Army NCODP Topics, Ideas, Subjects and Classes

The purpose of the Army NCODP Program (Non Commissioned Officer Developmental Program) is to educate and develop Army NCOs for positions of greater responsibility.  Typically, the program is managed by the senior enlisted Soldier in the unit (the First Sergeant or Sergeant’s Major).  This person is responsible for planning the program; assigning instructors, choosing topics and making sure the NCODP Classes are scheduled, executed, conducted and assessed on time and to standard.

In the regular Army, the program is executed once a month whereas in the ARNG and USAR, it typically happens once a quarter (every 90 days).  Sometimes the training is in a classroom environment.  In other cases, the unit might conduct a site visit or conduct training in the field.  In my experience, I’ve found that the best classes are out in the field away from the unit, where there are fewer distractions.

For many units, the program is nothing but a training requirement.  Sure, the training takes place, but it very seldom goes “above and beyond” what is required.  It simply isn’t a high priority in the unit.

On the other hand, some units have phenomenal NCODP Programs where leaders are developed and nurtured.  The classes are entertaining, fun and educational.  This happens because the person is charge takes pride and personal responsibility in the program and goes the extra mile to ensure the training is well prepared and well executed.

In the paragraphs below, I’d like to share some of my favorite tips with you so your unit can have an effective Army NCODP Program.

Tips for Success

Listed below are my best tips for success to have an effective Army NCODP Program.

# 1 Plan Training 12 Months Out – Don’t wait until the last minute to schedule your NCODP.  Put some thought into it and give your instructors plenty of time to prepare.   The more time you can give them, the better.  Whenever you “wing it” the training won’t go very well.

# 2 Evaluate the Strengths and Weaknesses of Your NCOs to Find Ideas – If you’re looking for ideas for topics, spend a few minutes and list the weakness of each of your direct reports.  That will give you some great training ideas.

# 3 Survey NCOs to find out what training they would find most beneficial – One of the best ways to come up with some creative ideas is simply to ASK your subordinates what topics they want to learn about.  They will tell you.

# 4 When possible conduct training off site so they are fewer training distractions – I’ve found that when you stuff everyone in a classroom, and they have their cell phones, it’s easy to have distractions.  People come in and interrupt the training, phones ring and it jus doesn’t go as smoothly as it should.

# 5 Assign different trainers each NCODP Class to mix things up and share the love – You don’t want the same person doing the training month-after-month.  Mix things up and give everyone a chance to teach.  This improves their skills and keeps things interesting at the same time.

# 6 Get maximum participation – Make the training MANDATORY for all NCOs.  Don’t let your subordinates come up with reasons why they can’t attend.  If you let them do that, you will have a lot of people come up with excuses and miss the training.

# 7 Schedule training during non-productive time – Make sure you are smart about scheduling your NCODP.  Look for opportunities in the training calendar that DO NOT interfere with major training events.

NCODP Topics and Subjects

There are countless subjects you can use for your NCODP Program.  Here are just a few examples:

  • Retirement Planning – You could discuss how to save money for retirement
  • Money Management – Topics such as budgeting, paying off debt, etc.
  • Call for Fire – How to call in artillery support
  • Counseling – How to do a negative counseling, professional development counseling, etc.
  • Conflict Resolution – How to deal with difficult Soldiers
  • Career Management – How to map out your military career
  • Army Training Management – How the Army trains and the training process
  • NCOERs – How to write NCOERs and what to look for on NCOERs
  • Maintenance – Maintenance tips, policies and procedures
  • Warrior Tasks – Go over the basic Warrior Tasks and do some drills
  • OPORDs and Mission Planning – How to write OPORDS, conduct Troop Leading Procedures, etc.
  • Book Report or a Book – Assign everyone a book to read and discuss it

Once again, you are only limited to your creativity.  If you are stuck on ideas, try talking with a trusted peer or ask your subordinates what subjects they would find most beneficial.

