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Platoon 21-day green cycles.

The reduction of two military police combat support companies at Fort Polk, Louisiana, coupled with ever-increasing installation policing, access control, and general tasking requirements, drove the development of a high-intensity, short-duration green cycle training framework that increased focus on key collective tasks and the reinforcement of team and individual tasks for shoot, move, communicate, and field craft, which enabled continued police operations and support to the installation. Additionally, the growth of technical and tactical leadership abilities at the team, squad, and platoon leadership levels is a benefit of employing the 21-day training regimen. Finally, keeping training cycles in line with a 14-, 21-, or 28-day training pattern helps build readiness that directly translates to a "prepare to deploy" order and helps units focus valuable training time on the appropriate areas.

After the change of command of the 519th Military Police Battalion in October 2013, the battalion began Army structure reductions of two combat support military police companies (the 209th Military Police Company and the 272d Military Police Company) throughout fiscal year (FY) 2014. Aside from immediate requirements to gain senior commander approval of tenant units supplementing access control points in late FY 14, the battalion did an in-depth validation of all policing requirements (such as two mandatory military police patrols, which were reduced to one military police patrol) to free up as much manpower as possible. Finally, the battalion continued to support the U.S. Central Command with up to 78 military police Soldiers deployed throughout FY 14 and FY 15. All told, the need to meet the U.S. Army Forces Command unified land operations training requirement led to the establishment of an 18-day green cycle (later changed to a 21-day cycle) that companies executed at a platoon or platoon (-) (equivalent to two military police squads) level, beginning in the last quarter of FY 14.

An 18-day green cycle was chosen so that each one of the six military police line platoons would have a chance to train at least twice annually. Otherwise, the conventional, 6-week green cycle would limit most platoons to training once a year. Although shorter, the 18-day training cycled through multiple iterations, building tactical and technical competence in platoon leadership beginning with key leader, individual, team, and collective tasks associated with deployment and redeployment. The training included quartering-party operations; field site operations; platoon defense (of a patrol base); and all baseline shoot, move, and communicate team level tasks that are involved in all key collective task training. After the third iteration of an 18-day green cycle, each team, squad, and platoon is capable of focusing on the specific key collective tasks assigned for that green cycle. Basic tasks are already sufficiently mastered and do not detract from the overall training effect.

After the initial positive feedback, the battalion expanded the training to include the 41st Medium Transportation Company, which is assigned to the battalion for training, readiness, and assessment. The first green cycle iteration for the 41st Medium Transportation Company began in May 2015. Above all else, the lessons the 519th Military Police Battalion revealed during the design and implementation of short-duration, high-intensity training cycles serve as a great example for other battalions that experience a reduction in force or an increase in requirements, negating company size green cycles.

Following the first full year of employing the 18-day green cycle format, the battalion lengthened the cycle to 21 days to--

* Provide more military police surge capacity to the department of emergency services for driving under the influence, force protection, community-oriented policing initiatives, and other short-duration efforts.

* Allow more transition time between red cycle road assumptions for the green cycle platoon.

As proven during the 3d quarter of FY 15, the concept of squad- and platoon-mounted fire and maneuver combined arms live-fire exercises (CALFEXs) in the green cycle works. The concept drives home the importance of shoot, move, and communicate baseline task proficiency and equipment maintenance and employment proficiency for our military police Soldiers, squads, and teams.

21-Day Green Cycle

The basic 18-day green cycle is best depicted in Figure 1. The cycle is broken down into individual team level task training, squad collective task training, and a culminating event. The culminating event is a 3- to 5-day field exercise in which the platoon or platoon (-) conducts an emergency readiness deployment exercise, deploys to a field site, establishes a defense and patrol base, and conducts crawl-walk-run lane training for key collective tasks identified for that green cycle. To help shape and prepare platoon leaders for this effort, the population was tasked with several professional development readings and sessions. Professional readings included--

* Army Doctrine Publication (ADP) 7-0, Training Units and Developing Leaders.

* Army Doctrine Reference Publication (ADRP) 7-0, Training Units and Developing Leaders.

* ADP 3-0, Unified Land Operations.

* ADP 5-0, Special Operations.

* ADRP 3-0, Unified Land Operations.

* ADRP 5-0, Special Operations.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

T+8 to T+6 Training Assessment and Leadership Planning

The Army training management model seems to present a great challenge to our company grade leaders, especially when linking planning and preparation to resource forecasting. These challenges are further amplified when operating completely under the Digital Training Management System with the FY 15 upgrades to a not-fully-functional Version 7. Throughout this transition, the battalion operations and training officer was critical in leading company commanders, operations sergeants, platoon leaders, and platoon sergeants through a gated implement strategy that focused on the Army physical fitness test; weapons qualifications; and critical Army Regulation (AR) 350-1, Army Training and Leader Development, training requirements structured to avoid impacting key collective task training. As a military police battalion, this entire training synchronization was set against the backdrop of a police five and two, 8-hour shift schedule that negated individual and team level training afforded during a typical amber cycle.

