Serving in the US Army as an enlisted specialist is a challenging and rewarding job. But as you gain in experience, you will likely apply for promotion. There is a brand new course that has been designed for advancement to First Sergeant. The Chief of Staff of the Army has approved an active duty component course for first time candidates for First Sergeant. The new course is called the US Army First Sergeants Course, and it will be the comprehensive course that will be required before a candidate can advance to the rank of First Sergeant. It is to be held at the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy at the Army Base at Fort Bliss, Texas.
Normally all members of the Army who are advanced to the level of First Sergeant must attend this new course. Soldiers who are serving for short amounts of time or short-term duty tours can have the attendance requirement waived by the General in their chain of command for reasons that benefit the Army. The only person able to waive this requirement is the soldiers chain of command first general. First Sergeants provide structure and leadership for the Army unit and also are vital links in accomplishing the overall Army mission. The Army hopes that the new First Sergeants course will continue to provide direction and necessary training to give the skills and tools to First Sergeant Candidates to properly and efficiently meet the requirements that the Army asks of them in fulfillment of the overall Army mission. Those soldiers who attend the First Sergeants course will be awarded a skill identifier qualification symbol of ?M?. It is slated for all candidates that are located in both the continental United States and select overseas commands who are about to be promoted to First Sergeant. The Army leans heavily on the experience and wisdom of their Sergeants, who as non commissioned officers are the first line of instruction for new enlisted and inexperienced junior personnel. On those rare occasions where a soldier must be promoted without attending the course they have to schedule a time within six months of their promotion to attend the academy course.
New changes in Army structure, rank and authority in a changing world, as well as technology and electronic advances and their effects on enlisted missions are also part of the new course structure. The new course is seen as a welcome addition to the current training regime that candidates for first sergeant undergo. Previous courses have stressed leadership and command authority, and the new course also stresses these issues.