Army NCODP Topics, Ideas, Subjects and Classes

Today, we’re doing to cover Army NCODP topics, ideas, subjects, and classes. Let’s begin by discussing what NCODP is and why it is important.

The purpose of the Army NCODP (Non Commissioned Officer Developmental Program) is to educate and develop Army NCOs for positions of greater responsibility.

The NCODP 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 classes are scheduled, executed, and conducted on time and to standard.

In the regular Army, the NCODP is executed once per month whereas in the ARNG and USAR, it typically happens once 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 sessions are out in the field, away from the armory, where there are fewer distractions.

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

On the other hand, some units have a phenomenal NCODP where leaders are developed, groomed, and nurtured. The classes are entertaining, fun, and educational. This happens because the person in 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.

Army NCODP Topics, Ideas & Classes

Tips for Success with Your Army NCDOP

Listed below are my best tips for success to have an effective Army NCODP in your unit.

# 1: Plan The Training Ahead of Time

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

# 2: Determine What Training Your NCOs Need

If you’re looking for ideas for topics, spend a few minutes and list the weakness of each of your subordinate NCOs. That will give you some great training ideas. You can also survey your NCOs to get topics and ideas for future classes.

# 3: Practice & Rehearse

Rehearsals are key. If you are leading a class, make sure you rehearse and practice ahead of time, so it goes smoothly. If you are overseeing the class, in a supervisory role, make sure your trainer or instructor is prepared. Role play with them, if necessary, and make sure they have the resources they need to succeed.

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.

~ Colin Powell

# 4: Take the Training Offsite

I’ve found that when you stuff everyone in a classroom, and they have their cell phones with them, it’s easy to have distractions. People come in and interrupt the training, phones ring, and it just doesn’t go as smoothly as it should. However, when you are in the field, away from the armory, you have people’s undivided attention.

# 5: Assign Different Trainers

You don’t want the same person doing the training month-after-month. Mix things up and give everyone a chance to teach a class. This improves their skills and keeps things interesting at the same time.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.

~ General George S. Patton

# 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 the training. If you let them do that, you will have a lot of people come up with excuses and miss the training.

# 7: Schedule Army NCODP 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.

john quincy adams quote

Example Army NCODP Topics

There are countless subjects you can use for your Army NCODP. Listed below are a few examples just to get you thinking. We have them sorted by category to make it easier.

Health & Wellness

  • Losing Weight
  • How to Run Faster
  • Proper Nutrition
  • How to Max the APFT
  • How to Stay in Shape After 40
  • Weightlifting Tips

Career Management

Personal Finances

  • Saving Money for Retirement
  • Debt Reduction Strategies
  • Thrift Savings Plan Overview
  • How to Buy a Home
  • Budgeting Ideas


  • How to be a Better Leader
  • Communication Skills
  • Team Building
  • Delegation and Empowerment
  • Conflict Resolution
  • How to Run a Meeting Effectively
  • Counseling Subordinates


  • Maintenance Operations
  • Supply Operations
  • TOC/JOC Operations
  • Convoy Operations
  • How to Run a Weapons Range
  • Radio Etiquette


  • Book Review
  • Movie Review
  • Review a Famous Battle or War
  • Case Studies of Successful Leaders

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

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, Army NCODP is not just a requirement. It’s also an 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.

I’d love to close out this post with a quote from CSM Coleman, Jr.:

Bottom line up front, establishing a strong Noncommissioned Officer Development Program within your unit will have a positive effect on everything your unit does. This command responsibility should not be taken lightly and can, with effort by everyone involved, enhance combat effectiveness and build better leaders.

As leaders, it is our responsibility to do everything we can to develop our Soldiers in a manner that will set them up for success and ensure our Army’s success well into the future. NCODP is part of that process. A well-run program will help your unit develop agile and flexible NCOs that are capable of leading Soldiers in any environment and under any conditions. ~ Fort Hood Sentinel

On a side note, I would love to hear from you. What are your thoughts about Army NCODP? 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.

three meter zone book

If you’re looking for a good book to read for your NCO Professional Development, I suggest the book you see above. You can order it here on Amazon.

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chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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

  1. I have been in the military for almost 5 years now and I just picked up my E5. I have done many classes in the past few years in my unit but we usually get them a month before next drill, so the NCODP was my class for this month and I have looked at several places for something to talk about or how to explain it to my subordinates. This was so informing and gave me great ideas to talk about. Thank you for taking time to make this and to help future Soldiers and leaders.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  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.

    How to Lead a Convoy
    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.


  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.


  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.


  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.


  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.


  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.


  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.


  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.


    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.


  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.


  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.


  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.


    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.


  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.


  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.


  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.


    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.


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