Assumption of Command

11 March 2005

Command Sergeants Major

The Command Sergeant Major (CSM) is a very unique position in the US Army. Their job is to be the highest ranking Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) in a unit at a battalion level or higher. He or she works directly for the Commander. A CSM is an E-9 (the highest enlisted rank) , just like all other sergeants major, but due to their position they get a different title.

Because they report directly to the Commander, their orders carry the same weight as the Commander. Therefore, a CSM has more authority than most of the officers in the unit. The CSM can be a Captain's or Lieutenant's worst nightmare. Here is some one that is lower ranking than them but will tell them what to do. Just ask any officer that was "lectured" by his commander for crossing the CSM.

Sometimes CSMs will take this a little too far and will think they are all powerful. I once heard a CSM, while on a rant on a touchy subject, say, "Hey I can't make E-10, can I?"

Nobody really knows what their exact job duty entails, but here is a list of things they seem to do:

  • Mentor subordinate NCOs
  • Advise the Commander on all enlisted matters
  • Set the uniform policy
  • Enforce standards and policies
  • Head groundskeeper

Most the time, the Command Sergeant Major's job is to be a pain in the rear end. I wouldn't have it any other way. I have a lot of respect for the CSMs in the US Army. They do the things that their Commander does not have time to do, keeping the Commander focused on the mission at hand. CSMs are the pain in the rear end the Commander needs to keep the unit at the high standards that is expected.

The difference between strong army and a week army is the ability and authority of the Non-Commissioned Officers. Our CSMs are a big part of making the Army strong.