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United States Army Noncommissioned Officer Academy

SENIOR Leader Course (SLC)

Fort Sill, Oklahoma 73503

ATSF-WD 12 JUNE 2011

SUBJECT: Essay Guidelines

1. Purpose: Noncommissioned Officers are required to write two essays while in SLC; one essay on a Cultural Awareness topic and the other on Branch History and Battle Analysis Methodology in order to complete the SLC TRADOC requirements for each of these areas IAW writing and correspondence. These writing projects will enable NCOs to develop their research and writing skills to become more effective leaders. This policy will outline guidelines with how each of these essays will be written and detailed instruction on those topics and ideas.

2. Essay Guidelines. Prepare two essays, each 1500-2000 words in length, using the Modern Language Association (MLA) format/writing style. The essays will include the following in this order:

  1. Title Page

  2. Formal sentence outline (your outline must contain at least four supporting ideas with at least two subtopics for each supporting idea)

  3. Final draft

  4. Works cited page (a list of research from at least four different sources)

  5. Clarity index (see clarity info page)

  6. Mind Mapping

  7. Grouping

General Guidelines

  • Conduct library/internet research; only 40% of the essay is work cited from the research and no Wikipedia is allowed. 60% of the essay must be your own thoughts, ideas, and analysis.

  • Type your essay on a computer and print it out on standard, white 8.5 x 11-inch paper.

  • Double-space the text of your paper, and use a legible font like Times New Roman. The font size should be 12 pt.

  • Leave two spaces after periods and one space after other punctuation marks (unless otherwise instructed by your instructor).


SUBJECT: Essay Guidelines

  • Set the margins of your document to one-inch on all sides. Indent the first line of a paragraph one half-inch (five spaces or press tab once) from the left margin.

  • Create a header that numbers all pages consecutively in the upper right-hand corner, one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin. (Note: Your instructor may ask that you omit the number on your first page. Always follow your instructor's guidelines.)

  • Use either italics or underlining throughout your essay for the titles of longer works and, only when necessary, providing emphasis.

  • If you have any endnotes, include them on a separate page before your Works Cited page.

Formatting the First Page of Your Paper (not the Title Page)

  1. In the upper left-hand corner of the first page, list your name, your instructor's name, the course, and the date. Again, be sure to use double-spaced text.

  2. Double space again and center the title. Don't underline your title or put it in quotation marks; write the title in Title Case, not in all capital letters.

  3. Double space between the title and the first line of the text.

  4. Create a header in the upper right-hand corner that includes your last name, followed by a space with a page number; number all pages consecutively with Arabic numerals (1, 2, 3, 4, etc.), one-half inch from the top and flush with the right margin.

3. Clarity Index. When Microsoft Word finishes checking spelling and grammar, it can display information about the reading level of the document, including the following readability scores. For your essay, your documents should contain no more than 10 percent passive sentences in order to receive a satisfactory rating. The Flesch Reading Ease score rates text on a 100-point scale; the higher the score, the easier it is to understand the document. For your document, the standard is a score of approximately 40-60 in order to receive a satisfactory rating. The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level score rates text on a U.S. grade-school level, for example, a score of 8.0 means that an eighth grader can understand the document. For your documents, the standard is a grade level of approximately 10.0 to 13.0 for a satisfactory score.


SUBJECT: Essay Guidelines


  1. Words__________

  2. Paragraphs______

  3. Sentences_______


  1. Sentences per Paragraph__________

  2. Words per Sentence______________


  1. Passive Sentences_______________

  2. Flesch Reading Ease_____________

  3. Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level_______

4. Evaluation. Your essays are evaluated on mind mapping, use of active voice, structure, outline, controlling idea, spelling/punctuation, and its clarity. In order to receive an overall superior score, you must receive at least a superior rating in 6 of 7 categories. In order to receive an overall satisfactory score, you must receive at least a satisfactory in 6 of the 7 categories.
5. Information can also be obtained from “A Guide for Writing Research Papers Based on Modern Language Association” to assist in writing your essays:
(MLA) Documentation
Writing a Research Paper
Guidelines for Research Papers

6. The following assignments are due on the listed dates:

  1. Branch History and Battle Analysis Methodology Essay (Group project); turned into SGL IAW training schedule.

  1. Cultural Awareness Essay (Individual project); turned into SGL IAW training schedule.


SUBJECT: Essay Guidelines

These dates are final and non-negotiable, so plan accordingly. All papers are due to SGLs NLT 0800 of the relevant day. Use of plagiarism could result in negative counseling and removal from Honors consideration at SLC and possible dismissal from the course. Any questions regarding plagiarism should be addressed prior to final submission of any work.

