Post-September 11th: New emphasis on transforming training. (Interview).
A: What has changed the most about Army training is the realization that some risks we previously have assumed because of limited resources are no longer acceptable. In my memory, the Army never has been fully funded for all requirements. The Army was funded this year at about 80 percent of what we need. In the last several years, the Army has been funded at about 70 or 80 percent. This means training competes for dollars with installation support, operations and maintenance and a number of other funding areas.
We no longer can afford to take the training risks we have in the past. For example, the Chief of Staff of the Army has directed that all individuals, crews, squads and platoons must fully qualify on their individual and crew-served weapons within the next few months and then qualify a second time five months later. The Chief is front-loading training this year because we don't know what the Army will be asked to do and when. As the bottom line, we want all soldiers and small units to be very confident and competent with their weapons systems.
We always have taken some risk in STRAC [standards in training commission] by not buying enough ammunition for our assistant gunners and combat support and service support personnel to qualify more than once a year or, in some cases, not even to qualify, just to familiarize. But the Chief wants to change that. We have no "front line" in this campaign with its new operating environment. Every soldier is at risk--all soldiers must be able to protect themselves and their force.
Since September 11th, we've also realized we need to speed up some acquisitions of TADSS [training aids, devices, simulators and simulations]. We don't have enough time to conduct all the training we need for maximum preparedness.
To give you an example, some small unit individual and crew-served simulators allow soldiers to run scenarios over and over, building confidence with marksmanship and the experience one needs for rapid decision making in combat. Without simulations, training scenarios over and over to give soldiers a wide array of experience is very expensive and labor-intensive. We also don't have the time or range space.
We are learning new lessons from antiterrorism and force protection that apply to expanding specific military occupational specialty training, collective training and leader development training in all the schoolhouses, including at Fort Leavenworth [Command and General Staff College] and the Pre-Command Course.
Q: Some say the FA is failing to provide responsive, accurate close supporting fires to maneuver units at the dirt CTCs [Combat Training Centers]. Based on your experience as a former Commanding General of the NTC [National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California] what are your thoughts?
A: The notion that indirect fire accuracy and responsiveness challenges at the CTCs are a Field Artillery problem is hogwash. It is a combined arms problem.
The problem is one of integrating and synchronizing fires with maneuver. If you take a look at the five or six common negative trends at the NTC, you'll see some common characteristics.
The problem at the CTCs is partially one of how difficult it is to train realistically. First, integrating and synchronizing fires and maneuver is combined arms in nature and incredibly complex. Next, it is not trained well in simulations or at home station. It takes lots of time, lots of resources and lots of range space to train fires integration and synchronization with maneuver in scenarios over and over.
Last, the integration and synchronization of fires and maneuver is not trained well at any schoolhouse. The Field Artillery School teaches artillery, the Armor School teaches armor and the Infantry School teaches infantry. They all teach a little combined arms operations, but the Army has difficulty pulling combined arms operations together in any one place until units get to the CTCs.
The problem at the CTCs is also partially one of technology. It is very difficult to replicate the effects--the terrorizing, massively destructive effects--of US and Soviet-style indirect fires on the battlefield without hurting soldiers in training.
To help solve the problem, we need to improve the fires computer instrumentation database at the CTCs to more quickly and accurately identify where the artillery rounds are going and determine casualties. The dirt CTCs also need to increase the number of fire markers and look for realistic ways to eliminate them in the long run.
Q: How can the Army enhance combined arms home station training?
A: We have to have a better mix of live virtual and constructive training events at home station training. And that means buying TADSS that allow us to have realistic virtual and live simulations.
We also must ensure our replacement system for MILES [multiple integrated laser engagement system] at the dirt CTCs determines where people are and who shot whom and are embedded in all combat vehicles. The Chief wants to embed engagement simulation and instrumentation systems into our vehicles. The same systems would be available to soldiers training at the CTCs, at home station or deployed overseas preparing to go into combat. And, eventually, in the future combat system [FCS] of the Objective Force, soldiers will be able to flip a switch on their vehicles and go from wartime live-fire capabilities to virtual and constructive simulations while internetted with the rest of the vehicles in the battlespace.
