Wednesday, November 29, 2017

SEAC: Educated, Empowered Enlisted Leaders Needed in Joint Environments

By Jim Garamone DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2017 — Warfare is increasingly transregional, multidomain and multifunctional and professional military education must keep pace with these changes, the senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said recently.

Following a meeting of the Enlisted Military Education Review Council at the National Defense University here last week, Army Command Sgt. Major John W. Troxell said the military “has to develop our noncommissioned officers and petty officers to function in [an] environment” where threats continue to grow and become more complex.

Troxell noted that the military is becoming an increasingly joint force at lower levels. In the train, advise and assist missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said, joint force squads are led by staff sergeants.

Looking to the future, the question becomes how to train and educate “the next senior enlisted advisor to the chairman or [U.S.] Pacific Command senior enlisted leader or sergeant major of the Army?” he said.

Enlisted Leader Attributes

The Enlisted Military Education Review Council seeks to find the answers to these questions. The members are senior enlisted leaders for the services’ training commands, key members of the Joint Staff and representatives from National Defense University. “This is designed to figure out the direction we want to go as a joint force,” the sergeant major said, and how the services can develop leaders in a joint environment.

Specifically, the council looks at achieving the chairman’s six approved enlisted leader attributes:

-- The ability to operate on commander’s intent and enable mission command at all levels;

-- The ability to make sound and ethical decisions based on the values and standards of the profession of arms;

-- The ability to use available resources to enhance the discipline, readiness, resiliency and health of the force;

-- The ability to anticipate, communicate and mitigate risks;

-- The ability to operate in joint, inter-agency, intergovernmental and multinational environments; and

-- The ability to think critically and develop agile and adaptive leaders.

“We expect every noncommissioned officer and petty officer in the United States military to be able to execute at their appropriate level -- whether it is the tactical, operational or strategic level,” Troxell said.

In other words, these attributes apply to all levels of the enlisted force -- a corporal needs to have these qualities as much as a master chief petty officer does, the sergeant major said.

The council meets to get reports from the services to ensure they are able to incorporate these leader attributes through their service training or complemented through joint training.

“It’s just to get a pulse on how we are doing building on what I call our greatest competitive advantage -- trained, educated and empowered enlisted leaders,” he said.

Building Joint Leaders

The services are taking this to heart, Troxell said, and they are taking advantage of career-broadening assignments. He noted that civilian education “helps with the cognitive aspects of what we are doing.”

But each service has a leader development model that trains young noncommissioned officers to grow, develop and operate effectively in their service specific environments, Troxell said.

In the past, he said, there was no joint model that complemented what the services were doing. The joint force needed a blueprint that allowed noncommissioned officers to be competent and focused not only in their parochial lanes, but also a joint or multinational environment, Troxell said.

The review council’s discussions have led to the development of online Senior Enlisted Joint Professional Military Education-1 and SEJPME-2 courses, Troxell said. Senior enlisted personnel also can now access the Joint and Combined Warfighting School, which traditionally has trained only officers. And finally, there is now the Keystone Course for command senior enlisted leaders, which is the equivalent of the Capstone Course for flag and general officers.

There is progress, Troxell said, but more needs to be done. The council recommended increasing enlisted attendance at the Joint and Combined Warfighters School. “We want to reach a bigger audience of senior enlisted [personnel],” he said. The school has 13 seminar groups per course, and the sergeant major said he would like to have a senior enlisted leader in each.

“As we develop this joint leader policy, we want to develop a policy from the chairman that talks about joint leader development,” he said.

The council recommended increasing Keystone attendance to reach a larger target audience, Troxell said. “We want to hit non-command select senior enlisted leaders -- meaning operations sergeants major, master gunnery sergeant[s] and other senior staff NCOs,” he said.

The council has met annually since its formation, but at the most recent meeting members decided that it needs to meet every six months, Troxell said.

Military OneSource Highlights Commitment to Military in ‘Our Promise to You’

By Lisa Ferdinando DoD News, Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2017 — Around the world, day or night, service members and their families have access to the free, confidential resources at Military OneSource to obtain support in a variety of areas.

