Bottom line up front, establishing a strong Noncommissioned Officer Development Program within your unit will have a positive effect on everything your unit does. This command responsibility should not be taken lightly and can, with effort by everyone involved, enhance combat effectiveness and build better leaders.

As leaders, it is our responsibility to do everything we can to develop our Soldiers in a manner that will set them up for success and ensure our Army’s success well into the future. NCODP is part of that process. A well-run program will help your unit develop agile and flexible NCOs that are capable of leading Soldiers in any environment and under any conditions.

While this program is a commander’s program, the senior-enlisted leader in every unit is charged with managing the program. Make no mistake about it: you must take this responsibility seriously and understand that your unit will get out of it what you and your noncommissioned officers put into it.

It takes time and energy to build a program that makes a difference, but once you’ve established that your program is not a “check the block” program, it will become a powerful and indispensable part of your unit’s leader development program.

As stated in AR 350-1, Army Training and Leader Development, the goal of your unit’s program should be to develop and strengthen the skills, knowledge and abilities to train, deploy and lead Soldiers in combat. The program should involve battle-focused training and should coach subordinates to be totally committed to U.S. Army professional ethics, Warrior Ethos and the Soldier’s Creed.

I encourage you to take a look at your program and ask yourself, “Are we doing this?” If you’re not, talk to your chain of command and especially your NCOs. Figure out how you can adjust your program so that it will be value added to your unit.

Think of your unit’s NCODP as supporting fires for everything your unit and the Army does. A strong NCODP that has buy in from unit leadership and your NCOs, can be the spring board to take your unit and your Soldiers to an even higher level of proficiency and professionalism.

Phantom Warriors! Army Strong!