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Old 01-01-2009   #81
RTK
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Originally Posted by ODB View Post
Seems to me that really what we are all saying in our own ways is that we are failing in our training.

With that said how do we fix it? Who do we train and when?

Where is it taught? Is it something added to all advance courses (NCO and Officer)? Or is it done earlier on?

Then when do we revisit that training, part of pre-deployment preparations along with everything else that we are required to suck down?

Do we turn it into it's own course that conducts MTTs?

Have to be honest the few hours I got at SWCS was not enough, felt it should have been more indepth. But then again the senarios training later on really paid off. Definately not something easily trained in death by powerpoint.
At Armor BOLC III training management is given a 1 hour block. It is essentially a "how-do-I-read-chapter-5-of-an-ARTEP" class. I go over training schedules, the platoon leader's role as a participant in sergeant's time training ("you mean my Soldiers can teach me stuff too?"), and what the PLs responsibilities to supporting the troop/company METL are in terms of collaboratively planning and providing guidance to his NCOs the focus on individual, crew, section, and platoon tasks.

Essentially, all the things I bitched about in the earlier post I address as talking points to get it into their minds and adjust our azimuth at the lower levels (my own private insurgency).

1 hour is not enough. The bag is full, however, and I don't know where else to cram it.

Training management was not taught at the Captains Career Course 2 years ago. I seriously doubt they're teaching it now. Jon Slack may have info regarding that one.

My NCOs that have recently come back from BNCOC/ANCOC who said there was very little regarding training management at the platoon level.
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Old 01-01-2009   #82
Gian P Gentile
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Default please, stop the catechisms

I wish some of you coindinistas (I use that term intentionally here to make my following point) would stop throwing these silly little catechisms in our faces. You know things like

"you dont get to pick the war you want to fight," or

"you are not going to kill your way out of this one," or

"in coin politics infuses actions to the lowest levels" or

"in coin man, you cant say 'not my lane," or

"when I was in coin i ate fish and man-kissed with sheiks because I realized what I was doing was inherently political,"

(and when we question calls for “diplomacy” we are not the new millennium’s Emory Uptons who are telling our political masters how and when they can use us!!)

My point is that in this thread to try to sum up and the fact that many of us have done coin at the business end with combat soldiers we get all of the political, nation building stuff; the thing of being respectful, of negotiations by certain levels of leaders with locals. Got It!! Did it!! So Ken White in the Nam ate rice with farmers and me and Big Rob Thornton in the Bdad ate kbobs with sheiks or Iraqi Army colonels!!!

What we are saying, I think, is that for this coin stuff to happen by combat forces first and foremost they must be just that: combat forces, trained, organized and deployed as such. To start throwing catchy words like diplomacy as a potential skill that combat soldiers must have, many of us took a step back and worried about what that actually means on the ground in terms of training, priorities and functions. Does a captain at a cop in the Korengal need to be able to talk, negotiate, bla, bla, bla with the locals? Well yes sure a big duh he does. But does that same concept before that young captain’s company ever gets to the Korengal from Fort Drum, Pendleton, Fort Benning, etc play itself out by meaning that instead of going to the shoot-house for a month it gets classes from the local community college on conflict resolution? See what I am getting at, and I think this is in line with RTK’s concern too.

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Old 01-01-2009   #83
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Default The million dollar answer

Where do we fit it in? What do we get rid of? I know we already try to cram everything possible in the shortest time possible. I just don't know what the answer is. I put myself in both shoes as the trainer and the student. We all know when we are the student we sit there and think why are they teaching me this? I have better things to do with my time. As the instructor we think I don't have enough time to train them on this. Can we ever get there, I do not know, I like to think we can.

I personally think we spend entirely too much time on yearly, quarterly redundant training. My pet peeves are the quarterly POSH training, the yearly safety training, terrorism level 1 training....etc. I just think there are more important things our soldiers need to be spending there time doing. IMO many of things would go away if we held individuals responsible for their actions, hold their feet to the fire. Hey troop why did you smack her on the ass? Sir I didn't know it was wrong no one trained me on it in the last 3 months. I mean come on..... Sorry to have digressed a bit, just seems to me we are wasting a lot of time on things that do not need to take up such a large percentage of our time.

On the advance course stuff, I know some years ago there was talk of integrating officer and enlisted during points of the course, did this come about? Thought it a good idea on the surface but never heard anything other than that. As some may know from my other posts I'm a big advocate of cross training across the Army. We need more integration on the training levels. Additionally in my experiences with most courses I come away having learned more from my peers than the school house. If only we could get our schoolhouse to adapt like we are on the ground. How can we not streamline this system as well? In the world of technology we have become an Army that does less and less face to face interactions and everything needs to be in pretty little spreadsheets and powerpoint presentations to get anywhere. Sorry but I just simply do not understand why changes take so long in the school house. Years ago when I attended BNCOC they were still teaching how to zero previous generation equipment. At least I had a fairly smart SGL (Small Group Leader) that let us revamp the classes we were teaching. Had a buddy of mine from 1/75 that we rewrote every class we taught. We threw out the classes that were created and started over. I cannot speak for things on the officer side, but on the NCO side of the house I do not see why this cannot be the norm in professional development courses. Upon arrival you are given the subject of the classes you are going to teach and you create and teach them. Might keep us up to date. I understand the cadre need to oversee the products being created to ensure all key points are covered, but this accomplishes many things.

