Released by the Public Affairs Office Fort Leavenworth, KansasNoncommissioned officers (NCOs) in the Active Component, Army Reserve, and Army National Guard now have a formal way to raise their leader development issues within the NCO Corps. This capability is part of the newly established Enlisted Leader Development Network (ELDN), proposed by the Leader Development Office of the Center for Army Leadership (CAL) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and approved by the Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA).
The process which replaces a system that was not user-friendly Callows soldiers to bring leadership development issues forward for discussion or resolution. The network puts into place a system that allows the review and assessment of leadership issues, and monitors courses of action (COAs) to ensure that NCO leader development produces qualified soldiers and NCOs capable of training and leading soldiers.
A CAL spokesperson at the Command and General Staff College said that the deputy commandant of the Command and General Staff College is the Army Chief of Staff's executive agent for leader development in the U.S. Army. The leader development program includes officers, warrant officers, enlisted, Reserves, National Guard, and civilians. Army Regulation 600-100, Army Leadership, tasks CAL's Leader Development Office with assessing, developing, coordinating, and monitoring all leader development issues from concept to completion.
The ELDN process comprises six steps to support the leadership assessment system. These six steps are receiving the issues, assigning the lead and assisting agencies, posting it to the website, briefing the sergeants major (SGMs), entering the issue into the Leader Development Support System (LDSS), if necessary, and following up with the source.
The ELDN spokesperson defined leader development as having three pillars: institutional training, operational assignments, and self-development. These are the areas that the network is designed to address. He stressed that the network was not established to tackle personal or chain-of-command type problems, but rather leader development issues that affect the NCO corps in general.
Entering the network is simple. The address for the ELDN home page is www-cgsc.army.mil/cal/eldn/eldnfr.htm on the home page, the system prompts the individual(s) wishing to address a leader development issue to provide requested information (name, organization, telephone number, and E-mail address). They are asked to provide as much information as possible to support the issue: to state the problem, explain why it should be changed, and propose a solution. The person who initiates the issue need not be an NCO, although the network addresses NCO leadership concerns.
Interested parties can submit issues by methods other than the ELDN website: E-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org), telephone (commercial (913) 758-3217 or DSN 585-3217), and U.S. mail. The mailing address is Command and General Staff College, Center for Army Leadership, ATTN: SGM Jessen, Eisenhower Hall Building #120, Room 151, 250 Gibbon Avenue, Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027-2314.
The issue will be reviewed and logged by the CAL Leader Development Office SGM to ensure the issue is a bona fide leader development issue. The review also determines a lead and assist agency, which is then tasked through the Sergeant Major of the Army to assess the issue. An issue might involve one of the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) schools, for instance.
The proponent SGM for the school would become the lead agent, but he may need assistance from TRADOC, especially if the issue involves changing allotted time for a program of instruction. The TRADOC command sergeant major (CSM) would then be involved as the assisting agent. At the same time the lead and assist agencies are tasked, the issue would be sent to the field for discussion among senior SGMs and CSMs. The lead and assist agencies do the assessment of the issue. This includes conducting a needs assessment, drafting the recommendation, identifying points of contact, establishing milestones and completion dates, identifying resources, tracking discussion, developing COAs, reporting current status to the CAL proponent office, and assisting in briefing the Enlisted Leaders Development Council (ELDC).
The next step in the network is for the CAL SGM to personally brief the members of the ELDC. This is done semiannually or as the Sergeant Major of the Army directs. The council receives briefings on all issues: proposed issues, current open issues, and issues completed since the last briefing.
Each member of the ELDC receives a "read-ahead" packet with the issues prior to the briefing
with the understanding that the SGM council member will get together with his or her commander. This is important because the SGMs must know their commanders' intent and have their support on the issue so that the right decisions are made when the council meets.
Although there will be some discussion, the council will determine at the briefing whether further assessment is needed; whether an issue has been resolved; or whether it will enter the LDSS because the issue cannot be resolved at council level. The issues that enter the LDSS are the issues that the council strongly recommends. However, because they involve dollars or human resources, they must go to the CSA for approval.
To ensure the ELDN "loop" is closed, the individual who originally brought up the issue is notified when the assessment and resolution of the issue is completed. The information is also posted on the ELDN webpage. We think that is a very important piece to "come to closure."
The beauty of the ELDN is that it eliminates the redundancy of issues being raised repeatedly at meetings and conferences without resolution, and establishes a one-source list of all issues and their current disposition. Perhaps most importantly, according to the spokesperson, "We spend the dime and save the dollar by allowing NCOs the opportunity to resolve issues quicker at the lowest level."