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Leader conversion: Stryker style.

In October 1999, Army Chief of Staff General Eric Shinseki announced that the Army would develop two full spectrum, wheeled combat brigades that utilized technology gained from Force XXI units. These two units were subsequently named Interim Brigade Combat Teams (IBCT) and were intended to deploy rapidly due to the smaller footprint associated with the unit. Initial O&O (operational and organizational) requirements placed on the designers of these units were that the organizations were to be deployable within 96 hours anywhere in the world. This lethal, modular force would maximize technology with a new type of agile and adaptive leaders manning the formation.

The first IBCT O&O specification for the new Stryker leader was: " A leader who can influence people by providing purpose, direction, and motivation--while operating in a complex, dynamic environment of uncertainty and ambiguity to accomplish the mission and improving the organization."

The new Stryker leader had to be drawn from existing formations and taught how to think and act differently. Thus, the concept of Leader Conversion was born.

As each Stryker Brigade Combat Team goes through initial transformation, TRADOC provides leader conversion support. The importance and meaning of leader conversion are critical to the success of the entire transformation process. Conversion (the adoption of a new way of doing things) should not be confused with development (the growth of a professional officer).

Secretary of the Army Francis Harvey recently shared his new vision of "Relevant and Ready Land Power in Service to the Nation" to an audience of cadets. He said the vision is comprised of three pillars: innovative and adaptive leaders who are experts in the art and science of the profession of arms, the Modular Force, and the institutional base of the Army which develops proud and disciplined Soldiers and leaders committed to Army values and living the Warrior Ethos.

"Leaders are absolutely key to achieving this vision," Harvey said. "For the uncertain 21st century operating environment, we need leaders who are decisive, innovative, adaptive, culturally astute, effective communicators and dedicated to lifelong learning."

The Army is reorganizing itself to field smaller, more capable brigade-sized units, Army Chief of Staff General Peter J. Schoomaker said, that can be deployed much more quickly and perform more tasks than legacy forces under the old-style division system. The Army's Stryker-armored-vehicle-equipped Brigade Combat Teams embody this transformational thinking.

At the heart of transformational thinking is the Quality of Firsts: See First, Understand First, Act First, and Finish Decisively. The Stryker formation is a true system of systems structured to enable leaders to thrive in chaotic and uncertain situations and conditions. Aside from being to able to visualize, describe and direct forces as never before, the underlying strength of the Stryker formation is that every Soldier is a leader. It is a Soldier-centric formation capable of capitalizing on information technology to defeat the enemy. TRADOC supports this development of agile and adaptive leaders.

The Stryker Brigade Leader Conversion Training Program provides the TRADOC supported framework for leaders at all levels from brigade commander to squad leader. The LCTP events:

1) Provide doctrinal based information,

2) Are performance based, and

3) Focus on building sufficient knowledge to help Stryker leaders understand and how to employ Stryker Brigade Combat Team capabilities to include digital enablers.

The LCTP consists of three leader-focused training events: Stryker University, Senior Leaders Course, and Tactical Leaders Course. Each transforming unit will receive these courses in order as they progress through transformation, but typically prior to any New Equipment Training (NET). Each training event focuses on different leadership levels of the brigade and is usually the unit's first encounter with Stryker brigade information. Throughout the process, TRADOC instructors from the BOS or proponent institutions maintain the doctrinal high ground and generally don't delve into tactics, techniques, and procedures.

Each event is based on a core curriculum and each course has a complete course description. SBCT commanders preparing for the Stryker Brigade LCTP will be able to adjust the focus of their training event by selecting 'elective' courses to include in their LCTP event.

Stryker University

Stryker University is a three-day information, orientation, and education event. The program of instruction consists of a series of both chain of command and TRADOC SBCT overview classes. University provides an overarching view of what is unique to an SBCT, focusing on doctrine, organization, capabilities and limitations, logistics, communications, and overarching "how to fight." Stryker University also provides a venue for the SBCT's senior leadership to establish their goals and objectives for the transforming unit. University may serve as an opportunity for the materiel community to review the material fielding process and facilities. The target audience for university events is brigade and battalion commanders and their staffs.

Senior Leaders Course

The Senior Leaders Course is a 10-day course broken into a Doctrinal Week and a Digital Week. TRADOC-led instruction consists of a series of briefings, seminars, and performance-oriented training focusing on doctrine, operational lessons learned, and Army Battle Command System (ABCS) integration into the military decision-making process (MDMP). The SLC's culminating exercise is a digital simulation exercise at the Mission Support Training Facility (MSTF) on Fort Lewis, Washington. The series of digital exercises focus on current operational environment tasks, such as sustainment or cordon & search. These digital exercises enable the students to experience how analog, centralized planning fits together with digital, decentralized execution.