Again I apologize for digressing off subject, do not mean to hijack the thread, just think that most agree we need to address "Diplomat Training" in the Army, but when and where and to who?

RTK pm enroute
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Old 01-01-2009   #84
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Default Training is the problem -- or, rather, lack of training.

Bill Moore said:
Quote:
Max161 posted a RAND article somewhere in SWJ that addressed the reasons that the Army failed to use the existing COIN doctrine during the Vietnam War. In short, it stated that the information was available, but it was rejected. Seems the problem is more related to professional culture and organization. As you have stated elsewhere leadership can be decisive. If it is important to the leaders, then it will generally happen. Then again the RAND study said that GEN Abrams couldn't get his subordinate commanders to toe the line in some cases. He told them to focus on the populace, and they still did everything possible to up their body counts.
There are three problems with RANDs conclusions. The methodology wasn't rejected, it was ignored by the MACV staff which was more interested in metrics ans a tidy battlefield than in the COIN effort; it was rejected by some -- not all -- commanders who were into ticket punching and thought body counts were the way to go for more merit badges; it did not point out what I'm trying to point out with this post:

We pay lip service to train as you will fight and we don't do it. We pay lip service to first class training and we don't provide it. Our failures in training affect the way we operate.

Based on what I've seen over the last 60 years (sheesh... ) then and now, the way we minimally train those entering service is the culprit. In my observation, the average over all those years, 1948 to 2008 is that it takes about three peacetime years of IET / OBC and unit 'training' to produce a pretty competent Private / Specialist / Lance corporal or company grade officer. Introduction to a harsh combat situation will cut that time by 75%, to a less harsh situation (Afghanistan, Iraq or Viet Nam like) will cut it by about 40-60+% dependent on many factors. I think that's unacceptable.

If we train newly entering enlisted people and officers to full basic competency and demand excellent performance, they will perform better, casualties will be lower, retention will be higher and those inclined to be slothful and irresponsible will seek other employment.

We insist we can only afford to train people for their 'next assignment.' We have done that for years at a cost of high casualties until combat experience kicks in, mediocre retention rates and an abysmal failure to acknowledge that the Armed forces are not Acme Industries -- there. the cost of inferior training and education is busted widgets and a tax write off -- in the Armed forces, the cost is an unnecessarily high casualty rate. I submit we should train everyone for two levels ABOVE their next assignment.

That applies also to PME. It amazed me when I was an instructor at the Armor School that POIs for BNCOC and ANCOC differed very little. Going up a notch, the POIs for the OBC and the OAC differed not a great deal more. Give that some thought. As RTK says above that still seems to be pretty much the case. Some things don't change. Thirty years later and no change -- if that doesn't scare you folks, it should.

My contention -- and I base this on two major short notice deployments with units to combat in two different wars -- is that if the unit is good at the basics, a major trainup is not required so all this pre-deployment training can be task focussed and not back to basics. I was recently in Atlanta and I got a look at the latest FORSCOM pre-deployment training guidance. It is embarrassing. it is a litany of every conceivable training requirement for both theaters for everything from CSS to combat aviation and back again, I do not recall the page count but it was huge -- it was NOT training guidance; it was a CYA effort so they could say "Well, we told them to train on it." Bureaucratic idiocy.

Yeah, training is the problem -- and as RTK pointed out yesterday, the new overfull and unimaginative FM 7-0 is not going to fix it.

Extremely long winded way of agreeing with ODB; we are failing in our training, it needs to be fixed starting with IET / OBC and worked upward through PME. MTTs and pre-deplyment training are NOT the answer. Neither are the CTCs (Sorry, Tom and others ;( ). They are great training but no one seems to pick up on the lessons learned at them -- same problem as MTTs, it's a canned solution. Try free play and see how that works...

Yeah, I know, I've heard it -- that may omit some required training evolutions and graded efforts; we can't afford the infrastructure to do that with a degree of control. Umm, free play and control are a contradiction in terms...

No intent to pick on anyone or the CTCs who do provide a valuable training environment -- I just get awfully frustrated by the lack of initiative, imagination, logic and willingness to accept 'risk' in our training. We breed bad habits inadvertently. Good units can turn that around with a lot of work -- they should not have to do that.
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Old 01-01-2009   #85
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The FORSCOM pre-deployment training "guidance" is near criminal. It's a CYA document that continues the shameful practice of stripping command authority, personal expertise and command responsibility so the higher command can have a physical document handy that acts as a get out of jail free card in case a unit gets mauled in theater.

FM 7-0 is another waste of trees, similar to FM 3-0 and FM 3-24. A few good points, mostly filler.

