Career Development In The Sri Lanka Army Management Essay


1. Career development includes acquiring of educational qualifications and use of skills and abilities to achieve desired goals as an individual. Career development enhances personal and professional qualities of an individual. Sri Lanka has been successfully eradicated the terrorism from the motherland. Officers and Senior Non Commission Officers ( SNCOs) and soldiers of the Sri Lanka army committed dedicatedly and bravely to end the thirty years led cruel war. Major concerns were drawn on war fighting and to finish it off soon, rather giving importance to other self development activities. Presently whole Sri Lanka is experiencing the Peace irrespective of ethic groups.

2. After the war, numbers of implementations have been made to develop Sri Lankan army as a professional army. To make those efforts a successful career development plans can be played a significant role. SNCOs are being considered as the back borne of the Sri Lanka army; hence greater concern must be drawn towards enhance their career development. Frequent guidance and supervision of soldiers are carried out by the SNCOs, to ensure smooth function of chain of command effectively. Future army has to be carried out lot of development tasks. Even today army has entrusted with many national development projects all around the country. In such circumstances military have to carry out development tasks liaison with public. Acquire professionalism through career development make these events happen successfully. Therefore it is a timely requirement to introduce a better career development plans for SNCOs in Sri Lanka army.

3. Officers are responsible to provide the required training and assistance in order to ensure career development of SNCOs. Constant guidance and the directions are to be given in order to improve their competencies. While receiving directions from the officers SNCOs should have to have personal interest and willingness to get them proficient and acquire relevant qualifications to get their career developed. SNCOs should posses a better theoretical knowledge on military theories which are applicable for their levels. In the same way they should posses some extra qualifications with regard to the academic and social aspects. This plays a vital part when SNCOs are deployed both in war situations and when deployed in Operations Other Than War (OOTW) in peace time. Further it creates opportunities to function of mission command within the army, which is going to be a new command component to the Sri Lankan army. Application of Mission Command will lead army in to a victorious position by inspiriting.


4. The aim of this service paper is to study how career development of Senior Non Commissioned Officers in Sri Lanka army can be developed.


5. To develop individual’s career individuals have to have personal interest than others. Although it is such, army is commanded and directed by the chain of command. Therefore it is the duty of command structures to lay down the means to implement career development of SNCOs. A career development plan needs to be flexible enough to account for crisis situations. Following measures can be implemented and identified in order to achieve career development of SNCOs in Sri Lanka army.


6. It is obvious that training is the number one priority of a disciplined army, while enhancing cohesiveness and will to fight by upgrading the physical and moral components. Basically career courses and training modules are designed to develop all the skills of SNCOs’. It further develops moral component to cope with physical activities. They should have to have a sound theoretical and practical knowledge on their desired fields. Training should not focus only the military aspects but also it should be considered to improve and develop social and academic knowledge as well.


7. Directorate of Training is formulating training directives and training schedules for entire army. These are published and circulated among the institutions annually. These training schedules are mainly focused to enhance both practical and theoretical knowledge of military personnel. Its paramount important to have sound military training for every SNCO. Following areas can be identified as salient aspects in military training.

8. Theoretical Knowledge on Military subjects. Tactics, Field Craft, Map Reading, Mess accounts, Counter Insurgency Operations and military leadership are the basic theories that SNCOs should know. To be qualified as a SNCO an attending courses are a prerequisite. It is to be considered, this as a compulsory requirement to qualify in courses which impart this theoretical knowledge. Irrespective of the arm equal opportunities and vacancies are to be allocated among units when selecting SNCOs for these courses. SNCOs from Teeth Arm, support arm or either service units are to be equally considered for the military courses. It is not a matter only an attending a course, but they should have to obtain an above average grading in the course. Following considerations will help them to maintain good level of military theoretical knowledge.

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a. Obtaining Military Phamlets and publications and frequent reference will benefit to maintain good theoretical knowledge which has acquired. Establish a library in unit level is immensely beneficial for them to refer these documents. Moreover the knowledge they posses can be imparted to their subordinate soldiers.

b. Promotion and refresher courses can be held in unit lines. SNCOs are to be nominated to conduct lectures. It would help them to improve theoretical knowledge and instructor abilities.

c. Tick test can be held to check weather their knowledge is updated. If they weak, they can be advised to draw attention on weaker areas. Explore opportunities SNCOs to participate in War Games to determine their practical knowledge.

9. Military Procedures. SNCOs should have to have a thorough knowledge regarding the procedures adopt in the army. Further they can guide and advise their men under them. They are to aware functions and responsibilities of army; army headquarters other formations, units and training establishments in the army. Knowing these aspects better, become more convenient them when they attend day today official works. Moreover it will help to mitigate unnecessary delays and shortcomings of official works. Basically this can be considered as knowing own organization rules.

