Building a corps of professional Non-Commissioned Officers in Ukraine
NATO is helping Ukraine build a system to develop professional Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs), which are an important element in transforming the country’s armed forces. This work is taking place under the Ukraine’s Defence Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP).
Training and professionalization of Ukrainian enlisted soldiers and NCOs is critically important for the success of overall defence reform in the armed forces, as well as for achieving interoperability with NATO. Professionalisation of NCOs is also vital for effective anti-terrorist operations.
The ultimate aim of the programme is a professional, competent and effective NCO corps fully committed to excel in support of commanders and the fulfilment of missions, with excellent leadership skills and abilities to ensure the future success of the armed forces.
Following an assessment visit to Ukraine's NCO training centres in December 2014, DEEP identified four gap areas in which it has since facilitated Allied bilateral support:
- Basic combat training programme
- Train-the-trainers courses for Ukrainian instructors
- Development of a professional NCO career system
- Creation of a professional military education system for NCOs.
The Ukraine DEEP programme is supported by bilateral and multilateral (Multinational Joint Commission) assistance from Canada, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the United Kingdom, the United States, Switzerland and the NATO School in Oberammergau. It is jointly managed by NATO and the Partnership for Peace Consortium.
The goals is for Ukraine will have trained 85 per cent of its current NCO instructors by the end of 2016, who will then be able to train future trainers. Additionally, a three-month basic combat training course will be established to complement individual entry-level training for conscripts in all branches of the armed forces. Based on this, professional military Education (level 1-4 in accordance with NATO NCO Reference Curriculum) for NCOs will be introduced together with establishment of dedicated schools and academies.
For NCO reform to be a success, a number of legislative and structural changes should be introduced and substantial work is on-going in this area with support from Ukraine's Minister of Defence and the Chief of Staff.