The entire issue with training comes down to two very simple problems and I don't have any great solutions at the ready:
1. Training management is a dying if not dead art. A good friend of mine in my CGSC small group and I have talked this to death. LT's and Junior NCO's have no concept of training management any longer, and it's going to bite us in the ass sooner rather than later. We're so focused on deployment related training and activities because of ARFORGEN that we often disguise or conviently gloss over certain training. It does not help with the FORSCOM pre-deployment training guidance being so broad and forceful at the same time.

2. There is not enough time to train on both COIN and conventional tasks in this environment. BRAC is also going to accentuate this problem by jamming more units into mega-bases with finite ranges, training areas and simulators. The personnel system also ensures mediocrity when the last fills for your upcoming deployment walk in the door with 45 days left on the clock. There is simply too much to do, with too little time and people to become masters of all training tasks. It might change in the future when the OPTEMPO reduces, but I doubt it. We'll continue to try and meet unrealistic training goals, and we'll half ass our way to being mediocre and hope that no major problems occur on our deployments.

Just like we're continuing to relearn lessons from Vietnam, we will have to relearn such basics of training management when the OPTEMPO decreases.
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Old 01-01-2009   #86
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Thumbs up Skiing thoughts...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ski View Post
The FORSCOM pre-deployment training "guidance" is near criminal. It's a CYA document that continues the shameful practice of stripping command authority, personal expertise and command responsibility so the higher command can have a physical document handy that acts as a get out of jail free card in case a unit gets mauled in theater.
True dat.

The terrible thing is that approach to Command and Command Guidance effectively ropes in subordinate commanders to a host of rules that emascualte them (well, some of them...) and the compensatory factor is an allowance to do some few things with no guidance. We've got it backwards.

For example, much has been written about the problems with Divisional level hand overs in both theaters; such a transition always seems to result in a steep learning curve and many early errors. Thus, freedom to handle transition anyway you want is proffered but actual operations are constrained by a host of rules -- many arcane and unnneccessary (but protective of reputations and the institution...).
Quote:
FM 7-0 is another waste of trees, similar to FM 3-0 and FM 3-24. A few good points, mostly filler.
Equally true. All are way too wordy (so am I but then, i'm old ) and 3-0 in particular didn't really have enough changes from the previous version to merit publication.
Quote:
The entire issue with training comes down to two very simple problems and I don't have any great solutions at the ready:

1. Training management is a dying if not dead art...We're so focused on deployment related training and activities because of ARFORGEN that we often disguise or conviently gloss over certain training...
Appears to be true to this observer and echoes some errors experienced by me in the past. The primary job of every officer and NCO is training of subordinates; they'll spend more time doing that than they will directing combat operations. That priority is not reflected in our training.

A secondary problem is the ARFORGEN process itself. I believe that needs a really critical look, followed by destruction, followed by a logical, simpler, less bureaucratic approach.[quote]2. There is not enough time to train on both COIN and conventional tasks in this environment.[quote]That's why the ARFORGEN process is broken. an added problem is all the 'mandatory' training, much of which is simply time wasted so someone can check a block -- shades of the atrocious FORSCOM guidance.
Quote:
BRAC is also going to accentuate this problem by jamming more units into mega-bases with finite ranges, training areas and simulators.
Many of which mega bases are located in areas where the environmental and anti-war types will challenge everything and slowly degrade capability. That happens when the Bean Counters instead of Operators and Trainers are allowed to determine which Base where gets to stay -- with an eye on which Congressional delegation has the most clout.

Congress's politicking adversely impacts more than just big ticket equipment buys and degraded training. The US Congress has over the years been responsible for more US combat deaths than they should be comfortable with...
Quote:
...We'll continue to try and meet unrealistic training goals, and we'll half ass our way to being mediocre and hope that no major problems occur on our deployments.
It is, unfortunately, apparently the American way...
Quote:
Just like we're continuing to relearn lessons from Vietnam, we will have to relearn such basics of training management when the OPTEMPO decreases.
But Ski, you don't understand! We're smarter now, far better educated -- we don't have to pay attention to what any of our predecessors did. We can and should easily reinvent all the wheels, particularly the square ones...
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Old 01-01-2009   #87
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Default check the block, then deploy

In my early years we had limited money, at least until President Reagan was able to get the money flowing again, and SOCOM came on line, but it "seemed" that we trained more, and in many ways trained more effectively. We had training distractions then, but not to the extent that we do now. The training was less structured then, so there was more "time" for mentoring, which is when the real learning takes place. That also meant that leaders were being more effectively developed. Everything today seems so rushed, and this condition is not just a post 9/11 condition, it started in the 90s. I hate the term training management, because training management today is now driven my red, amber green dots on power point slides. Simply conducting mandated training does not make it effective training, and while we're supposed to train to standard our current management system doesn't allow that flexibility. We have idiots who think that the training schedule is the Holy Bible, and if you need to need to change it based on discovering a weakness in your organization, then you're obviously a poor manager. We give lip service to good training, but it does seem to be a lost art. One of the few things we did right is stand up the national training centers, and while I haven't been through a NTC rotation since 9/11, back in the day they were excellent training, and I hope they still are. But that doesn't make up for the loss of our day to day training. We have a mind set in many units that if you have green dots across the board, then we must be ready for war. That analysis is power point deep, and while it may sound absurd to blame a software product, powerpoint has fundamentally changed the way we manage training and other things in DoD for the worse. I would love to see a study on how the Army functioned prior to power point and harvard graphics, and what happened to it since then. We now live for the brief. Commanders need to observe more training, and spend less time in briefs. Talk to the troops, they'll tell you if they're confident.

