FORT KNOX, Ky. (May 14, 2013) -- The complex nature of issues facing the modern military tactician present unique challenges requiring leadership that exemplifies unparalleled ingenuity, flexibility and uncompromising integrity. From the emergence of insurgent warfare to the constantly evolving technological frontier, future military leaders must remain adaptable with an ability to thrive in an uncertain operational environment.

To keep up with the fluidity of today's battlefield and better prepare the nation's future military leaders to face myriad challenges, Cadet Command is revamping the training Cadets receive, starting with its capstone event.

Some of the changes to the ROTC training regimen begin this summer at the Leader Development and Assessment Course, or LDAC, the annual advanced-level leadership course at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. The transformation is scheduled for completion in 2016, when LDAC will become the Cadet Leader Course to more accurately describe the curriculum.

Six of the changes this summer will have a noticeable effect on participating Cadets:


The most noticeable change to this year's training involves a reduction in the amount of assessments each Cadet will receive. In the past, Cadets were subject to six different evaluations, each crucial to their eventual placement on the order of merit list. Under the new system, assessments will be reduced to four with a decreased emphasis of the assessment's weighting on the order of merit list and an increase in feedback and mentoring Cadets receives post-assessment. The rationale for the change is to improve overall Cadet-development and foster an atmosphere of leadership enlightenment. Under the old system, Cadets often focused more on the grading of the assessment rather than the merits, stunting the development process. Under the new system, Cadets are encouraged to experiment with different leadership styles to determine which style brings about the most personal success.


The introduction of basic rifle marksmanship is actually not new to LDAC. For decades, basic rifle marksmanship was a staple of the training cycle but fell to the wayside in 2009 during the Army's reallocation of resources overseas in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. With a drawdown of forces in Afghanistan, marksmanship is being reintroduced to teach Cadets the fundamentals of rifle marksmanship and to qualify them for the squad live-fire exercise. During qualifications, Cadets will be required to qualify using either the M-16 or M-4 rifle.


The squad live-fire exercise is new to LDAC and provides Cadets with an invaluable set of skills that are useful throughout their military careers. The event places Cadets in a squad-level react-to-contact live-fire scenario incorporating weapons malfunctions, ammo-redistribution issues and notional medical emergencies to stress Cadets. The desired outcome is to build confidence in their ability to conduct battle drills, employ rifle marksmanship principles and emphasize the complexity of combat. To participate in the squad live-fire exercises, Cadets must first qualify during basic rifle marksmanship.


During each cycle, Cadets are required to qualify on the land navigation course in both day and night conditions. Cadets who successfully complete each of the basic land navigation portions will have the opportunity to participate in a new advanced land navigation course where they will be instructed on the most up-to-date and effective methods of navigating unfamiliar terrain. The advanced land navigation course will introduce Cadets to various navigating skills, including tactical terrain analysis, mounted land navigation, navigating for fire support and a class on intersection problems, where Cadets are taught to identify an unknown point using only two known points.


During past LDAC cycles, Cadets had to pass all three portions of the Army's physical fitness test prior to graduating the course. While most Cadets showed up at LDAC physically fit and able to obtain the necessary score of 60 in each of the APFT events, the time and commitment required to ensure passing scores for those who failed the first test exhausted valuable time and resources better allocated for other areas of Cadet development. Beginning this cycle, Cadets will only have one chance to pass the APFT, and Cadet unable to pass retake the test once they return to their campus. Back in the campus environment, the ROTC cadre will have more time to work with Cadets in areas needing improvement.


During past LDAC cycles, the Field Leader's Reaction Course, or FLRC, was included as one of the six assessments used to place Cadets on the order of merit list. Under the new training regimen, the FLRC will no longer be assessed formally, but will serve as an opportunity for Cadet decision-making development and as a team-building exercise. While the FLRC will no longer be part of the formal assessment, regimental cadre will still observe each Cadet's performance and provide developmental-feedback following the event to promote leadership growth.