10. Discipline. Discipline is utmost important for every soldiers who function as a uniform worn person. Therefore it is paramount importance to maintain high level of discipline within SNCOs. They should respect and follow the higher command and they are responsible to ensure that lower level carry out the same. Mastering in drills and continues drill practices will ensure proper function of routine works aggressively. When SNCOs are capable of doing so there will be pleasant working environment within their respective military establishments. In order to guide others, SNCOs should be qualified in Drill Instructor (DI) course. SNCO hold the appointment as Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM) in a unit or any other military establishment. Hence this is very important aspect to get trained in for these higher appointments of theirs.

11. Weapon Training. To uplift the standards of SNCOs they should be given a better military training. Every SNCO should be given an opportunity to follow the Battalion Support Weapon training course. Why it is emphasized? To train all SNCOs because then they know the characteristics of battalion weapons and their effective deployment including ant air craft guns. Infantry SNCOs are compulsory to follow this. Knowing the subject proper it will become an additional qualification for support arm and service unit persons. Once they become master in weapon training they would be able to train men under their command in better way.

12. Mess Etiquettes. Irrespective of ranks knowing this subject is a significant factor. SNCOs will be appointed as Officers’ Mess staff there they got to direct and handle waiters cooking staff and batman and looked after the mess. Apart from that numbers of mess functions are hold, where they needed to assist above personnel. Other than those they too dine in messes and they will be invited for civilian meals in outsides and social functions, if they have adequate knowledge on mess etiquette it is much beneficial them to carry out indicated activities. SNCOs should be given opportunities to attend courses conduct in civilian hotels. Presently this is happening but it is the time to explore these opportunities. If they know the subject then SNCOs will be become more confident in mess customs. Furthermore SNCOs will be able to oversee functions of their junior messes as well.

13. Military Law. SNCOs must know the military law. They initially draft Charge Sheets with chief clerks and they should have to have considerable knowledge in order to awarding power of punishments. To become discipline and make others disciplined this knowledge is much important. Rules and regulations power of punishments should be in their finger tips. Opportunities should create them for acquiring knowledge pertaining to military law. This will ensure making a lawful soldier and make forces an offence free.

14. Leadership Traits. SNCOs are there to lead soldiers, possession of thorough knowledge and awareness of leadership qualities and practice will definitely uplift their career development. SNCOs should be exemplary to their fellow soldiers because they always follow what SNCOs do. Normally in our army presently all think that officers are the leaders. It’s true that army is commanded by officers. Knowing leadership traits and applying them is applicable to SNCOs too. To lead their subordinates SNCO should aware how leadership functions within its frameworks. Further its is increases cohesiveness and unity of command.

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15. Having military knowledge is a must, it is a bread and butter of a militiaman. It is similarly important both in peace and in war. With respect to the SNCOs under peace environment it is envisage that they will be deployed in peace time operations specially Operations Other Than War (OOTW). Apart from that after the war Sri Lanka is on fast development track. Government and Ministry of Defense has been planned to deploy security forces in numerous development activities.

16 Sri Lanka set an example to the world by rescuing highest amount of civilians held under terrorist. Except very few numbers others have successfully resettled. In the newly resettled areas development tasks are being carried out by the army soldiers. In future these opportunities will explore in great deal. In order to face these commitments they should have to have a good knowledge to face such situations following areas can be identified as areas to be developed within the SNCOs.

17. International Humanitarian Law, Civil Legislation Systems and Laws of Armed Conflicts. Especially when deal with civilian society SNCOs should educated on these very important legal aspects. In addition every soldier is bounded by both military and civil law. Then it will more beneficial when they deal in peace time operations. Soldiers under them can be made aware explaining the various situations. There are work shops and training programmes held at civil institutions we can create more opportunities for them to attend.

18. Proficiency in Languages. It is observed that most of SNCOs do not have ability to communicate with English language. Steps and directions are to be drawn towards develop these skills. Fill up a simple form sometimes become a difficult task for SNCOs. In addition they should have the ability to communicate with English language up to some extent. This cannot be considered as an added qualification. Presently this is a prerequisite qualification. Further SNCOs are participated in foreign courses and attending United Nations Peace keeping missions. This will come in handy when they are qualified in this aspect. It has observed that most of SNCOs when dealing with civil society not knowing English language has become a barrier. This immensely beneficial their personal lives as well. SNCOs have to have keen interest within them to learn and to acquire the required knowledge. When SNCOs obtain retirement after twenty two years of service and they join to the civil society with civilian job, having an English speaking and writing capability it greatly help them. Further when working in North and east it is a requirement to know the Tamil language. It is not needed to master the language but they should be able to communicate with Tamil people with having fare knowledge.

19. Social Etiquette. SNCOs are invited to attend social functions and represent officers some occasions. When dealing with civilian society there are some social norms and customs SNCOs must aware. Opportunities to be made to acquire adequate knowledge in this regard. They should be dressed smartly and elegantly. Constant practices and make comfortable these circumstances.