To some degree we need a check the block mentality, but it is way over done. If we did all the non-combat related training that the Army mandated (often coming down from Congress) ranging from annual sexual harassment, drug abuse, gangs and tatoos, family support group stuff, briefs and more briefs, human rights training, etc., we wouldn't get any training combat accomplished. Why we have to conduct these events annually is beyond me, but once it becomes a requirement on the books, then it never goes away. Gian's post makes sense, because we are challenged to find the time we need. The reality is we need to train on both clearing houses and conflict resolution. The reality is that we frequently don't have time.

Someone mentioned that they wanted to bring back the Army Common Task training to Special Forces. Having lived through that whole cycle of stupidity that is the last thing we need. If Team Sergeants can't figure out what Army common tasks are relevant and how to train to them in a "realistic" manner, then they need to be fired. We used to get this laundry list of 10 tasks from higher that everyone needed to know, and somehow that was one of our metrics for effective training? If it wasn't related to your mission it was a waste of time period. Furthermore, the Army has adapted much of SF's training methodology from instinctive shooting to advanced medical treatment because when the bullets started flying it soon became apparent that a 30 minute block of instruction on how to apply a pressure dressing was a waste of time. If you can't teach that in 5 minutes, then something is seriously wrong. Instead of focusing on what is key, we used to focus on the type of knot, ensuring no white was showing on the bandage etc., things that had absolutely no functional value whatsoever to stopping the bleeding, saving a life. That is training management in the Army, and fortunately we have been drifting away from that mindset. Unfortunately it took a war to wake everyone up. When the Vietnam Vets said it was a waste of time, no one wanted to listen.

Hey my first rant for 2009. A case of beer.

Last edited by Bill Moore; 01-01-2009 at 08:26 PM. Reason: Add a couple of points
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Old 01-01-2009   #88
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Default Hey, that's a good rant. I agree.

Only one minor caveat. You said:
Quote:
To some degree we need a check the block mentality, but it is way over done.
Agree totally but would suggest the only block that needs to be checked is the one that says the Unit is combat capable -- and that based on a realistic, graded test in peacetime and in wartime or periods of tension a graded predeployment exercise attuned precisely to the theater and AO to which the unit is headed.

Units -- not persons. Units fight wars; the Army of One does not. We grade people -- wrong answer; grade the units. SF Team through BCT. It isn't that hard to do.
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Old 01-01-2009   #89
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Default Grade units

Excellent point! Now how do you do that in a non-bias manner? If you get the right guys evaluating you, they will share value added observations that will help you realize your unit's strengths and weaknesses. If you get some egotistical idiot whose only comment is that isn't how we did it my unit, then the evaluation is a waste of time. I suspect that is why the Army came up with objective evaluation criteria, but life isn't objective, we need a way to inject more subjectivity into our training. We need more mentoring around the camp fire, and less focus on checklists (they have their place, but there is more to training than check the block).
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Old 01-01-2009   #90
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I've been in one of those lucky situations where resources were piled on. In 2002 the Army was going to do everything it could to insure that if the SBCT failed as a concept, it would not be because of training. As one of the two IOT&E companies A/1-24 (of 1/25th) was given resources and risk beyond.

I learned a good lesson early on: proficiency at any level begins with being proficient in the basics. As such we shot 10 X as much as we had a right to by STRAC standards. We were encouraged - just keep shooting we'll get you more. There were few on Lewis who had a higher priority, and when there was a conflict Range Control gave our BN some alternatives. When I (we) went too far and screwed something up - it happened - both the BN CDR and the BDE CDR backed me up, and gave us an opportunity to grow. It paid off, during the IOT&E up at Knox in the Summer of 2003 (OPFOR was mostly 10th Mountain folks) we did very well - the platform was simply that a platform from which to get more mileage out of the skills we'd built. Most of the IOT&E called for squad and section level actions across Knox - and as such time spent doing battle drills at various levels was time well spent. Sometime we'd get a FRAGO and have to reassemble for platoon and company missions on the fly - the technology helped some there, but it was always the soldiers and leaders who had built valid expectations of what they were capable of through tough, realistic training. It was the basic soldier and leader skills upon which higher individual and collective competencies were founded.

I bring this up because if the military is sent in to do something, generally there is a good reason associated with it that has to do with the conditions. These conditions likely mean that there is either a requirement for those associated skill sets based on the enemy, or based on the friendly requirements (which is also based on an enemy, just one that may not be operating directly against you yet.) While some exceptions may be found, I think this is a pretty good rule of thumb.

