Expected Behavior of an NCO and how it differs from being lower enlisted

Expected Behavior of an NCO and how it differs from being lower enlisted



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Non-commissioned Officers (NCO) are enlisted soldiers of rank E-4 and above. A non-commissioned officer is not considered to be in command. He receives his authority from a commissioned officer (HAD, 2002). NCOs are the mid rank people in almost all military branches, for instance, the air force. They are senior enlisted who have risen through the ranks out of experience. They do not go through the officer training school. For a non-commissioned officer to reach a position of power in the military, he has to have many years of experience. One has to rise through the various enlisted ranks. On most occasions, sergeants and corporals are non-commissioned officers. This may also differ depending on how the military is organized.

Non-commissioned officers play a very crucial role in the everyday running of the military. They are considered to be the framework on which the rest of the military is built. They serve as the link between commissioned officers and the lower enlisted officers (HAD, 2002). The senior officers in the military depend on NCOs to get information concerning important issues that affect the rest of the military. This is important considering that the military setting discourages interaction between commissioned and enlisted officers. Hence the military depends on the non-commissioned officers to link the two sections. Other than linking officers with servicemen, Non-commissioned officers also carry out a number of other tasks. These include tasks like filling, coming up with a schedule for the servicemen and other administrative duties.

Other than administrative non-commissioned officers also offers also offer a lot of valuable advice to their seniors (EPC, 1984). This is because most of the non-commissioned officers have vast experience and are fairly well trained. While most commissioned officers are well educated, most of them do not have enough field experience. Non-commissioned officers on the other hand, have vast field experience as they rise through the ranks out of experience. Hence, they advise the commanding officers on several issues pertaining command. Though non-commissioned officers do not attend officer training, they are an important resource in the military.

Due to the important role non-commissioned officer’s play in the military, they are expected to display a certain type of behavior. They are expected to behave in a manner that shows professionalism and one that earns the military respect across the world. The expected behavior is laid down in the NCOs code of conduct (HDA, 2002).

Whenever duty demands the non-commissioned officers must do their job with precision. This is because NCO is considered to be the backbone of the military and are the usually the best trained among the enlisted soldiers (EPC, 1984). The non-commissioned officers just like all other military men are expected to observe military values to the best of their ability. These values are designed to develop and ensure discipline within the force. The non-commissioned officers are expected to do the right thing despite difficulties. One has to show these values in both actions and words.

One trait that all Non-commissioned officers must display in their behavior is loyalty. In all a non-commissioned officer does, he has to abide by the laws of the land and be loyal to his country (HAD, 2002). He also must be loyal to his unit and to fellow soldiers. One must stand with his soldiers at all times and understand when they make mistakes. Every NCO must understand that he and his soldiers are part of a bigger mission. For this reason he must carry himself in a manner that will help the military accomplish its goals. One should commit himself to executing decisions made by his superiors as opposed to passing them down to his soldiers or discussing them with peers. In the military loyalty is considered to be a very important asset hence one is expected to show loyalty to the force in everything they do.

A non-commissioned officer is expected to behave responsibly when carrying out his duties. One is expected to the right thing no matter how difficult it might be. One is expected to do the right thing even when no one else is watching (HAD, 2002). An NCO is expected to handle each situation as it demands and accept the responsibility for his actions no matter the outcome. One is expected to put the interests of the nation and his mission ahead of his personal safety. Even is absence of a senior officer to give orders, an NCO is expected to behave in such a way that he fulfils his professional obligations.

A non-commissioned officer must behave with respect. This involves treating other people with honor. One has to understand that others in the force are as committed to accomplishing the job at hand as the non-commissioned officer himself is (EPC, 1984). The only difference is that they may have a slightly different way of getting it done. In showing respect, one has to behave professionally and honestly. An NCO is expected to treat other soldiers like mature adults just as he is.

A non-commissioned soldier has to behave with integrity. This means that one is expected to display behavior that is right in terms of the law as well as in terms of morals. An NCO has to avail himself whenever duty calls. One is expected to live by his word without offering scapegoats as to why he cannot deliver what he promised. Behaving with integrity requires that a soldier must acknowledge his mistakes whenever he makes them, without waiting for other people to point them out. One has to live up to the military expectation of being people of integrity. This is besides their technical expertise.

Non-commissioned officers are expected to be brave in the face of danger. Hence one is expected to have a very high degree of perseverance. One is expected to persevere but is not expected to tolerate improper behavior in others. An NCO must in his behavior display courage; both physical courage as well as moral courage. Overcoming physical fear is being courageous in the face bodily harm while moral courage involves doing the right thing even when it’s unpopular EPC, 1984). A non-commissioned officer is not expected to compromise his morals and should hold his position as long as he is convinced that what he stands for is right. In times of danger, one is expected to take the right action and do so immediately. The reasoning behind this is that it can save a lot of lives. Rather than talking of military values, one is expected to take them as his and actually live by them.

An NCO should not quit before he accomplishes his mission. Before commencing on a mission, one must set his mind on it so that once the mission commences, one perseveres till the mission is over (HAD, 2002). His behavior must show his refusal to accept failure. No matter how much effort a mission requires and no matter how long it takes. No matter the situation one must behave with honor and live up to the values of the military.

Lower enlisted are lower rank soldiers, from E1 to E4. They rank lower than commissioned officers and do not go through the officer training college (HDA, 2002). Whereas it is a requirement that an officer holds a bachelors’ degree, there is no such requirement for enlisted soldiers. NCOs are enlisted too only that they rank higher than the lower enlisted. NCOs are senior enlisted. They are mostly more experienced than lower enlisted. For this reason, they are expected to behave more responsibly than junior enlisted. NCO’s hold bigger responsibilities than junior enlisted.


Headquarters Department of the Army (2002). The Army Non-commissioned Officer Guide.

Retrieved from http://armypubs.army.mil/doctrine/DR_pubs/dr_a/pdf/fm7_22x7.pdfEthics and Professionalism Committee (1984). The non-commissioned officer and the

professional ethics. Retrieved from http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a100984.pdf