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NCOs and the Modern Military

One of the most important truths in any field of endeavor is that the people with the most direct knowledge of conditions should have a say in making decisions about how to address those conditions. Unfortunately, it is also an important truth of nearly every organization that those people on the front lines have relatively little authority. This is true in the armed forces, where soldiers and sailors who are literally on the front lines have traditionally been excluded from any position of authority. However, that exclusion has been slowly and slightly lessening over the past several decades as non-commissioned officers (along with rank-and-file soldiers) have become better educated and better trained and as their historical contributions to the overall success of both strategy and execution have become increasingly recognized. This paper examines the importance of NCOs to the success of the modern American military.

The term NCO covers a number of ranks in the U.S. armed forces, including: Corporal E4, Sergeant E5, Staff Sergeant E6, Sergeant First Class E7, Master Sergeant E8, First Sergeant E9, Sergeant Major E9, Command Sergeant Major E9, Sergeant Major of The Army E9 ( and the contributions that NCOs make is in large measure dependent upon their rank as well as their own skills and experience and the branch of the armed forces in which they are serving.

NCOs occupy a place in the armed forces that lies between enlisted (or drafted) soldiers and the commission officers, many of whom have attended the service academies. The NCOs collectively train and care for enlisted soldiers, teaching them to be leaders through their own examples. Commissioned officers command their subordinates, but they would have no trained subordinates to command without the work that the NCOS do in preparing the men and women with whom they work. The job of the NCO can be seen to be analogous to t...

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NCOs and the Modern Military. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 08:31, October 26, 2020, from