I don't know if Ken has said it on this thread yet, but it comes down to his claim that resourced correctly, with the acceptance of risk, we can do better, and we can be multi-purpose. The wild card is wartime OPTEMPO. It means that the available time to train has to be scrutinized better. There is certainly risk associated with it, but there may be some training models out there we could look at for MTO&E units which would reduce the amount of friction we have.

I think its going to take some real money and emphasis put toward training, and that has further reaching impacts than just the types of CQB/CQM and bigger MOUT facilities available to a post. I'm pretty sure it would require a major infusion of effort into our defense logistics - more CL V production, a bottomless STRAC (I shot our whole BDE's worth of its old .50 CAL allotment in one day for part of crew and leader qualification). Vehicles and other pieces of equipment need to be FMC all the time - rather than burning up time hot seating vehicles or waiting around at the ranges. More ranges need to be upgraded and the range control staff modified and upgraded so that the days that a unit wants to shoot, it can do so with minimal effort and pain - in fact, when something else drops off the plate, and the unit finds some free time, it should be able to go down and shoot, drive, or communicate with minimal problems. Our training aids (the old TAS-Cs) need to be reinvigorated with better stuff and better incorporated with our force on force, LFX and other training. With all our talk, we still spend precious time "waiting to train", we put the fault back on the soldier and the leader, and cry - "hip pocket", but I think this is just an excuse that makes substandard resourcing go down better. Now BG Bob Brown (currently in MND-N) understood how precious time is as the CDR of 1/25th, as did the various BN CDRs of 1-24th and the BDE's other leaders.

I believe that if we made those core technical skills at the individual and collective level easier to train, and more productive, we'd find there was more time available to send people to school, do distance learning and train on important non-combat skills such as culture (language, histories, etc.) or how to apply those skills in other ways such as advising foreign forces. I think we'd generally develop people in ways beyond what we thought possible while retaining those skills which keep them alive, and make the enemy consider his future actions after he has come into contact with well trained U.S. units.

Like I mentioned earlier we had 2/75th down the road from 1/25th (1/25th is now in Alaska). As such we often got guys from in the BN who were either tired of the OPTEMPO, looking for other opportunities, or had been released because they had failed to measure up. Even those in the last category were often very good soldiers, its just that the 75th gets to pick and choose, so why should it tolerate anything less than the standards it lays out - anything less would be unfair to its other soldiers who'd met the standards. I bring up the 75th because they have a superb training support system to accommodate their OPTEMPO. Admittedly they have some incredible talent, but without the training resources they have to accommodate their OPTEMPO would they reach their potential? Would they be as good?

Obviously the Multi-Purpose Force's roles and requirements are different from the 75th, just as they are from SF and other branches of the military, but what if we took the same resourcing strategy and applied it to the MPF? What if we resourced them to the things we know they are being required to do, and for more than just good enough? This means everything from bullets to barracks and to at some point relatively comparable bonuses - it means range time for units on demand (and where every squad leader can go out and run up to a fire team LFX). It means vehicles that run at FMC, quick turn around on weapons, quick replacement of CL IX. It means increased decentralization and acceptance of risk. It means not having to screw with buying uniforms, and researching, developing and getting better equipment faster. It means having a steady state support staff to free up folks for training, education and deployments (this should be largely GS folks of various ranks - not many contractors, and very few SES types - they need to work for the maneuver CDRs).

Make no mistake, what I'm saying is take the resource methodology we normally associate with specialized forces, and apply it to the MPF - just toward its roles and missions.

I had the fortune of seeing some of the most incredible NCOs and junior officers develop before my eyes. I saw PV2s step up and carry the weight of a fire team leader. If anything I think this has increased now. In some real ways they point the direction to the Army I believe we need, just on an institutional scale, and one that is backed at home as well as on deployment. I think given that we would get all the things we want and them some. I also think we'd get more in return than from the Wall Street Bailout $$ - I don't think we'd see golden parachutes buying swank penthouse apartments in NYC.

I used to think we had to sacrifice something somewhere else - I now think that is BS. The money is there, its a question of our national priorities (just as is our willingness to create an economy that is stable, or responsible energy at home, or a host of other things). Regardless of if incoming administration prefers it or not, I think our commitments will grow if anything. Like energy policy, or education, physical health (not health care - but national fitness) -which by the way are also all linked to military preparedness and potential, we are talking about things which atrophy much faster than they grow - so if we really want to have the right tools available, better to start now, and have a comprehensive effort at it.

Well, like Bill I've got my New Year's rant over with

Happy New Year SWJ,

Best, Rob

Added - its out there on electrons - by then COL Bob Brown wrote several pieces on smart adaptive training - in Mil Review I believe.

