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Sergeant's role in Armed Forces of Ukraine: Training according to NATO standards

Author : Iryna Sampan

19:30, 22 January 2018
Sergeant's role in Armed Forces of Ukraine: Training according to NATO standards

Author : Iryna Sampan

Sergeants and soldiers are the backbone of the modern Ukrainian army, they showed themselves well in battles during the war in Donbas. The purpose of Ukraine’s armed Forces is the creation of a professional contract army, when people knowingly choose to go to serve. Some of them choose a long-term perspective, and the task of the General Staff is to retain those people who connect their future with the army and see their role in its development. Therefore, it is important to educate the sergeant of the Armed Forces as a commander-leader who directly manages the personnel, trains them, is responsible for their moral and psychological state and readiness to perform tasks for the purpose. 112.ua visited the Training Center for Navy Sergeants in Mykolayiv, where we saw how people who wanted to become sergeants were actually selected and trained.

19:30, 22 January 2018

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In July 2017, the General Staff announced that by 2020 the professional sergeant corps as in the leading armies of the world will appear in the Armed Forces of Ukraine. For this purpose, special centers have been established, sergeant leadership courses and courses for instructors have been introduced. And all - by NATO standards and programs.

There is even an order of the Minister of Defense "On Approving Changes to the Concept of the Development of the Professional Sergeant and Senior Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine," which says that it is necessary to give sergeants more powers for combat training and education of servicemen, and to improve the system of training sergeants themselves.

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But why did they suddenly notice the sergeant who had not wanted him for a dozen years? Why is it required to pass multilevel courses from him, develop training programs and also invite foreign sergeants to teach something to their Ukrainian colleagues? In the US Army, for example, it is the sergeant who commands the unit, monitors discipline and trains soldiers. The officer is not distracted by this and is engaged in the planning and organization of military operations.

Obviously, the attitude towards sergeants changed during the war in Donbas. Sergeants and soldiers showed themselves the backbone of the modern Ukrainian army. The purpose of Armed Forces is the creation of a professional contract army, when people knowingly choose to go to serve. Some of them choose a long-term perspective, and the task of the General Staff is to retain these people who connect their future with the army and see their role in its development. Therefore, it is important to educate the sergeant of the army as a commander-leader who directly manages the personnel, trains them, is responsible for their moral and psychological state and readiness to perform tasks for the purpose.

112.ua visited the Training Center for Navy Sergeants in Mykolayiv, where we saw how people who wanted to become sergeants were actually selected and trained. Will the attitude towards the sergeant really change, will it empower them? We talked about all this with the leadership and instructors of the Center, the representative of the General Staff and the servicemen themselves.

Navy Sergeant Training Center

The primary part of the sergeants is the commanders of the branches, and because of the lack of units, including at the front, sergeants can be platoon commanders (although this is an officer's post). In the submission of the squad leader are about 10-12 soldiers, at least so it should be.

"What is the squad leader?" Says the commander of the Center for Training Sergeants of the Navy, ensign Yuri Klimkin, "This is the commander of a small unit that keeps the defense in a separate section.  According to the regulations, the section holds the defense 100 meters along the front, 50 meters in depth. For example, in 2014 I was the commander of a branch of the Marine Corps, I held the defense on the front of 400 meters, I had 2 tanks, one anti-tank gun, and my unit numbered about 20 people, this, roughly speaking, was a platoon, and I commanded this platoon.

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The branch commander is the person who makes the decision. This is a person, who commands the unit in battle and is responsible for the lives of people, for successfully organized defense. And this person should have some knowledge in his head and get this knowledge in the training centers. Therefore, the training center was created to train sergeants of the primary and second level - platoon sergeants. But the main emphasis is on the squad leaders. "

The first school of training sergeants and instructors (197 Center) was opened in the territory of the training center "Desna" in 2014. Of course, it was difficult for one center to cope with with a large flow of people. And in order to lighten the Desna a little, in 2017, the Centers for training sergeants of the Navy and Land Assault Troops were created.

In 2014, Ukraine began cooperation with NATO under the DEEP (Defense Education Enhancement Program) - improving military education and training. In NATO there is such a document "Standard order of training of sergeants", which was created by 14 experts from different countries. And it is recommended to countries that want to bring their standards closer to the standards of the Alliance (Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, etc.). There are 4 levels in the training program: basic, medium, high and high, and Ukraine in 2015 accordingly changed its training system to four-level. Each program for which sergeants or instructors are trained must comply with the recommendations of the Alliance.

"For example, the NATO Leadership Course was rated by NATO experts by 86% according to NATO standards, although only 70% is needed. Therefore, to set aside the link to the Ministry of Education, the Center was set up and leadership courses in it – are the short-term courses that give a career growth sergeant, "- says the senior ensign.

NATO Standards

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The sergeant is preparing a sergeant. This is the feature of training sergeants.

"Only the sergeant can understand the sergeant. I will give an example," says Yuri Klimkin, the head of the Naval Training Center for the Navy, "When I was the squad leader, I lived in the same dugout with my sailors, but I managed to keep a line between them and me. They saw how I sleep, eat, shave - everything, but there was no familiarity, it is very important. Very good sergeants taught me, and they told me: "Sergeants older than you will be subordinated to you, it is very important to keep such a border ". I will not say that officers can or cannot teach that's just another hierarchy. The officer has his own duties, as well as sergeant. Only an experienced sergeant can teach a sergeant to be a sergeant. "

What will the soldier learn at the Center?

The basic leadership course is divided into three blocks. The first block allows you to learn the concepts of who the sergeant is, what a sergeant corps is, and the functional duties of a sergeant. The second block is leadership, types of leadership, methods of managing people. The third block is something like stress management, the sergeant's work in crisis situations, how to properly form a group, the unit as a whole. Among the topics that future sergeants study are non-verbal communication, types of leaders, professional sergeant staff, management fundamentals, military history, characteristics of modern military operations, leadership and leadership styles, command skills, self-control, authority, religion and Armed Forces .

The basic training instructor, Chief Master Sergeant Denys Skupoy, teaches servicemen who plan to become the commanders of the branches of the basic leadership.

"This course is needed so that a person who works with personnel could and wanted to be a leader for subordinates so that he could take them in any situation and lead them into battle," Denys believes.

After the courses in the Training Center, future sergeants go to the specialized center for vocational training to teach their military specialty. And after the completion of training they receive the title of "junior sergeant". General training of sergeant takes three months (of signalers - six months).

By the way, about the instructors. According to Yuri Klimkin, in the Center teachers are only experienced sergeants - the main sergeants of the battalions and platoons. Training of instructors took place in the "Desna" base.

A sergeant in the modern Armed Forces of Ukraine is no longer just a serviceman, but a commander who is responsible for his people. The sergeant today should not be a "scapegoat", as it was many years before the war. And moreover, this should be understood both by officers, and by sergeants themselves. Vocational training, rigorous selection and worthy finansial support should give the sergeant a sense of prestige of this title and level of responsibility. And then the sergeant will be sure that from the division commander he can grow up to the chief sergeant of the Armed Forces, certainly working a lot, getting a decent salary and having the respect of his officers.

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