Final Thoughts

The Army NCODP Program is not just a requirement.  It’s also a very effective way to train your subordinate NCOs for positions of increased responsibility. When done effectively, it’s a wonderful way to learn new ideas, improve the unit’s camaraderie and improve morale.  Your key to success is to have someone in charge of the program who takes pride in what they do, is proactive, and develops a solid plan to schedule, execute and assess the program in your unit.

On a side note, I would love to hear from you.  What are your thoughts on the Army NCODP Program? What subjects would you recommend?  What tips could you recommend to unit leaders to improve their program?  Just leave a comment to share your ideas. Thank you.

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58 thoughts on “Army NCODP Topics, Ideas, Subjects and Classes”

  1. I have been deployed more than once and have noticed that during every rotation outgoing troops are instructed to throw away whatever personal items do NOT belong to the sleeping area/room. Rooms are cleaned out of all items whether brand new or used and tossed away. I have not seen yet a “recycling” program within our deployment bases overseas where NCODP has integrated this as a topic to help incoming troops save some money on anything or everything if possible, whether it is used or brand new. I am a Supply Sergeant and first thing I do during each deployment is exactly that, driving, riding a bicycle and even walking all over the base and find out what is available to the troops without sacrificing their financial income. I am still making the effort to push my unit to do just that. Lots of NCOs have the knowledge and capabilities to repair used electronics, equipment and other artifacts and all they need is the how to access tools on post to help other troops. Implementing a class for NCODP to teach how to distribute recyclables to maintain the morale and support for our troops , mostly our lowered enlisted. I am currently creating a class and submit it to my chain of command for consideration and approval.

    1. We need more soldiers like you Panda.

      Keep up the good work and know that in time, it will be noticed and others will duplicate your actions. It may take time, but it is actions like this that create good changes. If I could give you an award right now I would.

  2. I never realized the sheer variety of classes a NCODP offers. This kind of program creates well-rounded and responsible leaders, which are absolutely necessary in the military. These kinds of programs should be offered to lower ranks as well – the more responsible every member of the services is, the better things run overall.

  3. As a JR enlisted, my 1SG came up with the idea of allowing his promotable E-4s into the NCOPD meetings to give them a head start. My first task for these meetings was to come up with topics, but since i’ve never been to one of these meetings before, I had no idea where to start. This site aswell as the comments gave me plenty to start with, so thank you and the comments community.

  4. Pingback: Platoon Leader Duties and Repsonsibilities and Job Description | Citizen Soldier Resource Center
  5. This is really a great post. I’m responsible for tasking NCODP classes in my unit. Now I’m going to give each person that I task a copy of this list so they have some good potential topics to choose from. Thanks for posting this.

  6. Here are some ideas.

    1. How to run a weapons range
    2. How to plan for retirement
    3. How to go OCS or WOCS
    4. How to manage your career effectively
    5. Marriage tips
    6. How to run a TOC/ALOC
    7. IT Training
    8. Training on SINGARRS and other comms

  7. Here are some NCDOP Topics.

    NCOES
    How to Lead a Convoy
    Investing
    Establishing an Area of Operations
    How to Counsel Your Subordinates

    Good luck!

  8. My favorite NCODP topic is MOS related stuff. In the Guard and Reserves it’s very easy to forget some basic things about your MOS. A good NCDOP will remind you of what is important and give you some good refresher training.

  9. There are so many great NCODP ideas on this page. I’m going to bookmark it for future reference.

    Jacelyn

  10. Great information, Chuck. Here are a few NCODP topics I can think of.

    1. Call for fire
    2. Map reading
    3. Communication skills
    4. Career Planning
    5. Developing Your Subordinates

    I hope that helps.

    Von

  11. We did some NCODP Classes on the unit history. I found that very interesting and think it would be a great topic for any unit.

    Zane

  12. Our unit did a NCODP at the Antietam Battlefield. We were broken down into groups and were each assigned a different unit in the battle. It was the best NCODP I’ve ever had.

    Vernon

  13. My 1SG asked me to do a NCDOP on “Women’s Role in the Military since WW2.” Initially, I was a bit skeptical, but I spent a couple days planning for it. Everything went smooth and all of the NCOs in my unit enjoyed it. I learned a lot from all my research, too.