To help shape the green cycles for the companies and platoons, the battalion fully extorted the Army Training Network and the combined arms training strategy to conduct a mission-essential task list crosswalk across supporting key collective tasks and their corresponding key leader and individual tasks. Although digitally based, the battalion conducted training management leader proficiency development sessions focusing on how to use analog methods of conducting a mission-essential task list crosswalk and high-payoff task analysis that was digitally replicated. This was necessary to establish and promote the appropriate context for leaders across the formation as doctrinal knowledge deficiencies in the Basic Officer Leader's Course and Advanced Officer Leader's Course were observed. Notably, company grade officers and noncommissioned officers were raised in the Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom training management models wherein companies were usually given a set of deployment tasks and requirements, with battalion and higher headquarters conducting training planning, resourcing, and forecasting for them. Reacquiring a 1990s era (pre-Operation Iraqi Freedom) mind-set built up training management competencies in our junior leaders, which directly relates to increasing the professional military leader vernacular in our platoon and company grade leaders.

In addition to instructing and employing analog and digital training management systems, the battalion also conducted leadership development and the employment of past military police training frameworks (the Eight-Step Training model, lane training) to accomplish key collective task training.

Green Cycle Briefings

The primary feedback mechanisms for platoon leaders to the battalion commander were green cycle training briefs conducted at T+4 to T+3 (4 to 3 weeks before training began). Before briefing the battalion commander, platoon leaders briefed the battalion operations and training officer at T+5 to ensure that their training plans, preparations, and resource coordination were on track with no threats to meeting the training objectives. The Eight-Step Training Model was used as the backbone for the green cycle training briefs, along with key collective task and high-payoff task selection and prioritization, concept of operations, timelines, training support resources, and the deliberate risk assessment for the specific training events.

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In addition to providing a quality control mechanism before training, the green cycle training briefs provided real-time leader development and feedback to the platoon leader from the battalion commander and staff. In conjunction with sand table-based, five-paragraph operation order range briefs, platoon leaders were given sufficient opportunity to gain confidence in briefing senior leaders; gauge the effectiveness of their planning and preparation cycles; and directly obtain the commander's intent, direction, and guidance.

Green Cycle Composition

As previously explained, the 21-day green cycle is composed of key individual and team tasks, team and squad collective tasks, leader tasks, and a platoon collective task execution in a field environment. Based on the actual size of the training audience (platoon, platoon [-], squad), the tempo of the individual, team, squad, or platoon training tasks varied. As a backbone, lane training was used as the primary training framework for all green cycle training. Within this construct, the crawl-walk-run methodology was followed and squad and platoon leaders self-assessed whether their respective elements were ready to progress to the next phase. The training management model helped platoon leaders pick two to three key collective tasks on which the platoon would focus during the culminating lane training field training exercise. Based on company and battalion commander vision, intent, and guidance, the platoon leaders conducted mission-essential task list crosswalks wherein the specific key collective tasks were identified and prioritized. Due to the frequency of the training cycles, high-payoff collective tasks such as alert, upload, and deploy and the majority of shoot, move, and communicate individual and team tasks were executed in each green cycle iteration. This allowed units to build a baseline of core competencies relating to decisive action, unified land operations, and deployable readiness regardless of the key collective tasks selected for the field training exercise.

Each 21-day green cycle iteration consisted of deployment-related tasks, to include load plan validation, maintenance checks, mounted patrol and convoy procedures, Joint Capabilities Release/Blue Force Tracking, frequency hop/cypher text using the Advanced System Improvement Program, weapons mounting and employment, and platoon and squad troop-leading procedures. Maintaining training consistency in these tasks allowed platoon leaders and squad leaders to build upon tactical standard operating procedures. Upon arrival at the field site, platoons also conducted quartering-party operations, established a platoon patrol base, and conducted platoon defense and many related field-operating tasks. This raised the baseline core competencies of each platoon, focusing on deployable readiness.

Following the lane training of key collective tasks, platoons conducted redeployment and recovery, usually in 1 to 3 days, depending on the platoon police lanes and the assumption date for day-, swing-, or mid-shiftwork. The police lanes were introduced to get the military police platoon back into a garrison law enforcement mind-set, and they encompassed department of emergency services-identified weak areas or specific high-payoff law enforcement tasks. They were conducted with the crawl-walk-run methodology, with battalion and department of emergency services police operations instruction as required by the company. The focus of the culminating event for the police lanes was determined by the department of emergency services and the provost marshal and included driving-under-the-influence checkpoints at access control points, community watch surge patrols, and requested military police platoon mission sets.

