GRAFENWOEHR, Germany -- Junior non-commissioned officers of the 709th Military Police Battalion, 18th MP Brigade, are taking advantage of a 10-day professional development course here Jan. 23 - Feb. 3, entitled "School of Leaders."

This program was designed by Timothy Lamb, the former 709th MP Bn. command sergeant major, and Sgt. Maj. Shannon Wilson, the 709th MP Bn. operations sergeant major, with intentions of enhancing the skills of young NCOs within the battalion.

"We all have seen a systemic degradation of standards, discipline, knowledge and initiative across the Army," said Master Sgt. Rusty Lane, the 709th MP Bn. intelligence noncommissioned officer in charge. "We as the battalion senior NCOs could continue to complain about it or do something."

"We initially looked across the board and identified subjects that were not being taught in the Non-commissioned Officer Education System any longer and what our NCOs were weak in," said Lane. "We then prioritized them accordingly."

The 709th MP Bn. leadership reached out to outside agencies such as the Wellness Center, Soldier 360 and the Army Substance Abuse Program, which provided subject matter experts to lend a helping hand to the future squad leaders and platoon sergeants of the battalion.

In addition, senior NCOs have instructed numerous lessons on weight control, leader books, land navigation and sponsorship as an example. The School of Leaders is currently in its third iteration and has received positive feedback during the end of course after action reviews.

"With all the time we spend training I don't get the time to research information," said Sgt. James Byrnes, a military policeman with the 615th MP Company and a native of Green Bay, Wis. "In this two-week course I get a lot of the answers that I didn't have before."

"It's a great refresher. You lose certain things during deployments," said Sgt. Daryl Thompson, a human resource specialist with the 554th MP Co. "Going back to the basics before the war started will help me become a more effective leader."

The long term goal of the 709th MP Bn. is to educate squad leaders and team leaders so the subordinate unit leadership can administer the course within their organizations.

"Getting back to the basics and re-implementing the standards, showing what right looks like with a standard across the board really defines the future leaders that we are training to step into our shoes" said Byrnes.

"As Senior NCOs it is our duty to ensure our Junior NCOs are getting all they possibly can from us," said Lane. "It is our job to grow our replacements."