Marines

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U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. Troy E. Black, the 19th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, meets with leaders from Marine Aircraft Group 29 and Marine Aircraft Group 26, 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, on Marine Corps Air Station New River, North Carolina, July 27, 2022. Black met with MAG-26 and MAG-29 leaders to discuss retention, promotion, and the importance of a coordinated plan for future career path for Marines in deactivating squadrons. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Joshua Crumback)

Photo by Lance Cpl. Joshua Crumback

Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps’ Zero-Base Review Summit

5 Aug 2022 | Lance Cpl. Joshua Crumback 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit

Sgt. Maj. Troy E. Black, the 19th Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, visited the Headquarters Staff, Staff Non-Commissioned Officer Academy on Camp Johnson, North Carolina, July 28, 2022. During Sgt. Maj. Black’s visit, he deliberated with senior enlisted members of the SNCOA staff on potential improvements and refinements for the future of Enlisted Professional Military Education.

“This week will ensure there is a very deep conversation on curriculum.” said Sgt. Maj. Black. “That curriculum will push as close to a zero-base from the bottom to the top assessment of the EPME.”

According to senior leaders, including Sgt. Maj. Black, EPME has not undergone a foundational or zero-based review in the last couple of years. This will ensure that the curriculum is up to date to ensure that leaders can train their Marines and ensure their readiness to rapidly respond to crisis and contingences around the globe.

“We accomplish the missions, but we don't necessarily train the force to do it in the most effective manner,” said Sgt. Maj. Black after concluding the zero-based review.

The Marine Corps needs to adapt quickly to overcome future problem sets and emphasize different aspects of enlisted professional education. In doing this, the Marine Corps is sustaining combat readiness and improving training to continue to outpace modern adversaries and future threats.

“We no longer distinctly teach in-depth unit training management,” said Sgt. Maj. Black. “In order to make the force more lethal, leaders must be able to develop and train their Marines.”

The ability for Marine leaders to have a more effective training management program for their unit is critical to ensuring Marines are trained to be technical and tactically proficient.

The EPME zero-based reviews comes as the Commandant of the Marine Corps has listed training and education a top priority, in support of the Campaign for Learning and the Marine Corps Force Design 2030 implementation efforts. The Marine Corps is continuing to revisit training and education, such as EPME, in order to make the force more adaptive and continue to be masters of their profession, important to competing and maintaining a strategic advantage over other potential adversaries.

“We always have different adversaries,” said Sgt. Maj. Daniel N. Heider, the Director of the Staff Non-Commissioned Officer Academy. “We have a different array of problem sets that we need to plan and train for.”

Having different adversaries requires the Marine Corps to adapt and train for different situations keeping the force ready to answer its nation's call at a moment’s notice.

“What we're trying to do is make sure our enlisted Professional Military Education aligns with one's ability to improve their critical thinking and their ability to deal with modern problems,” said Heider.