Thursday, March 26, 2009

Army NCOs Promote Professional Development with TNI

Indonesia’s first Warrior Leader Course led by Tentara Nasional Indonesia – Angkatan Darat (TNI-AD), or Indonesian army, instructors graduated March 25 in Indonesia, and marks the first time the nation led its own professional development class for its non-commissioned officers (NCOs).

Indonesia is one of the first nations in the Asia-Pacific region to take this step in their NCO development. NCOs are known as the backbone of the U.S. military and are tasked with mentoring junior officers and enlisted service members, while providing guidance to senior officers. They are recognized for their technical and tactical proficiency and their ability to adapt and overcome, often without receiving direction.

As evidenced by the implementation of the Warrior Leader Course, Indonesia is looking to develop some of these same characteristics in its own NCO Corps. This graduation highlights more than a year of significant efforts by the TNI-AD, working in conjunction with U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC), to establish a professional development system for its NCOs.

The idea of such a program was first discussed in 2007 at a concept development forum. By January 2008, Army Master Sgt. Gerald Daniel, from the Office of Defense Cooperation, was engaged in earnest discussions to establish the program.

The idea behind the program was not for the U.S. to train Indonesian NCOs, but rather to form a partnership with a mutual interest of furthering the competency of NCOs in the region.

Now, Daniel and his two counterparts, Army Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Pelayo from USARPAC International Military Affairs and Army Staff Sgt. Travis Snook from the NCO Academy Hawaii, are serving as advisors to a six-member cadre of TNI instructors. There were 53 students in the class that graduated March 25, all in the rank of second sergeant, which is equivalent to an enlisted five (E-5) rank in the U.S. military.

While the concept of enlisted development isn’t new to the U.S., it is one that is just taking hold throughout Asia-Pacific nations, with Indonesia at the forefront. Indonesia is currently working on developing not only the Warrior Leader Course, but also a platoon sergeants course and a company/first sergeant course. Their goal is to promote competent NCO leadership that is capable of further developing subordinate leaders.

This subordinate development will allow senior leadership to plan and prepare for future objectives, thus enhancing the overall success of their organization and the strength of the NCO Corps.

U.S. Pacific Command recognizes that a strong NCO Corps can enforce standards, discipline and individual readiness. This vital skill set will enable the Indonesian army to further participate in bilateral and multilateral engagements throughout the Asia-Pacific region and help increase the readiness of militaries to respond to operational or humanitarian contingencies.

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