Joint Staff Preparing NCO Education, Internships

Credibility, understanding, relationships and exposure are the four foundations needed to build joint leaders, and the Joint Staff is looking at a program to build joint senior enlisted leaders.

“The U.S. military excels at building [noncommissioned officers] that can take mission command and extend the commander’s reach,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Shane Pilgrim, the Joint Staff’s Chief of Joint Enlisted Leader Development. “We are an officer led, NCO-driven organization.”

Building the lethality that Defense Secretary James N. Mattis wants in the military requires a more-educated NCO, able to handle the intricacies of a technologically and politically complex world, Pilgrim said. He has been working closely with Army Command Sgt. Maj. John W. Troxell, the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

One of only a few hundred enlisted personnel on the Joint Staff, Pilgrim is basing the program on an Army officer internship program. In that program, post-company-command captains come to Washington to study for a year at Georgetown University, then serve a year on the Joint Staff, followed by a year in broadening assignments in other areas.

Sequential Nature

“I like the sequential nature of it,” Pilgrim said. “I didn’t think we needed a degree-awarding program, but we could use the year to provide education in things like Joint-Combined…

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