CSM/SGM Role in Sustainment

The command sergeant major is a senior noncommissioned officer whose role is to advise the commander on the issues related to the recruited ranks. Commanders utilize the command sergeant throughout an operation’s area to expand their command influence, evaluate the force’s morale, and help in critical events. Among the main responsibilities of command sergeant is the ability to expand the influence of command and assist the commander to “observe an organization.” For their effectiveness, the command sergeants major require empowerment from their commanders. That calls for gaining and sustaining the trust of the commander. Having trust gives them freedom of movement and builds open conversation with the subordinate command team. That produces a common understanding as pertinent information is shared between battalions, brigade staffs, companies, and commanders.

Command sergeants major are the instruments of perspective between the brigade soldiers and planners. Through collaboration, they can be useful in influencing parallel planning across battalions and brigades. However, such influence is not restricted to command sergeant major. Command sergeants major do not require having technical knowledge in war-fighting roles, but they must have knowledge enough to examine critically and ask hard questions. By doing that, they force experience to influence battalion and brigade staffs, which help in plan development. If the command sergeants are not involved in the harmonization meetings, or engaged in the decision making process in the military, in the process of developing the plan, friction areas, or operation related decisions may not be accurately identified. Without knowing or understanding such critical areas, they cannot extend the influence of the commander or offer help in critical events. Besides, without an understanding of the efforts, their capacity to advise staffs and commanders is tarnished.

The brigade command sergeants major leverage the subordinate unit command sergeant major to “own their venture.” For example, the senior enlisted trainer of the brigade is also considered the fire command sergeant major. A command sergeant major of the brigade should empower and motivate the fire command sergeant major of fire to take responsibility of training the brigade fire staffs. Whereas commanders normally move with influential effort, command sergeants major position themselves in high risk regions or areas of expected friction and use NCOs to apply “lubricant” to the friction areas. The initial step is to recognize the possible friction areas in the planning stage and alleviate risks in the military decision-making process, instead of waiting for execution time.

Command sergeants major are involved in circulation of the battlefield. It is important to plan mobility at a combat training center. Command sergeants major are seen confined to their tactical operations centers, and cannot get out and observe the force. That limits their influence and hampers the mission of the brigade. Irrespective of military occupational field, battalion command major ought to be well-formed and educated in all areas. As senior fires command sergeants major, they should get out of their comfort zones and see each specialty in the area artillery branch. The artillery mission is to defeat, destroy, or disrupt the enemy with integrated fire.