    Louise

  14. My favorite NCODP ever was when our unit watched “A Bridge Too Far.” At the end of the movie we all talked about the valuable lessons learned during Operation Market Garden. It was fun to watch the movie with my peers and then have a nice discussion about it. We did this on a Saturday evening of drill weekend.

    Fred

  15. My Company First Sergeant took the Financial Peace Course by Dave Ramsey on his own and then taught the course to his NCOs over a six month period. That was hands down the best NCODP I’ve ever done.

    Ryan

  16. I know that NCODP is a quarterly requirement in the ARNG and USAR, but I still think units should find a way to do it monthly! It’s so important to do.

    Johnette

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more. And not every NCODP Class has to be formal. You could do a simple, but effective 20 to 30 minutes class at the end of drill weekend. What’s most important is that your NCOs learn something new every drill weekend.

      Chuck

  17. We recently did an NCODP where my 1SG brought in three retired Sergeants Major. Each one of them shared their stories and career tips. It was the best NCODP ever.

  18. My BN CSM brought in an experienced realtor and mortgage broker who taught a class on home buying tips. It was very informative.

    Susie

  19. We did an NCODP on the Thrift Savings Plan. Our SGM explained all the different funds and gave several examples of how much money you could have at retirement if you contributed X amount each month. After that NCODP I opened up my own TSP account and set up monthly contributions. I wish someone would have taught me about this sooner.

  20. I think USAR and ARNG units should do NCODP every month. I know you have a lot going on in those two days every month, but you also miss out on 28 days worth of training that the Active Duty gets. Having a short 20-40 minute NCODP each month might help out a lot.

  21. The best NCODP I ever did was a site visit to Gettsyburg. About 20 NCOs from our battalion did an overnight visit to the battle site. We took one of the bus tours. It was fun and very educational.

    Vic

  22. I recommend you do a NCODP about your sister units. Have a class about the mission and role of each unit you work with, so your NCOs understand their mission and responsibilities.

    Tony

    1. What a great idea, Tony. I never would have thought of this idea myself. Every NCO should know the role and mission of the units they support and the units that support them.

      Chuck

  23. We did a NCOPD course on the book “Small Unit Leadership.” My PSG is a big fan of the book and thought it would be beneficial. After everyone read the book, they had to type up a paper with the five things they learned from the book, and then we had a discussion about it.

    Coy

  24. My 1SG had all of us watch the movie “Glory” for our NCODP Class and then write a 2 page paper about it from an NCO’s perspective. I really enjoyed that.

    Georgetta

  25. I think the best thing to teach NCOs in a NCODP Class is the importance of goal setting, how to mentor their subordinates, and career planning.

    Thanks for sharing, Chuck.

    Ashwani

    1. Ashwani,

      Goal setting is a great subject for a NCODP. You could teach NCOs how to set goals for their own careers, how to set goals for their sections and how to help their Soldiers set goals.

      Thanks for sharing the great idea.

  26. I have been in the military for some years now and it is evidence that we are a military of both Soldiers and NCO who know nothing more than deployments. Our core foundation as leaders the true “BackBone of the Army” is not clear among many junior and even some young senior NCOs. In identifying the for professional growth and development I have implemented a highly robust NCOPD program. If you are like my company the amount of white space on your calender is limited; as a result NCOPD is held (3) times a week from 0530-0630 MWF. * Note** our first call is not until 0700 in my location.

    After a month it is clear that the program is working. I found that NCOs would much rather conduct this training early rather than last in the even. Additionally, if you plan the training for late in the evening you will find that most of your audience is look at their clocks verses absorbing the required information.

    1. Sapper 7,

      Good for you for creating a NCODP for your unit. I really wish more senior enlisted soldiers would do that for their subordinates. It does make a huge difference in morale, competence, and professionalism. And even if you have to schedule it for 0530 hours, that’s great. Whatever works. Keep up the great work.

      Chuck

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