Development of professional sergeant corps
The institution of a professional sergeant corps has been developed based on a hierarchy of ranks form division commander to chief sergeant of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
Functional duties assigned to he new posts within the sergeant corps were revised based on sergeant duties in the Anti-Terrorist Operation and international experience. Work continues on amending the list of military ranks in the sergeant corps based on the current list of posts and equivalent military ranks in NATO member forces.
To ensure sergeants are provided high quality education, knowledge and skills m the AFU operates eight training centres, four military colleges for sergeants, and the 197th NCO Training Centre. Institutions of higher military education offer English language courses and a correspondence bachelors degree programme for sergeants. The current focus is on enhancing the professional training system for sergeants.
A priority objective is to introduce a three-month basic combat training course similar to those in the armed forces of NATO member states. The course is scheduled to be launched in 2018. The curriculum is being developed and instructors are being trained.
This course will be mandatory for all conscripts in the Armed Forces if Ukraine and will be uniform across all branches if the military, regardless of future military specialization. The course objective is to ensure that all recruits are physically and mentally fit.
Soldiers will be provided the basic military knowledge and skills needed to execute mission and protect their health and lives on the battlefield. Work is also underway on enhancing the multi-level system of training for the sergeant corps to comply with training requirements for professional sergeants in NATO member states.
The main goal is to design four effective short-term courses at the basic, intermediate, advanced and senior levels. Every level will include two phases training sergeants to be commanders and leaders and training sergeants based on their military branch and specialization. Leadership course will be conducted at sergeant training centres analogous to the NCO schools and academies of NATO member forces.
Sergeants will receive professional training at training centres and institutions of higher military education after successful completion of leadership courses. The professional training programme will include tactics for subordinate units in different combat scenarios, use of weapons, commanding subordinate personnel in different combat scenarios, and other practical knowledge and skills based on specialization.
Additionally, to study the experience of NATO member forces and improve the quality of professional training of the sergeant corps of the AFU, Ukrainian sergeants will visit the training centres and military schools abroad, including the NASTIO school Oberammergau, Swiss Armed Forces Professional NCO School, NCO Schools of the Armed Forces fo Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, The United States Navy Senior Enlisted Academy, and the U.S. Army's Sergeant Majors Academy.
Article originally published in "Overview of Defence Reforms of Ukraine" magazine Feb. 2017 by the Ukranian Ministry of Defence