20. Physical Training Sports Activities. Physical efficiency is a must. Annual efficiency tests to be carried out in order to see the performances. Sportsmanship ensures dynamic functions in SNCOs daily today life. They should be able not only to play some games but also rules of the games. This will enhance and help to maintain their mental and physical stamina. In addition it is SNCOs’ responsibility to make sure their subordinates attend and continue sports activities in their day today lives.

21. Promotions. The promotions in service personnel are judged against the eligibility criteria; experience, training, education and recommendation in annual appraisal, for the next rank. SNCOs are to be awarded timely promotions. Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) are being considered during promotions. Moreover field experience also to be considered. It is reflect the overall picture of the particular SNCO. It’s the responsibility of SNCOs to ensure make timely recommendations award promotions men under them. Further SNCOs should ensure their subordinates’ ACRs are filled at the right time. There should be separate formulated criteria when considering promotions of medically categorized SNCOs. Serious breaches of discipline are a matter to consider when awarding promotions. SNCs found guilty for severe offence should not consider further promotions.

22. Welfare Facilities. Welfare facilities will lead to develop morale factor of SNCOs. They should be known to aware all the welfare facilities provided within the army. It is observed that most of the SNCOs are not known to the available welfare facilities provided within the army. It is to be made sure that soldiers are provided with and utilize available welfare facilities in the army. Apart from the service personnel their families too benefited through this process. When welfare matters are addressed their personal and official lives are become prosperous.

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23. Counseling. Counseling will mitigate the traumatic situations of soldiers. SNCOs can interview and advise their fellow soldiers if they really need to do so. We needed to train our SNCOs on how counseling is to be done and on counseling techniques. This will immensely beneficial for their personal lives too. This will uplift the mental stamina of soldiers in the army.

24. Information Technology awareness and Training (IT). Today world has become more sophisticated and technologies have become plenty available. We have to introduce an internet based information technology system widely within the army. This will ensure unnecessary delay in transformation of information among military establishments. SNCOs should be given comprehensive awareness programmes in order to enhance their capabilities. Presently SNCOs are reluctant and have lesser interest to involve in this field. They should be motivated and direct to get train in IT field.

25. Prepare an Individual Development Plan (IDP). The IDP is a plan that outlines SNCOs education, training and experience goals. Determine and define their career goals and objectives in concrete terms. Per each SNCO having such plan will indeed help them individually. This plan may different form individual to individual. By assessing each SNCO it can make the improvements and the necessary adjustments.. Although this is made by some one else for SNCO’s benefit he himself have the responsibly to give his suggestions. This can be maintained with their personal files. This is a dynamic process.


26. The Army must develop an ambitious program for SNCOs to improve their careers and move toward advancement. The Army Career development programmes, should planned to provides necessary and required knowledge. It is the responsibility of officers to ensure SNCOs under their command receive adequate training and knowledge. Absolutely within the SNCOs perceptions they have to have keen interest and aspirations to get improve their careers as professionals. This has become a timely requirement. Future of the army would be more competitive war experiences are not only is the selection criteria for any matter. Constant guidance and supervision have to be taken place in order to motivate SNCOs towards their desired goals. Sri Lanka army is awarded with lot of United Nations peacekeeping missions. More opportunities can be envisage. Therefore more SNCOs will send to attend in these missions. To qualify working in international peace missions career development is a must.

27. It is a timely requirement to implement career development plans in the army to develop SNCOs careers. Professional SNCO is an asset to the particular establishment. Combat power of an army will enhance when SNCOs become more professional. It is obviously increased the combat efficiency and the will to fight of soldiers having qualified set of SNCOs in unit lines. When implementing career planning SNCOs who are medically categorized also to be given consideration.


28. Mission Command can be introduced to Sri Lankan army as a newest concept. In order to practice mission command it is needed to have well trained, trusted, qualified, mutually understandable and dedicated SNCOs. By doing so conceptual achievements can be made. There command can be decentralized among SNCOs. Presently Sri Lanka army is practicing an officer based responsibility system. For each an every task is assigned to an officer and responsibility is lies on him. Rather than tasking an officer a miner accomplishment, we can designate it to a SNCO with responsibility. They are having more experiences than young officers who are newly joined to the regiments. Better and quick result can be gained by doing so. Hence it is important to develop careers of SNCOs. Career planning of SNCOs are presently taking place in regimental levels. In order to develop careers of officers’ in the army, under Military Secretariat Branch (MSB) “Officers’ Career Planning Cell” is functioning. Similarly it is suggested to create a SNCOs Career Planning Cell. If so it can be functioned independently. Based on ACRs SNCOs should evaluate and they should consider for ERE appointments and other designations. It would like to suggest that, ACRs of SNCOs should include their academic qualifications as well. There should be separate criteria and plans to develop to asses medically categorized SNCOs. When it comes to the selection process of courses and other training programmes they are to be given equal status. Because they have done their maximum sacrifice to the nation. Finally to become better army it is to be created a career developed group of SNCOs.

(Word Count 3,133)

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