7. Branch History and Battle Analysis Methodology Essay.

    1. The goal for this essay is to assist in the goal of Instruction of Military History (IMH) IAW TRADOC Regulation 350-13 in order to focus students on branch history and heritage of their branch. The context for the essay illustrates the applications of military history to training and leadership and a sense of branch significance.

    1. Objectives.

        • Provide Soldiers with a program of basic military heritage and history instruction that is sequential and progressive, including tools which may be used for continued professional development.

        • Stimulate an interest in continuous study of military and branch history beyond the classroom through individual reading programs, to assist future leaders in forming mature judgments about the profession of arms.

        • To know and understand the evolution and historical contribution of the NCO in the U.S. Army; the role of the NCO during the evolution of combined arms warfare; and the uses of history in military leadership.

  1. Guidelines for a Branch History & Battle Analysis Methodology Essay. The following serves as a guide in which to research, outline, draft and type your final essay.

  • Write an essay on a topic concerning a battle related to your branch discussing the history and the outcome or affect relative to what the branch had on that topic and how it relates to the evolution and contribution towards today’s military operations and bring a historical perspective to contemporary military problems and leadership.

  1. Cultural Awareness Guidelines and Topics.

  1. The goal for this essay is to meet TRADOC and the Fires Center of Excellence Commanding General’s intent of implementing Cultural Awareness training into NCOES using the following goals as set by TRADOC:


SUBJECT: Essay Guidelines

  • Cultural Expertise – Culture professionals and leaders who possess an advanced level of cross-cultural competence pertaining to a specific geographic area. These Soldiers

will be able to evaluate and synthesize terms, factors, concepts, and regional information into plans, programs, and advice to commanders.

  • Cultural Understanding – Soldiers and Leaders who will be able to apply relevant terms, factors, concepts and regional information to their tasks and missions, as well as analyze situational requirements.

  • Cultural Awareness - Soldiers who have foundational cross-cultural competence with comprehension and knowledge to identify and describe key terms, factors, and concepts associated with culture fundamentals and cultural self awareness.

      1. Learning Objectives. The purpose of this assignment is to prepare a socio-cultural analysis of an assigned nation/region as discussed in FM 3-24, Counterinsurgency.

  • Define the meaning of culture.

  • Explain at least five major characteristics that define a culture.

  • Describe the common culture characteristics of a region of the world.

  • Must address the following areas within the essay:

    1. Overview of the assigned nation’s/regions physical geography and military conflict history

      • Complex Terrain

      • Urban/Sub Urban Terrain

      • Key Infrastructure

      • Lines of Communication

      • Significant past military conflicts and their impact on the society

    1. Weather Analysis

      • Effects on population, agriculture, smuggling, insurgency, etc.

    1. Civil Consideration: Overview of the factors of ASCOPE (areas, structures, capabilities, organizations, people, and events).

    1. More detailed discussion of the “P” of ASCOPE, people (Society, Social Structure, Culture, Language, Power and Authority, and Interests)


SUBJECT: Essay Guidelines

      1. Possible Essay Country Topics. The following list prescribes the specific regions from which a student will focus their essay topic. The intent is to focus on a discreet set of regions and countries that are expected to be of strategic relevance for operations or engagements now and in the future.

  • Middle East Southeast Asia South America

  • Southwest Asia East Asia North Africa

  • South Asia Caribbean Basin Sub-Saharan Africa

9. POC for this memorandum is the undersigned at (580) 442-2619.

//original signed//



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