SLC supports the SBCT commander's leader development program focused on the brigade and battalion staffs. The focus of this training is on "how to employ" the SBCT and subordinate organizations, leveraging its capabilities and organization, while mitigating limitations. A second, but equally important focus is to provide an understanding of ABCS integration for enhancing the SBCTs command and control processes.

The target audience for SLC events is brigade and battalion commanders and command sergeants major, (select) primary staff, and company commanders.

During Doctrinal Week, instructors will incorporate in-class practical exercises that emphasize doctrinal learning points, provide an analog planning environment, and are directly related to the digital PE scenario the students will encounter during the digital simulation exercise.

Digital Week is the primary venue for the commanders and their staffs to learn 'how to employ' their units using enabling technology. The second week of SLC occurs at the MSTF at Fort Lewis. The first two days are spent becoming familiar with the ABCS and what it can do for the commanders and staffs.

Digital Week wraps up with four digital practical exercises focusing on the unit leveraging digital common operating picture and digital reports to command and control intelligence collection, processing, analysis, and dissemination. The practical exercises also emphasize maneuver operations, fires and effects, and sustainment operations. Unit-led after action reviews (AARs) are conducted at the conclusion of each practical exercise.

Tactical Leaders Course

The Tactical Leaders Course (TLC) is a seven-day event designed to teach the junior SBCT leadership how the SBCT units (platoon and squad) fight and to provide the battalions' leadership an opportunity to demonstrate proficiency in applying basic concepts of Stryker brigade doctrine to solve tactical problems. TLC supports the SBCT and battalion commanders' leader development program focused on leaders from squad/section through company level.

The training facilitates the development of tactical SOPs, the understanding of commander's intent, and provides an understanding of doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures at all small unit echelons. The first two days are TRADOC-led core doctrinal courses that address Stryker doctrine at the company level and below. The target audience for TLC events is company commanders to squad leaders.

Days 3 through 7 focus on courses presented by unit leadership and supported by tactical decision exercises supported by TRADOC.

Day 3--Round robin instruction on SBCT infantry squad through battalion organization, capabilities, limitations, and employment considerations presented by unit leadership; tactical decision exercise facilitated by TRADOC in a small group format; and company collaborative planning presented by unit leadership.

Day 4--Company collaborative planning presented by unit NCO leadership; tactical decision exercise on Conduct a Tactical Control Point; and company collaborative planning brief to battalion and company commanders.

Day 5--Tactical decision exercise on Conduct a Cordon and Search and company collaborative planning presented by company leadership.

Day 6--Practical exercises or tactical decision making games based on plans and orders developed during the Tactical Leaders Course and based on the SLC order and vignettes.

Day 7--Nine-hour simulation exercise in a battle simulation center, mission support training facility, or CAPEX/JANUS-type training environment. The intent is to execute the battalion operations order (OPORD) developed during the preceding SLC event.


Providing Valuable Training to the Force

The LCTP provides SBCT commanders with TRADOC delivered leader conversion events that are doctrine-based and transformation-focused. As most Soldiers assigned to transforming SBCTs have little or no experience with Stryker formations, the LCTP is a prime opportunity for Soldiers to begin establishing a solid foundation of knowledge from which to continue to adopt new ways of doing business.

The Leader Conversion Training Program is the ideal venue for unit leaders to begin to take charge of their own unit's training. Stryker University, which is taught by TRADOC instructors, builds the knowledge base for the entire unit leadership. The Senior Leaders Course, combining doctrinal instruction with scenario-based exercises, creates an outstanding environment for leaders to learn how to employ the SBCT and its subordinate units. Finally, the Tactical Leaders Course, taught primarily by unit leaders and supported by TRADOC instructors, helps units assess SOPs and TTPs--building initial unit proficiency.

Relevance to IBCT and HBCT formations

The Stryker Brigade Leader Conversion Training Program is easily applicable to the conversion of non-modular unit leaders to other modular formations or Units of Action. In terms of the three-course format and the supporting course curriculum, the entire LCTP requires minimal revision to meet the needs of a UA commander.

Albert Einstein said that, "Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything." Leader Conversion is all about changing the way leaders think--starting down the road of rewiring their brains to solve problems in new and innovative ways. LCTP is not a destination, but rather the first step in a different direction. After TRADOC's LCTP, leaders at all levels are better equipped to train their units and to employ their Stryker formations efficiently and effectively.


