Training and Equipping Soldiers to Serve as Warriors and Growing Adaptive Leaders
Reinforcing Our Centerpiece: Soldiers as Warriors
Human skills may change as technology and warfare demand greater versatility. No matter how much the tools of warfare improve, it is the Soldier who must exploit these tools to accomplish his mission. The Soldier will remain the ultimate combination of sensor and shooter.
The Army prepares every Soldier to be a Warrior by replicating, to the maximum degree possible, the stark realities of combat to condition Soldiers to react instinctively. We have changed our training systems to reflect the realities of war and to better prepare our Soldiers. Our goal is to build Soldiers' confidence in themselves, their equipment, their leaders and their fellow Soldiers.
The biggest change is in our initial military training for new Soldiers. Initial-entry Soldiers are now being prepared to operate in an environment that knows no boundaries. They are receiving substantially more marksmanship training, hand-to-hand combat instruction, an increased emphasis on physical fitness, live-fire convoy training and more focus on skills Soldiers need to operate and survive in combat.
Our Soldiers are smart, competent and totally dedicated to defending the Nation. All are guided by Army Values (Figure 2). They commit to live by the ideals contained in The Soldier's Creed (Figure 3). This creed captures the Warrior Ethos and outlines the professional attitudes and beliefs desired of American Soldiers.
Mental and physical toughness underpin the beliefs embraced in the Soldier's Creed and must be developed within all Soldiers — without regard to their specialty, their unit or their location on the battlefield. The Warrior Ethos engenders the refusal to accept failure, the conviction that military service is much more than just another job, and the unfailing commitment to be victorious. It defines who Soldiers are and what Soldiers must do. It is derived from our long-standing Army Values and reinforces a personal commitment to service.
Soldiers join the Army to serve. Our Soldiers know that their service is required to secure our Nation's freedoms and to maintain the American way of life. We will never take for granted the personal sacrifices our Soldiers and their families endure, which include facing the hardship of war, extended periods of separation and, in the case of our Reserve Component Soldiers, concerns over continued employment and advancement in their civilian jobs.
Recruiting and Retaining Soldiers
The Army continues to attract highly qualified and motivated young people to serve. To maintain our high-quality Army, we must recruit and retain good Soldiers. We are proud of the men and women who come into the Armed Forces to make a difference, to be part of something larger than themselves and to "give something back" to their country.
In 2004, we met our Active and Reserve recruiting goals. The Army National Guard fell just short of its overall recruiting goal. While the recruiting environment is a challenging one, we have not lowered our standards. Our reenlistment rates reflect a positive outlook toward continued service. In 2004, the Active Component far exceeded its retention goal (107 percent) while the Army Reserve and Army National Guard achieved 99 percent of their goals.
Our continued success is a testament to the citizen-patriots of America who enlist and reenlist in our ranks, yet we know that our operational situation could negatively impact recruiting and retention. We are therefore resourcing several incentives to help attract and retain the right people. We continue to offer options for continued service while meeting Soldiers' individual goals. Moreover, we continue to adjust policies and incentives to access new Soldiers, reenlist current Soldiers and reduce unit attrition rates. This ensures that our Army is manned with top-quality people and capitalizes on investments in training, education and mentoring.
In light of the challenges we foresee, we will need the best minds within the Army, Congress, industry and academia to create the environment and to devise and implement strategies to sustain our ranks with the high-quality men and women that are our centerpiece.
Equipping Our Soldiers
Our Soldiers rely on and deserve the very best protection and equipment we can provide. To equip them for the challenges they face, one of the most critical issues we are addressing is vehicle armor. With the support of Congress, acting in full partnership with industry, the Army has dramatically increased the pace of both production and fielding. By March 2005, the current requirement of approximately 32,500 tactical wheeled vehicles in the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters will be protected either with integrated, add-on or locally fabricated armor. By June 2005, we will have replaced all fabricated armor with add-on armor. This rapid delivery schedule has increased the number of armored vehicles in theater one-hundred-fold since August 2003.
Figure 4 lists eight key Soldier protection areas ranging from providing body armor for Soldiers to armor for HMMWVs, trucks and other key vehicles. Our enemies will continue to adapt their tactics; we will remain steadfast in our commitment to protect our Soldiers by meeting and exceeding theater requirements in all areas.
In addition to protecting Soldiers, the Army is working aggressively to provide them the best possible equipment. The Army has established two programs to anticipate Soldiers’ needs and respond quickly to those identified by commanders. Through emergency supplemental appropriations, Congress has been particularly helpful in funding these vital programs.
The Rapid Fielding Initiative (RFI) is designed to fill Soldier equipment shortfalls by quickly fielding commercial off-the-shelf technology rather than waiting for standard acquisition programs to address these shortages. RFI is increasing Soldier capabilities at an unprecedented pace. Since September 2002, we have equipped 36 Brigade Combat Teams. In 2004 alone, the Army equipped more than 180,000 Soldiers.
We are equipping deploying National Guard, Army Reserve and Active Component Soldiers to a common standard. Current plans call for equipping about 258,000 Soldiers in 2005 and the entire operational force by September 2007. We are using fielding teams at home stations and in theater to ensure that every Soldier receives 49 items including body armor, advanced ballistic helmets, hydration systems, ballistic goggles, kneepads, elbow pads and other items. The equipment being issued to units reflects the lessons learned during three years of fighting in complex environments, including optical sights for weapons, grappling hooks, door rams and fiber optic viewers to support Soldiers’ ability to observe from protected positions.
