I thought that I would get a blog entry out to you all, so you can know what we have been working on and what we have planned for 2017. Hopefully you enjoyed the blog entries written by some of our great TRADOC teammates (both military and civilian) and found the information useful. Personally want to thank them for conveying the message to you on the topics I thought were important while I was out moving around the TRADOC battle space.
Mrs. Fashel did a fantastic job on the last blog entry on ITCOP – institutional training common operating picture. She laid out its purpose and how to use the program, but it takes you to log on and check out the site. You have to do this, so you can provide the feedback on what else needs to be added, improved, or problems to make it a useful tool for you and leaders to get to school. Remember, that this is the exact same data that I see and is close to real time as we can get to where the empty seats are at by location. I have been asked in several emails, does ITCOP include One Army School System (OASS) locations? Simply put, it does, but it still requires everyone to work through their chain-of-command to secure the training seat.
So what have I been up to since the town hall? Well…
- I have been to the Department of Education and the Higher Learning Commission to discuss NCO2020
- Met with Army Training Information System (ATSC)/ TRADOC Capability Manager (TCM) Mobile to improve delivery of distance learning
- Met with the Department of Defense Joint Force Development (DoD J7) on leader and character development across all services
- Two separate meetings with the Sergeant Major of the Army (SMA) on leader development to lay out goals for 2017
- Met with civilian organizations that deliver distance learning so we can learn from them
- Attended the Army Leader Professional Forum/ Sexual Harassment Assault Response and Prevention (SHARP) conference
- Spoke at the Executive Leader Course to the next group of nominative command sergeants major (CSMs) and the way forward of pulling the course into Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development System (NCOPDS)
- Visited U.S. Military Entrance Processing Command (USMEPCOM)
- Visited several regional training activity centers (RTACs), regional training institutes (RTIs), and regional training sites maintenance (RTSMs) in Nebraska, Mississippi, and Wisconsin
- But the most impactful visit was to our local veterans administration hospital to spend some time with the staff that take care of our veterans and those that will not be able to make it home for the holidays
I share all of that so you know that there are a lot of things taking place to get at everything we discussed on the last three town halls.
As I mentioned earlier, I have been to several RTACs, RTIs and RTSMs over the past few weeks. I have to tell you how impressed I’ve been with those visits! I have found the cadre to be motivated and well trained. They have programs of instruction (POIs) and are teaching the required material to standard. Also investments are being made into the classrooms and facilities. So as we begin to schedule active component noncommissioned officers to these academies, it’s important to know that you are receiving the same standard of education, taught by leaders certified by TRADOC, and held to the same academic standards as in all TRADOC schools, regardless of where you are attending or which component is delivering the education.
In this upcoming year, look forward to seeing and hearing about the new structured self development (SSD) modules. I have seen and heard about concerns about the material contained in them. The team at Untied States Sergeant Major Academy (USASMA) has made this one of their top priorities to improve along with how we deliver the material. As well, we will begin the work on implementing common core through out all six levels of our military education professional military education (PME), and the examination of what we are teaching in the basic leader course (BLC).
I want to expand on my recent visit to our local VA hospital. I said it was my most impactful visits because I found a team of professionals working hard to improve this critical resource for veterans. Not only did I observe this with the leadership, but down in the wards as I walked around speaking with doctors, nurses, and patients. Our special troops battalion first sergeant, who wrote a blog a few weeks ago, was along with me so that we could spend sometime talking about readiness, training…really just catching up since I had been traveling so much. But we both saw a need to become more involved with our local veterans. 1st Sgt. Ross organized Soldiers to volunteer at their Christmas party, the TRADOC band played some carols through out the hospital and hospice unit, and a few of the local post organizations committed time to spend with these wonderful veterans. I can not think of a better way to demonstrate our Army’s program of Soldier for Life, with these simple acts. I’m very proud of these Soldiers, NCOs and family members that reached out to the hospital.
Finally, I plan to take some down time to spend with my family and recharge. I am excited for what 2017 holds for NCOPDS ranging from SSDs to OASS, hopefully you are seeing the commitment and effort to make all of these ideas into reality.
So all the best to you and your families during this holiday season. If you are home, take the time to enjoy this season with them. If you are deployed, look out for one another as the holidays are hard time to be away from family. Reach out to our veterans and others that maybe need someone to let them know we care and that they have value.
See you all in 2017!
(Pictured above: Command Sgt. Major Davenport talks with new Army recruits at the U.S. Army Military Entrance Processing Command during a recent visit to Chicago, Ill.)