Last edited by Rob Thornton; 01-01-2009 at 09:23 PM.
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Old 01-01-2009   #91
Ken White
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Default Heh. You do that by selecting the right people

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Excellent point! Now how do you do that in a non-bias manner?
for a few promotions instead of selecting everyone who doesn't screw up for too many promotions. That means eliminating DOPMA which is a Congressionally imposed fairness to all effort. War is not fair. It's not unbiased, either. There will be many who say that cannot be done. I disagree. There will be others who do not want it to be done -- those are people who espouse mediocrity and easy duty. I don't.
Quote:
If you get the right guys evaluating you, they will share value added observations that will help you realize your unit's strengths and weaknesses. If you get some egotistical idiot whose only comment is that isn't how we did it my unit, then the evaluation is a waste of time.
Both points are correct, proving yet again that my contention that our egos are a big BIG part of our problems in the Armed Forces. Solution to that is to forcefully tune them. That's a hint to the senior leadership of the services...
Quote:
I suspect that is why the Army came up with objective evaluation criteria...
Partly. Having been around at the birth of that foolishness, I know it was really an honest effort to do just that -- but it failed for three reasons. The frailty of humans; an effort to produce ever more 'empirical metrics' to satisfy the numbers hounds; and a quiet, behind the scenes effort to remove any stigma from what was graded -- actually, it was to remove any penalty for failing...

Before the sorry effort called an ARTEP came into being, units ran Army Training Tests, those ATTs were subjectively graded by peer units. Since the 3d Bn provided OPFOR, support and OCs for the 1st Bn, for example, they had pressure to be fair and unbiased because in the round robin scheme of things, what went around came around -- it kept the system reasonably honest. The downsides in the eyes of some were (a) that the grading was essentially subjective, the scientific types hated that; and (b) that those who failed were replaced by a hopefully better person. That applied generally fairly; i.e. sometimes a Cdr went, sometimes an S3 or the S4, a Platoon leader or sergeant here or there. Sometimes nobody went. Generally just a few; those who really fouled up badly.

However, folks saw their friends gone and so a bunch of very smart Majors and Captains at Benning in the early 70s created the ARTEP as a new idea (it was not, not even close; same stuff as the old Army Training Program [ATP] and ATT combined in a new package; most tasks didn't even change) and pushed the civilian educator espoused ideal of no grading stigma {{ADDED:that was at the start of the 'self esteem' craze. I won't even go into the fact that a civilian educator with no knowledge of the Army is dangerous for an Army to listen to on any topic}}. In essence they used smoke and mirrors plus a new name and no grading to insure that when they got to be LTC or COL, they wouldn't get relieved if they screwed the pooch on an ATT. Like I said, very smart...

My observation is that the Army has gone downhill in many respects since.

Thus we're confronted with the FACT that a Commander can take a unit into combat to get people killed but he cannot be risked to take a test and be relieved if he fails. What risk? The terrible risk of upsetting the Personnel system that will maybe have to find the dispossessed a job and will certainly have to find a replacement for said dispossessed...
Quote:
...life isn't objective, we need a way to inject more subjectivity into our training. We need more mentoring around the camp fire, and less focus on checklists (they have their place, but there is more to training than check the block).
Yep, I think so...

The failure to rely more on the absolute subjectivity that is a judgment on any tactical evolution outside of combat (there it is definitely Pass or Fail) is due to the pressure of DOPMA to say that all officers of like grade and specialty are equal. It is an absolute fact that is incorrect but in an effort to support what they were told to do, the Army had to try to produce an 'objective' grading criteria; that meant 'metrics' and 'no subjectivity' -- it also induced a lack of trust because EVERYONE knows that system is flawed and allows incompetents and incompetence at all levels. It's really sad IMO.

Happy new year, Bill

Last edited by Ken White; 01-01-2009 at 09:39 PM. Reason: Assendum, typos
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Old 01-01-2009   #92
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Default Common Skills

Should have explained it a bit better. Was referring back to my days as a Pvt in the infantry (15-16 years ago) and think to this day for me at that time in my career it paid off. Point I was trying to make is that for some years now we have changed focus from training individual core tasks to training collective tasks.

Bill Moore Funny you mention the medical training aspect of things now. This last PMT we had to go through 101st T-CCC to check the block. Found that one to be quite the tongue biter. 50% contradicted what our medics were now training.

Funny story. I deploy with 3-187 Mar 2002 to Afghanistan. We get back in Aug 2002. Two months later we were in JRTC getting blessed off by the Army that we were ready to go to war. The single worst, yet funniest CTC rotation of my career. Then 2-3 months later was sitting in Kuwait waiting to cross the boarder.

Rob Thornton Brings up a huge issue, ranges available to train on. I don't know about other places but here things get extremely crowded. One of my personal rants is this issue and how it was/is handled here, but will save that for a better time. As an Army we are extremely guilty of wasting money that could be well spent providing training resources. Do we really need a 10 foot all brick wall surrounding the entire front of the post? Do we need $30 million command centers? Do MPs need brand new Yukons to patrol post in? This doesn't even scratch the surface of gross fraud, waste, and abuse IMO. When will they realize that the number one "platform" they need to be investing in is the individual soldier, not some multi-billion dollar technology platform?

Happy New Year to all.....
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Why did you not clear your corner?

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Old 01-02-2009   #93
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Default Rob makes some excellent points

and has it right, I think.

