Posted on Jan 20, 2014
CSM Infantry Senior Sergeant
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I have had the honor of serving as a 1SG for 20 months so far in my second company. How long do you think a key leader be it commander, CSM, or 1SG should stay in the same unit and do you believe more time hurts or helps that unit keeping those leaders in place? 
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1SG Steven Stankovich
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Congratulations 1SG!!!  I selfishly wish I could have stayed a 1SG forever.  I think that 24-36 months in one position in one command, is optimal.  While we aim to hold onto our leadership positions as long as can (or at least we should), there are reasons why our Army moves us out.  Replacing leaders after their "time is up" allows for continued unit growth.  Fresh eyes, ideas and blood allow leaders to take the guidon and the reigns of the unit and to continue to move it forward.  If leaders stay "too long" in one position/unit, stagnation may occur and in some instances, comfort and complacency.  No good comes from that. 




Continuity in the unit is important when changing leaders out, but as long as we have developed, trained and prepared our junior leaders, a transition at the top should be a seamless transition.  With that being said though, I am a fan of staggered changes at the 1SG and Company Command level as well as at the BN CSM and BN CDR level.

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CSM Infantry Senior Sergeant
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You hit the nail on the head MSG Conner with how I am feeling. I have loved both of my companies and would gladly serve as 1SG in any other unit but can seriously relate to being on fire to finding myself a little more relaxed than when I started. I think it's just human to relax a little bit especially if you built not just the bond of being their 1SG but a deployed 1SG as well. Which, so you pointed out can seriously cloud one's judgment on the black and white issues. 
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CSM Infantry Senior Sergeant
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Another key point to burn out I believe is not only where you serve but who you serve with. Be it your battle buddy the company commander or the chain of command one, two, or even three levels above you can greatly impact how we operate and the decisions we have to make as leaders. It's very frustrating to find yourself surrounded by leaders that state they have been in your shoes but have not really been in your shoes. For example, I know what it's like to be a 1SG states a CSM/SGM but has never served say as a HQs 1SG before. Can they really relate their experiences as a 1SG to mine and when faced with tough decisions and needing guidance how can I lean on them for that needed experience and counsel? 
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1SG Steven Stankovich
1SG Steven Stankovich
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I think that SGMs/CSMs who have absolutely served as 1SGs, but may not share your common denominator as a HHC/HQs 1SG, provide guidance based on observed experiences.  What I mean by that is we all have our 1SG huddles where we compare notes, vent, exchange ideas, etc.  I think those SGMs/CSMs reach back to their own experiences during their 1SG huddles and pull those experiences forward.  Just a thought... 
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CSM Infantry Senior Sergeant
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Great points again MSG! Soldiers are always asking what the differences are between a 1SG and a MSG. Your experiences and answers clearly articulate those differences and define what a seasoned NCO like yourself can offer, thanks for the guidance. 
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1LT Executive Officer
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Two years is optimal and three years is stretching it; from my perspective.  Three years is understandable if you take a unit over, go to a training rotation, go on a long deployment, redeploy, and go through a major MTOE change or something like that.

I've seen leaders who spent their leadership time all in the same battalion; that's a bad thing.  There's a narrowing of horizons in the entire unit when your senior leadership has known each other since they were junior NCOs (HRC seems to force officers to PCS) and they all have dirt on each other.  
The worst I've seen is five straight years of the same brigade CSM.  Considering that the average assignment is four years or less for most people, this CSM ran the entire operation like a personal fiefdom.  The brigade commander never disagreed with his senior enlisted advisor, mainly because he'd already survived three brigade commanders and knew everyone in the entire unit.
There's solid reasons for limiting command time and I strongly believe that anything over two years moves a unit away from the Army standard and toward that leader's individual standard.
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CSM Infantry Senior Sergeant
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SSG Beutler, you bring up some great points. Obviously there are certain times that a unit cannot afford to change out key leaders deployments being one of them for sure. I too had a Brigade CSM that had served six years in the same Brigade before he was finally relieved and without question meets your example of making individual standards up. 
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SFC Senior Human Resources Sergeant
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I agree with MSG Stankovich in regards to the staggered changes. As to the main question, I feel a senior leader should stay in position approx. 24 months. That seems to be the optimal time to effect changes without becoming too stagnant. I'm all for that same leader holding additional leadership time, just in another unit/echelon. Like SSG Cedeno, I have been in a unit where too much turmoil is not a good thing. In one unit, we had 3 CDRs and 4 1SGs at the company in a 24 month time frame.  Some were moved for goof reasons (selected for advance schooling) others were removed due to negative reasons (pending adverse action). 
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CSM Infantry Senior Sergeant
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In three years I have seen ten 1SGs in four companies moved out and with that so many changes to how their respective companies operate. I have never in my career seen such a turnover before of 1SGs. Do you think this is a current trend in the Army or just a coincidence? 
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SFC Senior Human Resources Sergeant
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1SG, from my foxhole it appears to be a trend of increasing scrutiny on a position that requires the utmost dedication from our very best NCOs. Having said that, it seems sometimes, the Army has not been able to select the best to serve and these leaders have cracked under the intense pressure of being the 1SG. I think we need to bring back the First Sergeant course as a prerequisite and make it a better course so as to properly prepare and equip those leaders with tools and knowledge to become successful 1SGs.
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CSM Infantry Senior Sergeant
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You bring up an excellent point with the FSC just not sure how much more the FSC could teach 1SGs that the SLC doesn't already cover? In all honesty, I learned a lot more from my post's Commanders/First Sergeants course than what was taught to us in SLC. Particularly current trends and agencies to assist command teams in helping our soldiers out. 
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1SG Steven Stankovich
1SG Steven Stankovich
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The FSC was discontinued when I was halfway through the PH1 portion.  I was a sitting 1SG for 18 months before I went to the TRADOC Company CDR/1SG Course at Fort Jackson.  Good information there...specifically if you were serving at Fort Jackson.  1SG Rink brings up a great point.  Those Installation CDR/1SG Courses are packed with useful information and POCs that are installation specific.  They are a wealth of knowledge.
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