SAN ANTONIO (Jan. 8, 2016) — During the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, 30 Army ROTC cadets from across the country are serving as cadet marshals, providing leadership and examples of being a team player to the athletes and band members performing at the game this week. Today, the cadets received a little mentoring of their own from cadet command leadership at an officer professional development session.
Maj. Gen. Peggy Combs, commander of U.S. Army Cadet Command and Fort Knox; Brig. Gen. Sean Gainey, cadet command deputy commanding general; and Command Sgt. Maj. Gabriel Arnold, command sergeant major of cadet command, led the professional development, providing guidance and answering questions from the cadets.
Combs fielded various questions from the cadets, with several about the cadet leader course, or CLC, and cadet summer training changes.
“I believe CLC this last year got us one step closer to where we wanted to be,” she said. “We introduced the OTM [observer-trainer-mentor] concept this year, and we did away with lanes. It was more of an immersive scenario. This year, it will be a completely immersive experience from the start.
“Last year, you were in the field for nine days and, this year, it will be 13 days. It will be structured free play, 24/7, much like we do at JRTC [Joint Readiness Training Center] and NTC [National Training Center], it will be an immersive environment with OPFOR [opposing force] that’s dedicated to each company.”
Combs added that not all of the upcoming changes will be physical/training modifications.
“Another change to CLC this year is that we are going to do EQ, emotional quotient/social intelligence testing, so that everyone understands where they’re at as far as their ability to interact interpersonally with others,” she said. “I think leadership, fundamentally, at its very roots, is nothing more than a relationship between the leader and the led. If you can’t relate to one another, how can you motivate and inspire others to commit to a mission if you can’t connect as a person? If you can’t relate to people, you can’t be an effective leader.”
One more change to this upcoming year is plans to give cadets a more hands-on experience as a part of their branch orientation.
“We’re having the branches out there with you, so if you have aviation support and they come in for an air insertion mission, you’ll have that first lieutenant platoon leader there to talk to you about what they do as an aviation officer. What a better environment to learn about them and see them performing their job rather than at a display,” Gainey said.
Combs shared her hopes that all of the new changes to upcoming summer training will further refine the officer producing process.
“We don’t care as much about if you just get the tactics 100 percent right compared to ‘were you able to think on your feet? Did you develop the situation? Did you collaborate with your team, and did you make a decision and move out?’ – because the worst thing can do as a leader is do nothing and not make a decision,” she said. “We want complex problem solving, and we want our young leaders to actually think their way through situations. It’s going to be much more complex this year, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”