All things considered, the biggest training problems are two things; too much bureaucratic BS in the way and most of that due to the second issue -- the training systems are designed to make life easy for the systems owner or operator, not for the unit training...
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Old 01-02-2009   #94
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Default Where do we find them?

Quote:
Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
December 17, 2008

Conventional Forces, SOF Could See Roles Reversed

The two most pressing technology needs of U.S. forces in combat remain precision close-air support and counter-IED capabilities, according to Navy Vice Adm. Robert Harward, the new deputy commander of U.S. Joint Forces Command.

Moreover, the sequence of combat involvement may be flipped on its head, with conventional forces learning how to support special operations forces (SOF), instead of the current practice of using SOF to support conventional warfare, Harward told defense reporters at a breakfast Dec. 16.

Describing the JOE report as a “hard turn away from the classic theater warfare focus to emphasizing irregular warfare” — including increasing dependence on unmanned sensors and aircraft, small fighting units, directed-energy weapons and cyberwarfare — “is very accurate,” Harward says. He describes the new realm of hybrid warfare as “a very dynamic, uncertain environment” that produces a lot of change and persistent conflict.

“Were focusing a lot on the training method…in the joint, interagency and multinational environment,” he said. “That’s probably where [JFCOM] has its strongest influence across the spectrum.”

To that effect, planners want to have a high-fidelity, fighter-pilot-like simulator for ground soldiers so that training and response to attacks, ambushes and other actions are well rehearsed before anyone is thrust into a combat situation. Moreover, the latest lessons learned from irregular warfare — such as recent fighting in Baghdad and the Second Lebanon War — will be fed back into the training.
Source considered but still scary IMO

http://gunnyg.wordpress.com/2008/12/...oles-reversed/

Just found this tidbit and thought it releavant to our training issues, we can see where they want to take training in the future.
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Old 01-02-2009   #95
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Default Good leaders do what it takes to get the job done.

Quote:
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In my early years we had limited money, . . . , but it "seemed" that we trained more, and in many ways trained more effectively. We had training distractions then, but not to the extent that we do now. The training was less structured then, so there was more "time" for mentoring, which is when the real learning takes place. That also meant that leaders were being more effectively developed.
In my LT days, we had both limited time and limited personnel; we also had a huge number of training distractors. I was in a tenant unit in USAREUR's VIIth Corps area where we ran a real world intelligence mission 24/7 with an organization at about 60% strength (on a good day). We did our jobs and were still able to do all the training the Army, USAREUR, my MACOM, and VII Corps required of us as well as all the valuable (and silly) stuff my troops needed to learn to be able to pass their MOS tests (and later their SQTs). How did we do it? Bill has the answer partly right.
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Commanders need to observe more training, and spend less time in briefs. Talk to the troops, they'll tell you if they're confident.
All "leaders" need to observe more training. Real leaders will observe day-to-day performance first, recognize what training their subordinates need, and then develop and conduct the appropriate training to fix those performance shortfalls.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob Thornton
The wild card is wartime OPTEMPO. It means that the available time to train has to be scrutinized better. There is certainly risk associated with it, but there may be some training models out there we could look at for MTO&E units which would reduce the amount of friction we have.
Wartime OPTEMPO is an excuse for not doing the right thing. Rob is correct about making sure to use the right kind of training to get the desired results though--that is what training management is really all about.
Caution war story follows:
I was a platoon leader and the Bn training officer (as an additional duty) when Skill Qualification Tests (SQT) were coming into existence. My Bn Cdr's pucker factor was getting huge because he knew his OER would be affected by the performance of the Bn's soldiers on their SQTs. He tasked me to develop a training program for the SQT. In my plan, I proposed what my NCOs and I were already doing in my platoon: a great amount of on-the-job training, executed by the NCOs and me during normal duty following "pre-testing"--an assessment by the NCO of soldiers' job proficiency. (As noted above, my unit was maybe 60% strength and we were doing real world Cold War intel Indications & Warning work, not some garrison training, annual live fire at a range on Graf, and maneuver wargames as part of a REFORGER--but we supported those and Autumn Forge exercises too.) When I briefed the plan, the Bn Cdr's concern was with the lack of classroom training and any ability to verify that the training had occurred. He wanted sign-in sheets and post tests after the classroom instruction--the check the box mentality mentioned by Bill Moore predates PowerPoint and Harvard Graphics (2 tools that I have grown to loath over the years, but they still are better than the old hand drawn charts we had to use in the "brown shoe Army" of the Carter years and earlier.) Being more concerned with doing the right thing than with presenting the right appearance, I used some well placed expletives about his proposed approach to training and convinced the commander to forego that kind of nonsense. The troops did great on the first round of SQT (and subsequent ones too, so I was told). At the same time, my platoon increased its Bn-leading mission productivity. Other platoons actually got better at their missions because of the additional scrutiny given to their soldiers them by their NCOs and LTs. And, overall Bn morale improved (as indicated by a drop in drinking related incidents and other MP blotter reports involving my Bn's troops).
End of war story
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Old 01-02-2009   #96
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Default From another thread

oops, got one long thread mixed up w/ another one..however this post from COIN comes Home truly belongs here...so here it is.
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Quote:
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One of the big problems in the US Armed forces is that inclination to 'proactivity' -- do something even if it's wrong. That attitude insures that quite often, it will be wrong...