Practical Applications

The inactivation of two military police combat support companies and the fielding of several new modified table of organization and equipment systems and upgrades (Raven[R] Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System, Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station, Light Vehicle Obscuration Smoke System, M2A1 heavy machine gun, armored security vehicle combat vehicle crewmen equipment, AN/PEQ-15, vehicle information and communications systems in M1151 fleet, M26 shotgun, M320 40-millimeter grenade launcher, integrated laser white light pointer, Joint Capabilities Release/Blue Force Tracker mission command system) simultaneously took place in the 519th Military Police Battalion in FY 15. The short-duration, iterative green cycle exposures allowed military police platoons to field new and upgraded equipment on a piecemeal basis and integrate the equipment into their formations ahead of the major battalion level training events during the same period. The battalion executed the first deliberate mounted gunnery in August 2014, with the newly fielded Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station as the primary focus. The battalion used the M1117 armored security vehicle military police team certifications conducted earlier and used the gunnery training as the capstone. In preparation for the first mounted fire and maneuver CALFEX scheduled for June 2015, the battalion conducted another mounted gunnery training in February 2015. The training established a major collective effort as a semiannual requirement, as a mechanism to maintain gunnery qualifications, to enforce military police team certification maintenance, and to reinforce military police team shoot tasks.

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In June 2015, the 519th conducted the mounted fire and maneuver CALFEX, rotating military police platoons through a daytime and nighttime squad-mounted, live-fire exercise and a platoon daytime CALFEX as the culminating training event. Due to the nature of sustaining police requirements, the battalion orchestrated and administratively operated the ranges and area of operations to allow company commanders and platoon leaders to focus on planning, preparation, and execution tasks and to evaluate training. The battalion incorporated the newly trained and upgraded Raven system and a rudimentary call for fire to simulate the combined arms support that military police platoon leaders could experience in a theater of operations. But the focus was on squad fire and maneuver of sections and platoon fire and maneuver of squads. The gunneries and the CALFEX were only possible due to the baseline core competencies achieved through platoons conducting multiple green cycle iterations.

Conclusion

With the specter of future military police battalion and combat support company Army structure reductions ever present in our branch, high-intensity, short-duration green cycles provide a manageable and effective methodology to continue to build and sustain combat readiness at the military police squad and platoon levels. Leaders will continue to face training distractors such as lack of time or funds, taskings, and land availability. The next generation of company commanders must understand how to plan effective training around such constraints. Using a 21-day green cycle construct will enable platoon, company, and field grade officers to build readiness and collective task proficiency across battalions and companies and will help bring us in line with the vision behind the Military Police Strategic Plan 2025.

References:

ADP 3-0, Unified Land Operations, 10 October 2011.

ADP 5-0, Special Operations, 31 August 2012.

ADP 7-0, Training Units and Developing Leaders, 23 August 2012.

ADRP 3-0, Unified Land Operations, 16 May 2012.

ADRP 5-0, Special Operations, 17 May 2012.

ADRP 7-0, Training Units and Developing Leaders, 23 August 2012.

AR 350-1, Army Training and Leader Development, 19 August 2014.

Military Police Strategic Plan 2025, <http://www.army.mil /article/97162/MPJ3trategic_Plan_2020/>, accessed on 20 January 2015.

By Lieutenant Colonel Jon P. Myers, Major Chris B. Treuting, And First Lieutenant Joshua J. Larson

Lieutenant Colonel Myers was the commander of the 519th Military Police Battalion and garrison director of emergency services for Fort Polk, Louisiana, from October 2013 to September 2015. He holds a bachelor's degree in aviation management from the Florida Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Florida, a master's degree in business and organizational security from Webster University, and a master's degree in military arts and science from the School of Advanced Military Studies.

Major Treating is the executive officer for the 519th Military Police Battalion, Fort Polk, Louisiana. He holds a bachelor's degree from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and master's degrees in business and organizational security management and military operations arts and science from Webster University and the Air Force Command and Staff College.

First Lieutenant Larson is the police operations officer and special reaction team officer in charge for the Fort Polk Directorate of Emergency Services. He holds a bachelor's degree in business administration from Kaplan University, St. Louis, Missouri.
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Author:Myers, Jon P.; Treuting, Chris B.; Larson, Joshua J.
Publication:Military Police
Geographic Code:1U7LA
Date:Mar 22, 2016
Words:2604
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