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Military police among first USASMA fellows.

The U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA), Fort Bliss, Texas, launched a fellowship program with Pennsylvania State University in mid-2015. The USASMA selected 20 sergeants major from a list of applicants. Those selected spent the next year earning a master's degree in education.

Three military police sergeants major (Sergeant Major Scot D. Cates, Sergeant Major Jason B. Johnson, and Sergeant Major Steven M. Townsend) were among the selected applicants. The USASMA fellows started their courses in September 2015 and finished in August 2016. The fellows were required to complete four courses during each of the Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 semesters and three courses during the Summer 2016 semester.

Unlike other fellowship programs in the Army where students spend a year at a university or college taking courses, the USASMA fellowship assigns its students to USASMA to take online courses through Pennsylvania State University World Campus. The intent of the fellowship program is to meet the Army's objective of developing agile, adaptive, and innovative leaders who thrive in conditions of uncertainty and chaos.

To help the fellows kick off their academic year, Pennsylvania State University sent Dr. William C. Diehl, advisor and professor, to USASMA to provide a 2-day orientation of the master's degree program and Pennsylvania State University World Campus. Throughout the year, the sergeants major remained in constant contact with their professors, faculty advisors, and classmates, using technology to synchronously meet. Dr. Diehl proved to be a tremendous adviser for the fellows, even ensuring that the Shamrocks Irish Pub on Fort Bliss was open to allow the fellows to take in the Pennsylvania State University--Army football game during their first semester. The fellows enjoyed their academic year and their newfound affiliation with the university.

In late August, the fellows participated in a special graduation ceremony that was hosted by the USASMA, with Pennsylvania State University staff and faculty in attendance. Now that the military police fellows have graduated with master's degrees in lifelong learning and adult education, they will teach future enlisted leaders who attend the Sergeants Major Course, fulfilling their 3-year service obligation to the Army. Sergeant Major Cates was assigned to the Directorate of Training and Doctrine; Sergeant Major Johnson was assigned to the Department of Force Management; and Sergeant Major Townsend was assigned to the Joint Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational Department.

Applications for Class 3 of the fellowship program are now open in accordance with Military Personnel (MILPER) Message Number 16-218, Fiscal Year 2017 U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy Fellowship Program. (1) Cates, Johnson, and Townsend strongly recommend the program for those interested in furthering their education and giving back to the Corps.

As mentioned on the USASMA Web site, "The Secretary of the Army and Chief of Staff, U.S. Army, went before the Armed Services Committee on March 25, 2014, and said that 'We must continue to educate and develop Soldiers and civilians to grow intellectual capacity to understand the complex contemporary security environment to better lead Army, joint, interagency, and multinational task forces and teams. Therefore, we will reinvest and transform our institutional educational programs for officers and noncommissioned officers in order to prepare them for the complex future security environment.' General Odierno's approval of this program is a testament to his commitment to transform our institutional education programs." (2)


(1) MILPER Message Number 16-218, Fiscal Year 2017 U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy Fellowship Program, 8 August 2016.

(2) USASMA Fellowship Program, USASMA Web site, <>, accessed on 22 November 2016.

By Sergeant Major Steven M. Townsend

Sergeant Major Townsend is an instructor for the Sergeants Major Course, Joint Interagency, Intergovernmental, and Multinational Department, Fort Bliss. He holds a master's degree in education from Pennsylvania State University.
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Author:Townsend, Steven M.
Publication:Military Police
Geographic Code:1U7TX
Date:Mar 22, 2017
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