round-table discussion Tuesday with 20 Georgian senior NCOs, Savusa raised the topic of attendance at USASMA, receiving a unanimously positive response.
The brigade sergeant for the Georgian 1st Infantry Brigade, Bde. Sgt. Manuchar Davituri, said the sergeant major course is Aca,!A"very critical to us.Aca,!'
Speaking through an interpreter, Davituri said, Aca,!A"We do not have the background in training that your NCOs receive. We need a thorough understanding of the theory of military science, and this course would be very important in that.Aca,!'"