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Army Spouse Leadership Development Course

At the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas, the Army’s
newest sergeants major are not the only ones preparing for major life
changes. The students’ spouses are also developing their own leadership
skills in the academy’s Spouse Leadership Development Course.

The 42-hour course prepares spouses of senior enlisted Soldiers for the
leadership support positions they will take on within their military
communities. Lectures and small group discussions focus on topics
such as conflict management, protocol, public speaking and team building.

Senior spouses’ roles within the Family Readiness Group are discussed
in detail, as well as military benefits and the multitude of programs and
resources available to Army families. Examinations are not conducted, but
the students are required to give a presentation. The course’s vision is to
expand senior spouses’ leadership capacity, broaden their opportunities
and recognize their significant contribution to readiness.

“Among the many topics in SLDC, we introduce spouses to the aspects
of senior level protocol and etiquette, media engagement, and the use of
social media,” said Sgt. Maj. Melissa O’Brien, SLDC director.

“They are about to be the face and voice of a new command supporting
their military spouse during changes of command, changes of
responsibility, memorial ceremonies, along with a whole host of other
installation events. Our goal is for spouses to understand how their role
transitions into one of leadership support beyond the company, battery,
or troop level where many of them actively served as Family Readiness
Group leaders. They bring a wealth of experience and knowledge, but
now it is time for them to mentor young spouses to carry on the role as
FRG leaders.”

The course, offered about once a month, is almost always full. Though it is
designed for the spouses of students attending USASMA, the course is
open to spouses of sergeants first class and above at Fort Bliss. Spouses
from other installations, the Army Reserve and National Guard are also
welcome to attend, but they are required to pay for their travel expenses.

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