Service members from the Kansas Army National Guard provided professional development to military students from Armenia’s National Defense Research University during a virtual exchange from Topeka to Armenia, Jan. 26-27, 2022.
Lt. Col. Dana Graf, commander, 2nd Battalion, 130th Field Artillery Regiment, and Command Sgt. Maj. Douglas Spencer, 2nd Battalion, 130th Field Artillery Regiment, led a discussion with Armenian officers that covered the U.S. Army officer and noncommissioned officer relationship. The main topic was the development of the Command Team concept, where a unit’s commander and senior enlisted member work together to build the foundations of culture and trust required to successfully lead their Soldiers.
“There are obviously organizational and cultural differences between our armed forces, and those differences present varying challenges to building cohesive and effective teams,” said Graf. “However, there are many aspects of leadership and the officer/NCO relationship that are similar and many best practices that transcend our differences. This engagement provided an excellent opportunity to share ideas, discuss them, and then work together as we all try to learn and grow.”
The exchange also went into detail about the Army noncommissioned officer model and how it is utilized and implemented across the force.
“Overall there were some great questions and a lot of positive interactions with the Armenian officers,” said Spencer. “The Armenians desired at length and in-depth discussions on how we implement the usage of the noncommissioned officers on the battlefield, how leaders develop trust in the NCO Corps, and how those relationships are built in developing a successful command team.”
The virtual exchange was made possible through the National Guard Bureau’s State Partnership Program. Kansas has maintained a partnership with the Republic of Armenia since 2002. This strategic relationship demonstrates the program’s capability to simultaneously support the National Military Strategy, the priorities of the combatant commanders, and a partner nation’s capacity to achieve a secure, peaceful, and prosperous future.