Through the direction of the Office of the Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, this book was written by a team of enlisted leaders representing the U.S. Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard with the participation and support of the National Defense University. This enduring project—to define and holistically characterize the role of the noncommissioned officer/petty officer in the Armed Forces—proved a daunting one but long overdue.

All members of the writing team, except one, were serving or retired NCOs/POs. They represented the Active and Reserve components, including the Army and Air National Guards. The military authors’ specialties and backgrounds covered a wide array of conventional and special operations, each with extensive experience in Service, joint, and coalition formations during national crisis, war, and peace. Co-leaders and members of the writing team (with their organization affiliations when they worked on this project) are:


Chief Master Sergeant Curtis L. Brownhill, USAF (Ret.), former U.S. Central Command Senior Enlisted Advisor

Dr. Albert C. Pierce, Professor of Ethics and National Security, National Defense University

Writing team members:

Command Master Chief (SS/EXW) Donald B. Abele, USN, Deputy Director, U.S. Navy Senior Enlisted Academy

Command Chief Master Sergeant Reginald Edwards, USAF, District of Columbia National Guard Senior Enlisted Leader

Command Sergeant Major Richard Espinoza, USA, District of Columbia National Guard, Land Component Command

Master Gunnery Sergeant Andrew Hampton, USMC, Second Marine Division, G3 Operations

Master Sergeant James P. Horvath, USMC, Joint Special Operations Forces Senior Enlisted Academy, Special Operations Command

Master Sergeant Douglas J. Schmidt, USAF, Instructional Systems Designer, NCO Academy Curriculum, Thomas N. Barnes Center for Enlisted Education

Master Sergeant Joel C. Zecca, USA, Director, U.S. Army Advanced Leader Course—Common Core (DL), United States Army Sergeants Major Academy

Chief Petty Officer C.C. Clayton, USCG, Public Affairs, Headquarters U.S. Coast Guard

The members of the writing team wish to thank and commend several individuals and organizations for their outstanding contributions to this project:

NDU Press, especially Dr. Jeffrey D. Smotherman for his superb editing

General Richard B. Myers, USAF (Ret.), Command Sergeant Major Jeff Mellinger, USA (Ret.), Command Sergeant Major Mark Ripka, USA (Ret.), and Dr. Rick Swain for their executive review of the manuscript and offering invaluable suggestions for improving the book

GPO Creative Services, particularly Chris Dunham for his original design work and typesetting

Hugo Cantu of the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy for his talented graphic support and cover concept.