By NICK DUKESeptember 18, 2013
FORT BENNING, Ga., (Sept. 18, 2013) -- During last week's Maneuver Warfighter Conference, Infantry School Commandant Brig. Gen. David Haight provided an update on the school with his annual State of the Infantry address.
Haight covered a variety of topics during the address, including plans to lengthen the leader development timeline for Infantry officers.
The time it takes an officer to be promoted from lieutenant to captain will likely extend from 36 months to 48 months, while a promotion from captain to major will occur after 11 years rather than the roughly 9.8 years seen in the current trend. A promotion to lieutenant colonel will take about six months longer to obtain under the new plan.
The increased time built into the timeline will be used to allow officers to complete a broadening assignment.
"If you add that up, the takeaway is between captain and lieutenant colonel, we're going to insert about three more years in an officer's timeline, and that's going to allow him to participate in a broadening assignment," Haight said. "A broadening assignment will be defined as getting that officer out of his comfort zone and making him do something else that he hasn't been doing to broaden his perspective and life experience. The product is we're going to have a battalion commander who assumes battalion command with a broader professional and life experience."
Haight also talked about attempts to increase course rigor throughout the Infantry School, including efforts to increase Officer Candidate School admittance requirements.
"In ROTC at West Point, you have to have a score of 180 on a PT test to get in," he said. "Those organizations have four years to work with a guy or girl to get them to be physically strong leaders able to handle the rigors of combat. We only have 12 weeks at OCS, so we have to start at a further point along."
The Infantry Basic Officer Leadership Course has also increased its rigor by adding a week to the course.
"What we were able to do is establish advanced situational awareness training and also some heavy weapons training that had fallen out of the course," Haight said.
Haight also addressed the challenges facing the Infantry as downward pressure is exerted on the size of the Army headed into 2017 and beyond.
"Our throughput in some of our functional training will go down a little bit, but our OSUT output will increase a little bit to maintain the formations," he said. "Many of the divisions that had four brigades will be back down to three brigades."
Finally, Infantry School Command Sgt. Maj. Timothy Guden addressed the mission command philosophy. Infantry surveys show that many Soldiers see an understanding of mission command principles at the battalion and brigade levels, but a need for a higher level of understanding at lower levels.
"Everybody understands that it's at battalion level, but it should be down at the company and platoon levels," Guden said. "Initiatives that we have for that include trying to improve our communications with Nett Warrior, introduction of ASAT training, improved optics and more leader development in training."