My point is still that my questions MUST be asked and honestly answered before any implementation of your model is begun.

That and the fact that in our last three reasonably large sized wars, the principle of FID, propping up a failing state and defeating an insurgency were not the issues that caused us to enter the nations involved.
It also points to a need for a better structured process for (get ready now) STABO. (yes I know, the word is as despised as OOTW, but I am a product of the '90s) Violence and wars in particular leave a vacuum in there wake, and simply leaving that vacuum to fill itself up can lead to larger conflicts or repeats of conflicts (WWI and WWII or DS/DS and OIF are examples so is OIF I and OIF II-whatever OIF we are on now). So there is a need to train and plan for "waging the peace" (sorry again) but I wonder if the DOD is the best organization to orchestrate that planning. I still like the idea of DoS military liaisons and some sort of post conflict expeditionary (I am going to heck after this post) unit, heavy on CA, Medical and MP support. Trying to shoehorn those assets into the BCT's only dilutes the BCT's fighting ability and dilutes the effectiveness of the non-combat assets.
In response to Nagle's original article, saying that the need is there, does not mean that wedging that ability into the existing structure is the best bet. Some wider range thinking outside of the DoD is needed.
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Old 11-22-2009   #97
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Default So it's been 11 months....

I re-read some old posts tonight and I came to three burning questions:

Are current force modernization efforts based upon the fights in which we are currently engaged resultant of failed foreign policy strategies or are they based upon a coherent concept of future threats to the nation?

Is it possible that future wars will include both conventional and unconventional aspects where both COIN/CT focused units and heavier conventional units will be required?

Are we shooting spiders off our shoes with a 12 gauge?

Discuss....
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Old 11-22-2009   #98
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Are current force modernization efforts based upon the fights in which we are currently engaged resultant of failed foreign policy strategies.
Yes to this and it is a big one. If we had some type of rational energy policy we wouldn't even be envolved in half the countries that are on the enemy/threat list.
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Old 11-22-2009   #99
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As someone who worked in the 50A field until 2006 (when I left that arena to join the 59A squad of looters), I can tell you that your first assessment is dead on.

Force development (how units are formed) and force modernization (how they are equipped) has been totally driven by our foreign policy since the 1990's. If you want to get into brushfire wars with multiple enemies fighting each other, and then you once you inject yourself into the system, then you don't need mechanized and armored forces. The USMC knew this in the 80's when they began development of the LAV force. They needed wheeled vehicle to traverse the usually terrible road networks when conducting NEO's, and just a little bit of armor to protect the joes. Throw a 25mm cannon and maybe a TOW system and you have enough firepower and protection for most third world scenarios.

The MRAP is the illogical conclusion of all of this nonsense. It is still not on any TOE or MTOE within the Army - perhaps a few specialized Engineer units are the exception.

You have to understand that there is no such thing as threat based modernization strategies any longer. That horse road out the barn in the 90's. Everything is capabilities driven - you can thank the Network Centric warfare guys for starting this road to perdition.

As to your second question, yes. All wars are a blend of both. It all depends on the senior commanders, their intelligence, mental flexibilty and willingness to innovate.

As to your final statement, of course.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RTK View Post
I re-read some old posts tonight and I came to three burning questions:

Are current force modernization efforts based upon the fights in which we are currently engaged resultant of failed foreign policy strategies or are they based upon a coherent concept of future threats to the nation?

Is it possible that future wars will include both conventional and unconventional aspects where both COIN/CT focused units and heavier conventional units will be required?

Are we shooting spiders off our shoes with a 12 gauge?

Discuss....
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Old 08-12-2011   #100
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Been reading this thread with particular attention to our current training methodologies.

I can't at this moment sum it all up in one or two sentences but there are excellent points in this thread about training. As an Army and as a society we are fixated on metrics. Things must be quantitative. I understand this from a scientific and statistical perspective. But, when it is used to assess the performance of organizations that constantly must execute varied, random, and unpredictable tasks, it is counter-productive. Conducting operations in southern Baghdad is not like showing proficiency in writing out the proof of the first fundamental theorem of calculus. Thus, suitability of a unit for conducting such operations cannot be assessed in a likewise manner.

In the Army, we must crack the code on this and get away from these futile exercises in training, looking to follow a recipe, check X% of boxes for the GO, just head for the PowerPoint slide showing "T" or green or whatever.

While I've met many NCOs and officers I wouldn't trust or follow in combat, overall we have some good ones out there that know their craft and can train their subordinates. To date I have not found any manual that can train a group of 19K Privates about the M2 like a seasoned 19K30 can. Nor have I encountered any manual or test that tells me that a Private is ready to man that M2 in combat as well as tough training, mentoring, and assessment from that 19K30.

I think, in the end, our central problem is trust. Our senior leaders don't trust that we can let that 19K30 loose on a bunch of junior Soldiers and train them on that M2.
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