Army eliminates Distributed Leader Course (DLC I-VI)

NCO LEADERSHIP CENTER OF EXCELLENCE, FT. BLISS, Texas – The Army is eliminating the requirement for all enlisted Soldiers to complete the Distributed Leader Course (DLC I-VI) no later than Oct. 1, 2024. DLC (formerly known as Structured Self-Development (SSD) has been a prerequisite for attendance to resident NCO Professional Military Education (PME) since its fielding in 2010.

In October 2023, The Army Chief of Staff (CSA) directed the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) to “present options to eliminate and/or significantly reduce online training requirements prior to (resident) PME”. This requirement initiated a comprehensive review of all Distributed Learning Prerequisite (DL-P) requirements across the TRADOC enterprise. DL-P is defined as distributed learning required prior to acceptance and attendance of a PME Course.

The Army originally developed SSD (now DLC) in 2010 to bridge the operational and institutional domains and set conditions for continuous growth and life-long learning. The current DLC courses were developed and updated in 2017 and fielded in 2019. The DLCs are prerequisites for resident PME courses and part of the Select, Train, Educate, and Promote policy within the NCO Professional Development System.

In 2010, TRADOC’s Institute of NCO Professional Development launched Structured Self-Development Courses, levels 1-5. These courses were a result of two main decisions the Army made during the global war on terror (GWOT). The first was to fill an educational gap due to the phasing out of NCO Common Core curriculum from the proponents’ Basic Noncomissioned Officers Course (BNCOC), now the Advanced Leaders Course (ALC) and the Advanced Noncomissioned Officers Course (ANCOC), now the Senior Leaders Course (SLC) which were backfilled with military occupation specialty specific technical and tactical tasks subjects in support of the GWOT. Secondly, in 2010, TRADOC published the Army Learning Concept for 2015, changing the focus of the Army’s Learning Model to better meet the needs for the “Soldier of 2015-2020.” This new learning model would blur the lines between the Operational Army and the Generating Force by meshing self-development, institutional instruction, and operational experience. It also laid out how SSD was going to be implemented for all NCOs and how it will meet the needs of the Army Force Generation cycle.

DLC I is currently a requirement prior to attending the Basic Leader Course, DLC II prior to Advance Leader Course, DLC III prior to Senior Leader Course, DLC IV prior to the Master Leader Course, DLC V prior to Sergeants Major Course, and DLC VI prior to the Nominative Leader Course. The same topics in DLC are covered again, more in depth, in the follow on resident PME course. DLC was the theory in preparation for the application of the same topics once in resident NCO PME.

After careful consideration and a lot of analysis, the Army determined that there would be little to no negative impact to resident NCO PME learning outcomes if all six levels of the DLC were discontinued. “We must drive change for our Army in contact and strive for efficiencies in order to continue building our Army of 2030-2040.”

HQDA-G1 will release an ETP to remove the 8K bar for those Soldiers currently flagged for not completing the prerequisite DLC training. Removal of the 8K bar to continued service for failure to complete required SSD/DLC training opens potential for reenlistment/reclassification to over 14K RA Soldiers as of March 2024.