At home station, these embedded capabilities would make training more realistic but not dependent on some fixed infrastructure on an installation. That's where we are headed.
There are several other things we are doing to improve home station training. We are incorporating lessons from the current operating environment into home station training scenarios-including some of the unpredictable, asymmetrical kinds of attacks that we have been dealing with. We are acquiring more ammunition and upgrading installation ranges so soldiers can more easily be competent and confident with their weapons in the day and night- under all conditions.
Q: The Army institutional training and education system (officer, NCO and warrant officer) is trnsforming with the chief of Staff's new Leader Development Campaign Plan [LDCP], the results of a recent Department of the Army study. The officer education system (OES,) will be the first of the three transformed when the OES plan is finalized. In general, what are the chief's overall intent and the objectives of the institutional transformation?
A: The objective is to develop adaptive leaders who can make the right decisions for their subordinates while planning and executing combat operations. We start developing leaders as young soldiers and continue as we send them through training and then simulated exercises over and over, making
them comfortable with their combat expertise and decision-making skills in changing situations--building the foundation for adaptive leadership.
We are in the process of transforming the way we train and develop leaders in our institutions, in units and through self-development. Each is important, but the contents of what each teaches must change to better prepare leaders to do their jobs.
Although we are transforming training for all groups of leaders, we are further along in the OES portion of the study because we started there. For officers, the Army is changing training in the schoolhouse and simulations to emphasize combined arms leadership in tactical assignments rising to joint operations across the spectrum of conflict in the new operating environment.
For example, we must transform institutional training to produce a young officer who, from the beginning, is fully qualified and prepared to take a small unit to the field and accomplish basic soldier tasks. Lieutenants must be more comfortable with their brother and sister lieutenants across the entire Army- feel a closer cohesion with their counterparts, not just with those in their branches. To accomplish all this, TRADOC [Training and Doctrine Command] is considering a common Basic Officer Leaders Course [BOLC] that would precede shorter branch training courses. A second lieutenant of any branch must be able to lead soldiers in combat the day he arrives at his first unit.
OES also is being redesigned at the other levels, including captain, major, battalion/brigade commanders and even is adding an operational refresher course for assistant division commanders and corps commanders. The concept for the entire OBS redesign is being staffed across the Army. The QES redesign should be finalized this spring.
During OES, courses will emphasize critical thinking, problem solving and decision making in experiential learning designed for the various levels of an officer's career.
Officers will have more distance learning work before they attend their OES courses. Distance learning courses for branch-qualification--MOS [military occupational specialty] qualification for enlisted soldiers--will be completed during duty hours. Distance learning courses for individual self development will be completed as agreed to by the commander but, generally, during offduty hours.
We are rapidly expanding the number of distance learning courses, not just in preparation for institutional training, but also for unit training. It won't be long before a commander will be able to tell an officer being assigned a new job to complete courses "X, Y and Z" to prepare for the new job.
Using web-based technology, soldiers and leaders will be able to access job descriptions and references for their current or future assignments, on-line manuals for, say, maintaining their vehicles, and a host of other information.
Soldiers will be able to get on their computers and ask questions of experts back at the schoolhouse or in some other unit and get answers in near real-time. They will be able to share the same information worldwide.
As we move toward the Objective Force, soldiers and leaders will be able to turn on computers in their vehicles and, in a distributed mode, access information--whether they are in the motor pool, in the field or deployed worldwide. The same computer that gives them situational awareness or helps them plan and execute fire missions also will allow them to go out on the web through the Army Knowledge Online portal and get the information they need to do their jobs in near real-time, including maps, weather, the latest news and other information during real-world operations.
