By Will King, Fort Leavenworth LampApril 17, 2009
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (April 17, 2009) - The Army Training Network is set to go online April 20 with the mission of becoming the one-stop shop and information source for Army training.
"ATN is about the ability of trainers and educators to go to one spot where they can talk over their problems. If you want to know about training, you come here," said Jimmy Davis, ATN government team leader.
The ATN Web site has the most current training doctrine available, Field Manual 7-0, Training for Full Spectrum Operations, published in December 2008. Online "Training Management How-To" and "Training Solutions" in ATN replace the hardcopy FM 7-1, Battle Focused Training.
"The thing about ATN is that it's live, it's current, it's now, unlike the two-dimensional documents that the Army has operated with for so many years," said Bill Brosnan, ATN contractor team leader.
Davis and his small team of contractors have a combined almost 100 years of Army experience, at both the officer and noncommissioned officer levels, and in fields such as aviation, field artillery and military intelligence.
The ATN team spent nearly three years writing the current version of FM 7-0. Davis said the process of formalizing new doctrine is lengthy for a reason, as doctrine is meant to be the foundation of standardized training for several years. He said he hopes having training solutions consolidated and archived online in ATN will reduce the time required to publish future revisions to FM 7-0.
Across the Army Training Network Web site, users have the capability to comment on doctrine, make recommendations for changes and submit training solutions from the field.
The ATN team will evaluate users' comments and training solutions to ensure they are appropriate for Armywide distribution. The Combined Arms Center - Training will also have input to ensure the right information is presented online to trainers and educators.
Blogs will facilitate top-down communication of new training methods and news, and professional forums will allow trainers and educators to pose questions and recommend solutions to each other laterally. The blogs and forums are conducted through Battle Command Knowledge System, and ATN monitors BCKS for any training related entries.
Hyperlinks within the FM 7-0 text allow trainers to find doctrinal information quickly, as well as link to related training solutions from the field, and blog and forum entries.
Davis said the ATN system packages the "how to" with the "what," the training solutions with the doctrine, in a format that is easy to navigate, always available online and represents the latest in doctrine and training techniques.
"The whole point of making this thing (ATN) Web based was to make it easily accessible. As things change in the Army, we can update that information rapidly," Davis said.
ATN will also have tutorials for using Digital Training Management System and links to other Army training Web sites, such as Army Training Requirements and Resources Systems and Virtual Battle Space 2. Users can recommend links to additional Army training sites and resources.
If an answer still can't be found to any particular training question, there is a capability to ask a trainer a question directly, and the ATN team said it would respond to queries within 48-72 hours.
The ATN team could not overemphasize the importance and necessity of participation in the ATN Web site from Army trainers and educators in the schoolhouse and in Active and Reserve Component units.
"ATN is really about collaboration," Davis said. "We have to have help from the Army; (trainers and educators) have to contribute to make it a success."
The ATN team also visits units throughout the Army seeking input about current training issues directly from commanders, training and operations officers, NCOs and Soldiers.
Master Sgt. Richard Johnson, CAC-T operations sergeant major, explained the benefit of having a single Web site where trainers and educators could go get resources, training techniques and materials to conduct training, especially at small-unit levels, such as company and below.
"The savings in time and energy spent is just big bang for the buck for a trainer that is really struggling in today's operating environment to best use time available to conduct training. It has all kinds of applications that I think will be great for the Army," he said.
Visit the ATN portal at https://atn.army.mil. An Army Knowledge Online user name and password or Common Access Card is required to access the ATN Web site.