WASHINGTON (Army News Service, 4 OCT 16) — Noncommissioned
officers will play an increasingly significant role in the Army, said
Command Sgt. Maj. Scott C. Schroeder.
Schroeder, command sergeant major of U.S. Army Forces Command,
was on a “Soldier Readiness” panel at the Association of the United
States Army Annual Meeting and Exhibition, Oct. 4. Sgt. Maj. of the Army
Daniel Dailey introduced the panel.
“The chief [of staff of the Army] talks about teams; and every member of
the team needs to play their position and be experts at it,” and that
includes NCOs, Schroeder said.
For example, every sergeant should be leading by personal example.
That’s the “first tenant of leader development,” Schroeder said. Sergeants
should also know how to:
— train Soldiers on individual tasks
— ensure Soldiers’ equipment is working and not missing
— ensure Soldiers are not having problems such as financial or health
— ensure Soldiers are up to date with their professional military education
The bottom line, he said, is that sergeants are key to Army readiness.
Every one of their Soldiers should be deployable.
Schroeder then enumerated all of the responsibilities of NCOs from staff
sergeant through sergeant major, all of which had their beginning
foundation at the sergeant level.
The problem with NCOs today, he said, is not at the platoon and company
levels. They do well at readiness at this level.
However, when they get to the battalion and brigade levels at the combat
training centers, they’re “outside their comfort zone,” he said.
By that, Schroeder said he meant that engineers know engineer stuff and
infantrymen are comfortable with infantry tasks, “but they forget enablers.”
Enablers are critical to mission success because infantry needs to know
how to talk to engineers and other enablers to be successful on the
Over the last 15 years, the role of NCOs has diminished as contractors
have taken over much of the work NCOs have done in the past, such as
logistics and maintenance, said Kevin J. Bostick, U.S. Army Materiel
Command’s deputy chief of staff, G-4 for logistics integration.
“We relied too much on contractors,” he said. “Now, NCOs must be
responsible. They need to understand the supply system and distribution
system and what aspects available to them. It’s about core competency
and getting back to basics.”
Command Sgt. Maj. Gerald C. Ecker of U.S. Army Medical Command said
he wants the new medical Commander’s Portal to be accessible to NCOs,
not just officers.
Ecker said he thinks NCOs, particularly sergeants, should be the ones
ensuring their Soldiers under them are getting their medical and dental
appointments, as well as adequate sleep, activity and nutrition.
If the sergeants do all of that, readiness will greatly increase, he said.
“Let’s not just leave it up to the commanders,” he emphasized. The NCO
should be in the mission command process.