The Rapid Equipping Force (REF) typically uses commercial and field—engineered solutions to quickly meet operational needs. REF has executed numerous initiatives to support the Army’s Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Task Force and the requirements of the other Services. REF solutions meet immediate needs and are then assessed for wider fielding and incorporation into standard acquisition processes.
REF teams in Afghanistan and Iraq interact with commanders at brigade and battalion levels. Equipment provided ranges from lock shims to open padlocks nondestructively to far more sophisticated, remote—controlled reconnaissance devices to explore caves, tunnels, wells and other confined spaces without endangering Soldiers. REF also provides predeployment and in—theater training on the technological solutions it provides.
Training Soldiers and Growing Adaptive Leaders
A balance of training and education is required to prepare Soldiers to perform their duties. Training prepares Soldiers and leaders to operate in relatively certain conditions, focusing on "what to think." Education prepares Soldiers and leaders to operate in uncertain conditions, focusing more on "how to think." We are developing more rigorous, stressful training scenarios to prepare leaders to be more comfortable while operating amidst uncertainty.
Our programs develop leaders with the right mix of unit experiences, training and education needed to adapt to the rigors and challenges of war. We continue to adjust training, across the Army, to reflect the joint operating environment by incorporating the lessons learned from current operations. We are also implementing the National Security Personnel System, an innovative new approach to civilian personnel management and leader identification. This will help to transform our management and development of critical Army civilians and achieve our desired objectives for the overall mindset and culture of the force.
In light of the challenges posed by the 21st century security environment, the Army is moving from an "alert — train — deploy" training model to a "train — alert — deploy — employ" model. We recognize that, in an increasing number of situations, we will have little time to train prior to deploying. For this reason, Army transformation is focused on providing key training and education to increase readiness for no-notice expeditionary operations.
We have incorporated lessons learned into all of our systems and training scenarios at our mobilization stations and combat training centers. This adaptation is having an immediate, tangible impact on the streets of Iraq, the battlefields of Afghanistan and in other places around the world. Other key improvements include:
- Increased funding to adapt ranges and facilities to reflect likely combat situations;
- Adjusted Defense Language Institute requirements to meet immediate operational needs for Arabic translators;
- Increased ammunition allocations to improve every Soldier's live-fire weapons training; and
- Required live-fire training to ensure all Soldiers and units develop proficiency in the key battle drills needed to conduct safe convoy operations and other tasks.
To ensure our leaders learn from our veterans, we have implemented formal assignment guidelines to make best use of Soldier and leader experiences. We are assigning veterans to key joint billets as well as to key instructor and doctrine development positions. In addition, our most experienced officers and noncommissioned officers will return to operational units to apply their experiences in leading our fighting units.
The Army remains committed to the education of our leaders even during this period of war. In fact, we are more aggressively pursuing leaders' education now than during any other period of conflict in our history. We are educating our leaders to expand their minds, increase their cultural awareness and to promote a "lifetime of learning." These initiatives to our professional military education are based on three pillars — institutional education, self-study and experience. The synergy created by the combination of these three forms of education provides our leaders with enhanced capabilities to adapt to an increasingly ambiguous security environment.
To facilitate excellence in our leaders at every level, Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) is embedded throughout Army learning. Joint awareness is introduced in precommissioning education and training of all officers, as well as the mid-level noncommissioned officer courses. Our training and education systems further emphasize a more in-depth understanding of joint principles and concepts beginning at the Captain/Major level for officers and the Sergeant Major level for our noncommissioned officers. Our senior-level JPME programs develop our civilian leaders and further educate military leaders on the joint, multinational and interagency processes. This education is reinforced by experiences obtained in joint assignments. This increased understanding of the capabilities of other Services and external organizations significantly improves our leaders' ability to support the Joint Force in achieving national objectives.
Our military education programs teach our leaders critical thinking skills in "how to think" versus "what to think." Supported by Army Values, the Warrior Ethos and the experiences obtained through training and combat, Army leaders at all levels continue to hone the skills required to win in the complex environment of the 21st century.
Enhancing the Combat Training Centers
The Combat Training Center (CTC) Program provides highly realistic training to prepare Soldiers and leaders to execute our doctrine for operating with other Services, the military forces of other nations and other agencies of the U.S. Government. This training is essential as we become increasingly more interdependent with other Services, allies and the interagency community. The training centers include the Battle Command Training Program at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas; the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana; the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California; and the Combat Maneuver Training Center at Hohenfels, Germany.
These training centers are agents of change. Training scenarios are constantly updated to reflect changing battlefield conditions and incorporate lessons learned. In all scenarios, Soldiers and leaders are presented with complex, cross-cultural challenges by large numbers of role players who act as both combatants and foreign citizens.
Additionally, each of the training centers is building extensive urban combat training facilities, as well as cave and tunnel complexes, to simulate wartime environments. As the Army transforms to a modular force, the CTCs will improve their ability to export a CTC-like training experience to home stations to reduce deployment requirements for training. The CTCs will continue to adapt to meet the training requirements to best serve a modularized Army.