Standardizing NCO Academies

What did various noncommissioned officer academies standardize in 1957


The Army’s NCO Academy system was formalized in 1957 when the Department of the Army published its first regulation to establish standards for NCO Academies. This June 25th directive stated that the “purpose of Noncommissioned Officer Academies is to broaden the professional knowledge of the noncommissioned officer and instill in him the self-confidence and sense of responsibility required to make him a capable leader of men.” The hope was that a better-trained NCO would be needed for the new Pentomic organization of the new cold war era.

This regulation authorized, but did not require, division and installation commanders to
establish NCO academies. It set forth a standard pattern for training NCOs and fixed the
minimum length of a course at four weeks. It did not call for a standardized course of instruction
but mandated seven subjects that were required as part of the curriculum and would emphasize
the new concepts of atomic warfare. It required each command to support its academy from its
available resources and did not provide additional funding. For the first time, Army
noncommissioned officers had an Army-sponsored program for institutional training. Though
the Korean War would derail many programs, noncommissioned officer academies would
continue to operate throughout the war.

Did you know we have a copy of that first NCO Academy regulation here on the NCO History site? Check out AR 350-90, 25 June 1957 Noncommissioned Officers Academies – The first-ever Army Regulation laying out Noncommissioned Officer Academy (NCOA) specific training.

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