Nominative Leader Education

Nominative Leader Course (NLC)

Target Audience: Nominative Command Sergeants Major (CSM) and Sergeants Major (SGM) in their first assignment as senior enlisted leaders and advisors in Army commands, organizations, and directorates at the Brigadier and Major General (BG/MG) and Senior Executive Service (SES) 1 and 2 level.

Location: USAWC, Carlisle Barracks, PA

Duration: 2 weeks

Offered: Three times per year

Prerequisites: Attendees must be graduates of the Sergeants Major Course (SMC) and may also have a requirement to complete Distributed Leader Course (DLC) VI prior to attending NLC.

Overview: NLC is the Sergeant Major of the Army's (SMA's) course to educate and develop appointed nominative CSM and SGMs in their first assignment at the executive level. The course serves as the final professional military education opportunity under the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development System (NCOPDS). NLC is a required two week strategic leader development course for all active duty nominative CSM / SGMs; Army National Guard and U.S. Army Reserve nominative sergeants major attend NLC on a space available basis.

NLC provides a broad learning experience focused on thinking, leading, advising, and communicating at the strategic level. Students participate in numerous curriculum activities across four learning bins—Understanding the Army’s Operating Environment; Understanding Critical Army Issues; Understanding and Applying Senior Leadership; and Understanding and Addressing Army Functional Issues—to expand their appreciation of the opportunities and challenges inherent in Army strategic leadership positions. Students are exposed to senior military and civilian officials and recognized thought-leaders in industry and world-renowned executive education programs throughout the course. The course consists of a mix of large and small group discussions, practical exercises, and projects as well as individual writing and speaking requirements. NLC's first week largely centers on gaining a conceptual understanding of how strategic leadership differs from direct and organizational leadership that students have experienced thus far in their Army careers. The course’s second week focuses that broad understanding to examining strategic leadership in Army organizations at the enterprise level across the Total Force.

Individual student requirements include: maintaining compliance with Army physical fitness and body composition standards; completing a selected book reading and writing requirement; drafting an Army enterprise policy or program proposal and presenting it to the class; completing several video recordings on select topics; and contributing to a group presentation in response to a strategic question posed by the SMA.

Funding for this course comes through Military Training Specific Allotment (MSTA) funds through the student's unit of assignment.

Students are selected to attend NLC by their component's nominative sergeant major proponent manager.

In accordance with HQDA Message "Updated Information on Structured Self-Development (SSD) Levels One Through Five Conversion to Distributed Leader Course (DLC) Levels One Through Six," dated 04 June 2020, Sergeants Major Course graduates assigned to a position associated with a 7 C/S Professional Development Proficiency Code (PDPC) after 29 Feb 2020 must complete DLC VI prior to attending NLC.

Course Details available at:


Nominative Spouse Seminar (NSS)

Target Audience: Spouses of Nominative Command Sergeants Major (CSM) and Sergeants Major (SGM) attending the Nominative Leader Course (NLC).

Location: USAWC, Carlisle Barracks, PA

Duration: 1 week

Offered: Three times per year

Overview: Held in conjunction with NLC, the NSS promotes Total Force Readiness by preparing nominative sergeants’ major spouses for the opportunities and challenges of assuming informal leadership and advisory roles at the senior executive level. NSS represents an investment by the Army into the important unofficial role nominative spouses fill within organizations and for the Army at large.

NSS uses a small group, round-table format to encourage open discussion and debate of nominative spouse issues and opportunities. Participants engage with Army and civilian subject matter experts (SMEs) detailing leadership strategies, skills for both personal and community resiliency, and current Army plans, policies and initiatives, as well as interact with senior nominative spouse mentors. Sessions include experience-based vignettes, hands-on role playing, and take-away reference materials to assist nominative spouses in every facet of their lives. Attendees are encouraged to question and discuss topic areas or other areas of interest with the SMEs.

Nominative spouses are afforded the opportunity to attend NSS when their service member attends NLC

Funding for spouse travel (airfare or POV mileage) is provided at government expense by the Army Strategic Education Program (ASEP) office; spouses are not authorized to receive per diem while attending the course.

Course Details available at: