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Chapter VI


" The more a Leader is in the habit of demanding from his men, the surer he will be that the demands will be answered." (Clausewitz)

The NCO has been the vital glue holding together any army. His has been the driving professionalism, discipline, bravery and caring that makes an army successful in war. He fights the daily battles for training, caring for and sustaining his men. He leads, instructs, checks, double-checks, talks with the men, watches the battle develop and is prepared to take charge at any moment. he NCO's stock-in-trade is experience. That is what he has which no one else in the Army has in anywhere like the same amount. He gains his knowledge slowly by that hardest of schools: personal experience. He then passes along that knowledge by personal contact with his soldiers. This experience is often critical for unit success. An observer at the NTC once pointed out how critical the NCO was for battle success.

These are his words: " One of the points that I almost always bring up in my after action review is that a lot of small things that happen, particularly at the TOC and trains, like NBC defense, security of the trains area, moving the TOC, etc., the success or failure of those events are directly linked to the strengths of the NCOs in those sections. We've found over and over units with strong experienced officers that tried to do it all and couldn't. They could not do the planning and look to all the details I've just mentioned. There are just not enough hours in the day.... The guys who weren't comfortable with NCOs tried to do it all and collapsed on the fourth day.... The good units were blessed with NCOs who came out here with the attitude of, You're not going to tell me how to do this 'cause that is my job. You just tell me what, and I'll do it."

This is the year of the NCO. If you are good, be better! Learn your job as completely as you can. Learn how to care for your soldiers without developing a false sense of caring for them by making life easy for them. If you supervise NCOs, give them more responsibility and the authority to execute and hold them accountable to prove to you they can handle the job. A valuable resource like our NCOs should be used and pushed to its limit; anything else would be a waste. Make this the best year your unit ever had.

Table of Contents
Chapter V: A General's Perspective
Chapter VII: Further Reading

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One Billion Americans: The Case for Thinking Bigger - by Matthew Yglesias