Best Defense

Thomas E. Ricks' daily take on national security.

Fixing the Army (VII): Learn some languages, close the Sgt. Maj.’s academy

I’m ending the “Fixing the Army” series with this installment. The rest of the 66 steps to enlightenment were about uniforms and I didn’t care about blousing this and eyelets that, so Petronius summarized all that back in the last item of his second installment. But if you enough of you want, I can plead ...

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I'm ending the "Fixing the Army" series with this installment. The rest of the 66 steps to enlightenment were about uniforms and I didn't care about blousing this and eyelets that, so Petronius summarized all that back in the last item of his second installment. But if you enough of you want, I can plead with him to do another installment on that stuff.

My thanks to Petronius (USA, ret.) for his series, which provoked a series of interesting discussions.

By "Petronius Arbiter"

I’m ending the “Fixing the Army” series with this installment. The rest of the 66 steps to enlightenment were about uniforms and I didn’t care about blousing this and eyelets that, so Petronius summarized all that back in the last item of his second installment. But if you enough of you want, I can plead with him to do another installment on that stuff.

My thanks to Petronius (USA, ret.) for his series, which provoked a series of interesting discussions.

By “Petronius Arbiter

Best Defense department of Army affairs

Leader Development

  • Require all new officers who acquired a commission utilizing Army funding (ROTC, West Point) to have obtained four years of a foreign language in pre-commissioning education in order to be granted the education. Army should dictate what language cadets take based on language aptitude test and needs of the service. Long term impact on officer corps’ ability to deal with the complex world will be phenomenal. This doesn’t mean they will have fluency, just that they can better develop fluency if in the long term interest of the Army.
  • Eliminate Sergeant Majors Academy (USASMA). Restructure key NCO development schools, Battle Staff Course, under Institute of NCO development as a staff section of TRADOC. Apply saved resources to increase WLC, ALC and SLC, the significant leadership development NCOES schools. USASMA is not additive to the effectiveness of the Army.
  • Improve standards and standards enforcement in NCOES. If they fail a course, they don’t get promoted. Don’t take that into account in determining pass/fail. Some attrition is good. Likewise if an officer fails a course in OES, they should be considered to revert to enlisted status.

 

Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military from 1991 to 2008 for the Wall Street Journal and then the Washington Post. He can be reached at ricksblogcomment@gmail.com. Twitter: @tomricks1

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