Wednesday June 9, 2010
What is it?
The Army Non Commissioned Officer Education System (NCOES) Backlog is made up of Soldiers who have been promoted without receiving the requisite training/NCOES course required for the grade level. Due to optempo and the non availability of Soldiers, the backlog steadily increased over the past years. As a result, there are Soldiers that are in danger of not being considered for promotion to the next grade level or those who do not have the required skill sets for their current grade.
What has the Army done?
Some of the initiatives designed to increase attendance at Professional Military Education (PME) include restructuring the promotion point worksheet for specialist to sergeant, and sergeant to staff sergeant promotions and providing more options for Soldiers selected to attend a PME course coinciding with a PCS move. PME will also be more available during the Reset and Training Phases for all high density and some lower density MOSs by using Mobile Training Teams and extending academic hours and weekend training in resident courses.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
As always, it is a commander's responsibility advised by their senior enlisted leaders, to get eligible Soldiers and NCOs into their required PME. There will be increased emphasis on monthly or quarterly counseling for Soldiers and NCOs, followed by taking responsibility to get these individuals scheduled for their required PME.
Why is this important to the Army?
The number of NCOs needing to attend their required PME courses continues to grow. While the operational environment and tempo of deployment cycles for units contributes greatly to the availability and opportunity for NCOs and Soldiers to attend school, it does not justify nor is it a good reason for avoiding professional development. Supervisors and subordinates alike should never find reasons not to attend or avoid attendance at PME. Leadership is crucial to the success of the U.S. Army and Soldiers who choose leadership training are making it clear that they wish to take on more responsibility and thus rise in rank.
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"We've focused for decades on physical fitness to prepare for combat and now we're focusing on the mental side. The stigma against getting help with mental health lies on both Soldiers and leaders. We've done a lot to educate the leaders on this, now we're working to eliminate the stigma on the Soldier's side."
- Sergeant Maj. of the Army Kenneth O. Preston, speaking about the Army's plan for the continued complete fitness and well-being of Soldiers
"For so long, we focused on the physical part, the APFT (Army Physical Fitness Test). We focused on someone being proficient in whatever weapon or equipment they operate. Now, we get to focus on the individual a little bit more. Now, we have the complete package of mind, body and soul - for lack of a better word. Now, we have a complete Soldier, and a more holistic approach, as far as how we address Soldiers and how we take care of them."
- Maj. Reginald Barnes, chief of the Resiliency and Risk Reduction Branch, ARNG Readiness Center, speaking about the Recruit Sustainment Program which now also focuses on building coping mechanisms and resiliency skills among new recruits
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