Within the next several weeks, some 400,000 active and reserve enlisted soldiers will be asked to provide input for a research effort that likely will result in a redesign of the Noncommissioned Officer Education System.
Called NCO 2020, the project will focus on what NCOs need to learn as they pass through the tiers of professional development, when they need to receive training and where training will be delivered, according to Aubrey G. Butts, director of the Institute of NCO Professional Development, Fort Eustis, Va.
The redesign of the NCOES will be supported by an online survey of Regular Army, National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers in the ranks of sergeant through master sergeant and first sergeant. Survey participants will be drawn from a cross section of all military occupational specialties.
The survey will be fielded Sept. 24 and will close Oct. 23.
The Institute of NCO Professional Development, a Training and Doctrine Command organization, will use several means, including social media and Army Career Tracker, to notify soldiers of their selection for the survey, and to encourage them to participate, according to Tammy Bankus, a senior operations analyst with the INCOPD.
The survey will be Web-based, and will have 70 questions. On average, soldiers can complete the survey in about 30 minutes, Bankus said.
Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler said NCO 2020 responds to a mandate from Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno to adapt the leader development of soldiers to meet the challenges of what is expected to be a complex and uncertain security environment in the 2020s.
Chandler, Butts and other officials say that after 10 years of war and the press of operations and deployments, traditional methods for developing enlisted leaders probably are not appropriate for the future.
A major aspect of NCO 2020 will look at “how to rebalance institutional, operational and non-institutional training,” Chandler said.
While several research efforts in the past have focused on various aspects of the NCO Education System, none has looked at what, when and where specific topics for NCO development need to be learned.
Butts, a retired command sergeant major, said input from soldiers on NCOES issues is especially important to researchers “because it will show us where the gaps are.”
Danny R. Hubbard, deputy director of the INCOPD, said the upcoming survey gives soldiers an opportunity to not only influence how they will be developed, but how the Army will develop its enlisted leaders in the future.