Military life can get complicated with its unique challenges, frequent moves, deployments and long separations from family, Julie Blanks, the acting deputy assistant secretary of defense, military community and family policy, said.

Those complications can have an impact on force readiness, she said, underscoring the importance of the resources offered through Military OneSource, a Defense Department-funded program.

"Military OneSource has one mission -- to stand ready and serve as the one source connecting service members and their families to their best [military life],” Blanks said.

‘Our Promise to You’

As part of its commitment to service members and their families, Erika Slaton, a Military OneSource program analyst, said the program launched the “Our Promise to You” initiative that is featured prominently on the website.

“Our promise is to be that one source that stands ready to assist the military community — giving service members and their families the expert support and information they need,” she said.

The commitment includes being available 24/7 to service members and their families, Slaton said. “We have the answers that they can depend on -- our sole mission is them.”

Military OneSource offers resources in areas to include deployment support, education and employment, language translation, health and wellness, morale and recreation, relationships and stress management, resilience tools to include confidential nonmedical counseling, personal finance counseling and MilTax free tax services.

Support is Available 24/7

The ‘Our Promise to You’ initiative is aimed at spreading the word about the myriad of resources available to service members and their families, Slaton said, pointing out that while Military OneSource is effective, research indicates there is a lack of awareness of the program.

“All of Military OneSource services are completely free for service members and their families,” she said. “We want them to know that they can access Military OneSource via the call center [at 800-324-9647] or the website, 24/7, no matter where they live or serve,” she said.

Those eligible for Military OneSource resources include active-duty service members, National Guardsmen and reservists, new veterans, military families and survivors. Slaton recommends checking out the website for further information on resources and eligibility.

New York National Guard Delivers Christmas Trees for Troops

By Air Force Staff Sgt. Stephanie J. Lambert, New York Air National Guard

BALLSTON SPA, N.Y., Nov. 29, 2017 — New York National Guard airmen and soldiers volunteered their time to fill up a delivery truck with donated Christmas trees bound for military families at the Ellms Family Farm here, Nov. 27.

This is the 13th year that the National Guard troops turned out alongside veterans and Patriot Guard Riders to assist in the nationwide Trees for Troops initiative.

According to its website, the Patriot Guard Riders is a nonprofit volunteer organization, which ensures dignity and respect at memorial services honoring fallen military heroes, first responders and honorably discharged veterans.

Some three dozen volunteers were on hand to support the packing of trees with donated decorations and loading them for shipment.

A ‘Little Slice of Home’

“Having that little slice of home is a great reminder of how much the home front cares,” said Chip Ellms, owner of the tree farm and coordinator of the event.

Approximately 150 trees donated by 15 local tree farms in upstate New York were loaded onto a FedEx truck headed to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where they will be distributed to military families.

The Ellms family grows almost 800 trees per acre on 50 acres on the farm north of Albany. The operation stated in 1983 and has grown to become a year-round tourism attraction.

The Ellms trees added to more than 200,000 trees donated since 2005 by the national program of the Christmas Spirit Foundation, in partnership with FedEx. The partnership delivers farm-grown trees to U.S. military personnel and their families from all service branches stationed at more than 60 bases worldwide.

Many of the National Guard volunteers have previously deployed during the holidays and spoke about the impact that this kind of event can have on a deployed soldier or airman.

Air Force Airman 1st Class John Lawlor, a medical technician assigned to the 139th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, part of the 109th Airlift Wing at Stratton Air National Guard Base in Scotia, New York, knows firsthand what it’s like to be without a family member on Christmas.

‘People Truly do Care’

“My whole life, my father has been away every year so it hits close to home for me. People truly do care,” he said.

Lawlor’s father, Air Force Chief Master Sgt. John Lawlor, is also assigned to the 109th Airlift Wing, and has deployed annually as part of the support of Operation Deep Freeze to Antarctica. The mission coincides with the holiday season every year.

Among the other volunteers was Edward Czuchrey, a Patriot Guard Rider and retired Air Force master sergeant.

“I think it’s a wonderful thing these folks do for the veterans; we do anything we can to help,” Czuchrey said.

The trees were packed with holiday decorations and cards made by children from the local Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake elementary and middle schools.