With the current fiscal uncertainty the Non-commissioned Officer Corps must become more imaginative in how we conduct small unit training opportunities. The focus of the NCO Corps must always continue to be on training our small units for combat. We can do this! As the old adage goes; “when given lemons – make lemonade.”
Some will take the current condition of funding the wrong way. Some may even say “we can’t get it done.” But, the fact remains that when our national leaders see we have done our job, the nation turns to the Department of Defense to make our share of cuts to help the nation as a whole. In a peculiar way, we should be proud that our country has the confidence in us to do this.
So how do we get after this? How do we maintain our proficiency in a more austere fiscal environment? We get after it by using our imagination. We have the smartest force in the world, and within that force we have the ability to think “outside the box” in a manner that not only keeps our forces trained and ready, but does so in a way that fosters interest to the lowest level. This is actually a great opportunity to professionalize our young Leaders. It’s a fact that our Soldiers learn best when in small unit groups, and when they can be hands-on. This opportunity is a perfect match for the situation we are currently in. Some will argue that with constraints on actually getting out and moving, shooting, and communicating, we just can’t get to training correctly. Wrong. Our force can get to the 80 percent solution without ever leaving the motor-pool or local training space. Training is only limited by the trainer. We must look at doing ROC drills, walk-through’s, working our dismounting and remounting drills, weapons dry-fire mastery, and the list goes on and on. We must train our brains. We can get to a very high state of training even given the current fiscal conditions.
Don’t throw your hands in the air and lament your situation. You have to train with and for what you have. It’s not rocket science, but it does take those willing to use the eight-step training model to train to a level of proficiency using less mileage, class III and class V. Those that have done this can give you great ideas on how to garner great training with very little overhead. Those who have been in the Army since the early-mid 1990’s have faced this, dealt with it, and ended up ejecting Saddam Hussein from Iraq, and Al Qaeda from Afghanistan. That didn’t happen because of poor training, it happened because we used the resources we had to the greatest extent. We trained more with our brains when times directed it.
During this period of fiscal constraint we also have a great opportunity to train our Profession. From standards and discipline to customs and tradition, through military expertise and trust, we must train our Soldiers and Leaders what it means to be a Soldier, along with how to be a Soldier. There are a virtually unlimited amount of resources out there to accomplish this mission, and our national leadership saw the need and took the time (two years), energy (every vested Leader from the Chief of Staff on down), and resources (interviews and forums with 40,000 Soldiers) to determine that’s where we needed to go – it’s now incumbent upon all of us to get the Army there.
Start with the Center for the Army Profession and Ethic (cape.army.mil) where you will find training for young leaders prepared and ready to go – zero overhead! Read and teach ADP/ADRP 6-22. Our Army Leadership doctrine has evolved since 1948 – we know how to do this! Use the resource to its potential.
Finally, use the post’s program Desert Strong. Again, an easy to use, easy to prepare, and short class structure that goes straight to the point at the lowest level. Again, it’s not hard to train your troopers in a constrained environment – it just requires that you work smarter – not harder!