By Mike Casey, Combined Arms CenterMay 29, 2013
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (May 29, 2013) -- The Army is restarting a program to pass on insights and knowledge from the Combat Training Centers to benefit the U.S. Training and Doctrine Command Centers of Excellence and the force.
In May, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno announced the re-establishment of Project Warrior to help the Army transition from a force focused on counterinsurgency operations to a smaller, more versatile one ready for a wide range of missions. Odierno said Project Warrior will assist in the transition by producing agile, adaptive leaders.
Project Warrior calls for captains to serve two years as an observer-coach-trainer, known as an OCT, at a Maneuver Combat Training Center, or MCTC, followed by two years as a small group instructor, or SGI, at a U.S. Training and Doctrine Command Center of Excellence, or TRADOC CoE.
"My intent in reinstituting Project Warrior is to infuse observations, insights, and lessons gained from multiple MCTC Decisive Action rotations against hybrid threats, back into the Force through the TRADOC CoEs," Odierno said.
Originally, the Army introduced Project Warrior in 1989 as Vietnam War veterans retired, depleting the force of combat-experienced Soldiers. To fill the void, Project Warrior sent participants to the MCTCs, which provide experience that is the closest to actual combat.
Operational requirements in Iraq and Afghanistan prompted the Army to suspend the program.
The re-established Project Warrior will infuse the force with the experiences captain OCTs gain from multiple MCTC rotations. The MCTCs are transforming to Decisive Action training that entails simultaneous offensive, defensive and stability tasks against hybrid threats.
To succeed, Project Warrior must attract the right leaders. Project Warrior officers should rank in the top 10 percent and show potential to command a battalion and perhaps a brigade.
"We're looking for our best and most talented captains," said Brig. Gen. Mike Lundy, deputy commanding general of the Combined Arms Center-Training, or CAC-T, at Fort Leavenworth.
"At the MCTCs, they'll have the opportunity to observe multiple unit rotations. Then they'll take the skills, knowledge and lessons they learn to train our future company commanders and staff officers at the Centers of Excellence."
"It's a great leader development program for the Army, the Project Warrior participants, and for the captains whom the Project Warrior officers will instruct at the proponent schools," he said.
Project Warrior is open to officers in: Infantry, Armor, Field Artillery, Air Defense, Aviation, Engineer, Signal, Military Police, Military Intelligence, Chemical, Logistics and Medical Service.
Project Warrior participants must complete key-development qualification assignments and have a minimum of three years at the company/battalion/brigade levels. Officers can volunteer for Project Warrior, but must be endorsed by their battalion or brigade commander.
Human Resources Command Branch/Career Managers review each candidate's file to assess quality and to ensure participation does not disadvantage the candidate's professional development timeline.
The Army plans a phased implementation:
• By June 2013, the Army will identify and select captains for OCT assignments.
• By December 2013, the Army will screen and select officers, currently serving as OCTs, for Project Warrior and follow-on assignments for summer 2014 as SGIs at TRADOC CoEs.
• By fiscal year 2016, the goal is to have 50 percent of Project Warrior officers teaching as SGIs and 100 percent by fiscal year 2017.
At end state, Project Warrior will have 66 officers serving at the MCTCs and another 66 serving as SGIs at various CoEs. The MCTCs are the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, Calif.; the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La.; and the Joint Multinational Readiness Center at Hohenfels, Germany.
HQDA G-3/5/7 will serve as the program's lead agent for policy, while HQDA G-1 will serve as the lead agent for personnel management.
CAC-T manages Army training support and training development, and provides training and leader development programs and products to support Army readiness. One of its subordinate organizations is the Combat Training Center, or CTC, Directorate, which facilitates validation, administration and integration of the CTC Program, and has been the lead to reinvigorate the Project Warrior Program.