Staff Sgt, Mark Lynas calls for a team member during a mission in Afghanistan. The Army wants input from soldiers on how to revamp NCO education. (Senior Airman Grovert Fuentes-Contreras / Air Forc)
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For information on NCO 2020 and to access the survey, go to Army Career Tracker and these social media sites:
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Several hundred thousand active and reserve enlisted soldiers are being urged to participate in a research effort that probably will result in a redesign of the Noncommissioned Officer Education System.
The NCO 2020 Survey, one of the most ambitious polling efforts ever conducted by the Army, was launched Sept. 25 with the goal of eliciting opinions and recommendations from 400,000 soldiers of the Regular Army, National Guard and Army Reserve.
The survey population includes soldiers in the ranks of sergeant through master sergeant in most specialties of the enlisted MOS inventory.
Originally targeted for completion Oct. 23, the survey has been extended to Nov. 14 because of the government shutdown and to ensure that the most NCOs possible can contribute to the data-gathering effort.
The deadline extension will be particularly helpful to National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers, many of whom are furloughed government workers who are expected to take the survey during weekend drills, said Sgt. Maj. Tammy Harris, the Army Reserve total force integrator with the Institute of NCO Professional Development.
As of Oct. 9, some 46,300 soldiers had completed the survey, while another 17,000 had accessed the questionnaire, but had not yet completed answers to the 70-question poll, according to Sgt. Maj. Trefus Lee, sergeant major of the Institute of NCO Professional Development at Fort Eustis, Va.
Lee said the participation rate is lower than desired and that the Army is making a push now to increase the number of soldiers who take the survey. Included in that marketing effort is a recent message from Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond Chandler, which encourages NCOs to participate in the project.
“We need soldiers to provide good data that we can use for the way ahead for the NCO corps,” Lee said. “It’s imperative at this point in the survey that we have maximum support from all NCOs in this effort.”
“If we don’t participate, we have no excuse for how the NCO of 2020 (program) will look,” said Sgt. Maj. Michael Coker, Army National Guard total force integrator with INCOPD.
Survey data will provide research input for NCO 2020, a program that likely will result in the redesign of the Noncommissioned Officer Education System.
A major aspect of NCO 2020 project will look at “how to rebalance institutional, operational and noninstitutional training,” according to Chandler.
While several research efforts in the past have focused on various aspects of NCOES, none has looked at what, when and where specific topics for NCO development need to be learned.
The Institute of NCO Professional Development, a Training and Doctrine Command organization, notifies soldiers of their selection for the survey, and follow-up weekly reminders to take the survey, through the online Army Career Tracker application and social media outlets Facebook and Twitter.
The survey takes most people about 30 minutes to complete, longer if they provide detailed comments.
“This is a longer survey than most soldiers have taken before, but it’s not every day that you are asked by senior leaders to provide input on how we can effectively change the force for the future,” said Master Sgt. Lawrence Payne, a senior military research analyst at Fort Eustis who has taken the survey.
“Taking the survey and answering those 70 questions is really a small task compared to the importance of the survey,” Payne said.