Q: What are the plans for CTC training to reflect the contemporary operating environment?
A: Training at the CTCs has been evolving since the Cold War--it is just intensifying. Since September 11th, the commanding generals of the CTCs have developed three or four new rotation scenarios for brigade operations.
The OPFOR already fights quite differently than it did five years ago. OPFOR units now operate more widely dispersed on the battlefield, coming together briefly for operations and than dispersing again.
The CTC battlefield is more nonlinear, and units have to deal with many more mines. For example, one estimate has as many as 11 million mines across Afghanistan. Units face more threats throughout the battlefield--in the front, rear, left and right--conventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction, such as chemical and biological. The OPFOR is challenging commanders with deception, infiltration and other such operations during the entire CTC rotation.
Q: What message would you like to send Field Artillerymen stationed around the world?
A: The Field Artillery must continue to do what it has been doing for hundreds of years-that is produce well-trained NCOs and gunners who know how to use their systems to provide accurate, predicted and timely fires. The Field Artillery School does that extremely well.
You, Field Artillerymen, out there in division and corps units have got to fight to get onto the training battlefield with infantry, armor and other brothers of arms--in the field or in simulations. The combined arms team members must know each other very well and where, when and how indirect fires support maneuver.
Brigadier General (Promotable) William G. (Fuzzy) Webster, Jr., is the Director of Army Training in the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans at the Pentagon. In his previous assignment, he was the Commanding General of the National Training Center, Fort Irwin, California. He also served as Assistant Division Commander of the 3d Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Stewart, Georgia. General Webster commanded the 1st Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, Texas; the 3d Battalion, 77th Armor in the 4th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Carson, Colorado; and an Armor company in the 5th Infantry Division (Mechanized), Fort Polk, Louisiana. He is a graduate of the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, and holds a Master of Military Arts and Science from the Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
RELATED ARTICLE: New Safety Course Mandatory for Commanders--Battery Through Brigade.
The Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) is testing a self-paced distance learning Commanders Safety Course of 24 academic hours that soon will be mandatory for all officers before they take command. The on-line course is designed to give commanders the tools they need to build unit safety programs through all command levels. The course will be a pre-command requirement effective sometime before the end of the Second Quarter of FY02. The Army Safety Center at Fort Rucker, Alabama, currently is validating the course.
Officers waiting to take batteries will be required to complete the course before taking command. Likewise, future battalion and brigade commanders will have to have completed the course before beginning the portion of the Pre-Command Course taught by the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
The course will provide the tools and knowledge to implement and manage a unit safety program. The first tool is for risk management. It helps identify hazards as well as control measures to minimize risks involved in unit and individual actions.
The second tool is for building a unit safety program. It uses an example of a program designed by the 2d Airborne Brigade, 82d Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Students will learn how to build a program using data gathered from a large safety program reference list.
The last tool is a resource navigator, a portal to the Army Safety Center. The navigator contains URLs (uniformed resource locators) for safety-related links.
Students will be able to take the tools with them after completing the course. They can either download them from the Reimer Digital Library or request a CD-ROM from the Army Training Support Command at Fort Eustis, Virginia.
The Commanders Safety Course is not just for commanders, but also for safety officers or others working with safety programs. The risk management portion is being considered for incorporation into the Sergeants Major and First Sergeants Courses taught by the Sergeants Major Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas. However, any officer, warrant officer or NCO will add to his professionalism by taking the course.
The course is the result of a directive by the Chief of Staff of the Army General Eric K. Shinseki wanted a course to help commanders identify and reduce needless accidents and deaths of soldiers. He also wanted a course that would qualify an officer, sergeant major or first sergeant to perform safety program duties and invigorate risk management programs and training.
Jim Caldwell TRADOC Public Affairs TRADOC News Service Fort Monroe, VA
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|Title Annotation:||related article: New Safety Course Mandatory for Commanders--Battery Through Brigade; William G. Webster Jr.|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2002|
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