Even though the Leader Conversion Training Program (LCTP) has its genesis with the Brigade Coordinate Cell, which coordinated assistance to the first three SBCT transformations, the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command's (TRADOC's) focus remains unchanged. The LCTP is now coordinated by the SBCT Transformation Team (STT) located at the Infantry Center at Fort Benning.

The STT is composed of a chief (LTC), five majors, and two captains who are responsible for coordinating and synchronizing TRADOC's efforts in transforming non-modular brigades into Stryker Brigade Combat Teams. The STT is branched into Doctrine, Training & Organization, and Command, Control, Communications and Computers branches. The STT is also a combined arms team with members ably representing the Infantry, Armor, Aviation, Engineer and Signal Corps.

In addition to the STT, there are TRADOC Forward Cells (TFC) co-located with the transforming brigades--coordinating and synchronizing LCTP events. The TFC is where the TRADOC rubber meets the Forces Command (FORSCOM) road. The STT and TFCs execute the LCTP in conjunction with the TRADOC proponent schools and centers; specifically the Infantry Center, Armor Center, Artillery School & Center; Maneuver Support Center, Intelligence Center; Combined Arms Support Command, Signal School, and the Medical Department Center & School.


* Welcome by Corps or Division CG (0.5 hr)

* Welcome by USAIC CG (0.5 hr)

* Welcome by SBCT Commander (0.5 hr)

* Transformation Overview (1.5 hr)

* Unit Set Fielding (0.5 hr)

* Stryker Vehicle Capabilities (0.5 hr)

* Nature of War (1.0 hr)

* SBCT Overview (3.0 hr)

* SBCT Infantry Battalion Overview (3.0 hr)

* RSTA Overview (2.0 hr)

* SBCT Intel Overview (2.0 hr)

* SBCT Fires and Effects (1.0 hr)

* SBCT CSS Organization Overview (2.0 hr)

* SBCT Maneuver Support Overview (2.0 hr)

* Signal Company Overview (2.0 hr)

* ABCS Introduction (1.5 hr)

* Leader Conversion (1.0 hr)

* Battle Command (1.0 hr)


* Welcome by TSM Stryker-Bradley (0.5 hr)

* Welcome by SBCT Commander (0.5 hr)

* SBCT Overview and Discussion (1.5 hr)

* SBCT Infantry Battalion and Company Discussion and PE (2.0 hr)

* ABCS Overview and Lower TI Discussion (1.0 hr)

* FBCB2 Familiarization (3.0 hr)

* MCS-L Familiarization (3.0 hr)

* Stryker Vehicle Capabilities and Manning Issues (3.0 hr)

* SBCT Intel Capabilities, Urban IPB and PE (3.0 hr) * RSTA Squadron and Troop Discussion (1.0 hr)

* ISR Planning and Preparation (1.5 hr)

* The Reconnaissance Fight and PE (1.0 hr)

* Urban Operations TTP (2.0 hr)

* Maneuver Support Discussion and PE (2.0 hr)

* Information Operations at Battalion and Company with PE (3.0 hr)

* Effects Based Operations (1.5 hr)

* SBCT CSS Operations at Battalion and Company with PE (2.0 hr)


* Welcome by Battalion Commander (0.5 hr)

* SBCT Overview (1.0 hr)

* SBCT Infantry Battalion Organization and Capabilities (1.0 hr)

* Maneuver Support Organization and Capabilities (1.0 hr)

* SBCT Intelligence Organization and Capabilities (1.0 hr)

* RSTA Organization and Capabilities (1.0 hr)

* Fires and Effects Overview to include FA Battalion (2.0 hr)

* Brigade Support Battalion Operations (1.0 hr)

* Center for Army Leadership (CAL) (4.0 hr)

* Center for Enhanced Performance (CEP) (4.0 hr)

Lieutenant Colonel Jay Macklin is currently serving as Chief of the SBCT Transformation Team at Fort Benning. He was previously assigned to the 12th Aviation Brigade, V Corps, in Germany.

Major Jerome Sibayan is currently serving as the doctrine officer of the SBCT Transformation Team. His previous assignments include serving with the 3rd Armored Division and 1st Cavalry Division.
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Title Annotation:TSM Stryker/Bradley Corner
Author:Macklin, Jay; Sibayan, Jerome
Publication:Infantry Magazine
Date:Jul 1, 2005
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Next Article:NCO-focused AARs: how to make the unit better.

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