Fort Benning Public Affairs
FORT BENNING, Ga. – The unit here that trains leaders to serve with armored and scout forces does so through a broad array of combat-savvy courses that help forge greater lethality in battle, officials say in a video.
The unit, the 316th Cavalry Brigade, trains officers, noncommissioned officers, and warrant officers to serve as leaders with a variety of armored and light infantry forces, including those that use the Abrams tank, Bradley Fighting Vehicle, Stryker Combat Vehicle, and up-armored Humvee. It also trains master gunners to serve with units that employ those vehicles, and trains combat advisers to work with foreign security forces.
The brigade is an element of the U.S. Army Armor School, which is part of Fort Benning's U.S. Army Maneuver Center of Excellence. MCoE trains Soldiers to serve in the Armor and Infantry branches, which together make up the Army's maneuver force.
The full set of the brigade's courses and other training activities are outlined in a video it produced for viewing during a conference on warfighting that Fort Benning hosted last September.
The brigade's video is titled "Lethality and Leadership."
"Day in and day out, this brigade generates lethality, combat power, reconnaissance and security, to fight as part of a combined arms team that delivers precise direct fires, to decisively win the first battle of the next war," the brigade's commander, Col. Peter C. Glass, says during the video.
To train leaders, the brigade's courses include:
• Armor Basic Officer Leader Course
• Tank Commander Course
• Bradley Commander Course
• Stryker Scout Commander Course
• Cavalry Leaders Course
• Scout Leader Course
• Maneuver Leader Maintenance Course
• Master Gunner Common Core
• Abrams Master Gunner
• Bradley Master Gunner
• Stryker Master Gunner
Additional courses focus on various other skill sets, and include the course for advisers to foreign security forces:
• Gunnery Simulations Course
• Dismounted Counter-IED Tactics Master Trainer
• Advanced Situational Awareness-A
• Advanced Situational Awareness -B
• Combat Advisor Training Course
During the video, speakers give details as to what's taught in the courses and how the skills apply to the fighting force.
The Armor Basic Officer Leader Course, for example, is a 95-day program "that produces Armor lieutenants who are bold, aggressive, resourceful, and adaptive, capable of leading tank platoons in any environment," Lt. Col. Chris Kane, says in the video. Kane is commander of the brigade's 2nd Squadron, 16th Cavalry Regiment.
"They are taught, trained and coached on how to direct, lead and assess operations effectively at the platoon level," says Kane. "They are well-versed in doctrinal, technical and administrative tasks associated with the tank platoon." They are also taught "the art and science behind mounted maneuver, employing weapon systems and integrating assets to close with and destroy the enemy."
Each day, says Kane, "with every repetition, a lieutenant's confidence grows in their ability to one day become an expert, a master of the fundamentals, and ultimately lead a tank platoon onto the battlefield where they will fight and win at the point of contact."
The content and purpose of the Scout Leader Course is similarly explained in the video. The course trains noncommissioned officers and officers from the Army, Marine Corps, and international partner forces, in the skills of reconnaissance and security operations carried out at the platoon level.
The 26-day course combines classroom instruction with 14 days in the field, Capt Kevin M. Graham, the course's director, says in the video.
Topics covered in the course include troop-leading procedures during planning and execution of missions, understanding the capabilities and limitations of reconnaissance and security formations among Infantry, Armor, and Stryker brigade combat teams, understanding and applying preparation of battlefield intelligence, and evaluating use of terrain for both enemy and friendly forces, among other skills taught.
"Upon completion of the Scout Leader Course," says Graham, "graduates will be well-versed in scout platoon doctrine and be able to apply the fundamentals of reconnaissance and security, leadership skills, and self-confidence to solve mission-relevant problems."
The Abrams Master Gunner course, like the brigade's other master gunner courses, trains those who serve as highly valued experts and advisers on a broad range of matters related to gunnery, gunnery training, the function and capabilities of the combat vehicles their units operate with, and other key areas.
In outlining the Abrams Master Gunner course, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher M. Coughlin, its senior instructor, begins by telling the audience "how we can help build Armor lethality within your ranks.
"Our purpose," says Coughlin, "is to take accomplished Armor noncommissioned officers, and train them in advanced gunnery methodology, tank turret and weapon system maintenance, and gunnery training management."
If a unit sends to the course a sergeant or sergeant first class who meets the course's qualifications for enrollment, says Coughlin, "we will provide that noncommissioned officer with the knowledge and expertise that will allow him or her to function as your unit's institutionally trained subject matter expert for all direct-fire weapons and weapons platform, your tank commander's mentor and your commander's gunnery technical advisor, who is capable of assisting in the preparation and execution of rigorous training that increases your unit's lethality."
The Combat Advisor Training Course, or CATC, aims to enable advisers to foreign security forces "to see themselves and their available tools, assess their environment and their counterparts, plan their actions to target specific outcomes, affect human behavior, and advise and survive in any environment," says Maj. Robert J. Nussbaumer, the course's officer-in-charge.
"Our course outcome," he says, "is to produce a competent, confident, committed, capable, and sustainable adviser who can positively influence the performance of a foreign security force within the advise, liaise, support and assess roles, while building and maintaining rapport through effective interaction with personnel at all levels" of the foreign security forces they advise.
The course serves as the "schoolhouse" for the Army's Security Force Assistance Brigades, or SFABs, he says. "CATC graduates achieve the strategic objectives of the United States through their tactical-level advising," says Nussbaumer.
"Need to signal a potential challenger, through targeted, bilateral training with a specific key partner?" he asks. "Our graduates do that. Need to increase partner capacity to raise consequences of potential adverse activity against a US-led coalition? Our graduates do that. "Need to leverage partner capacity and capabilities beyond the competition phase? Our graduates do that."
Besides its many training courses, the brigade also oversees an annual Armor Week. It entails two prestigious international military competitions, the Sullivan Cup Tank Crew Competition, and the Gainey Cup Best Scout Squad Competition, held on alternate years. The next Gainey Cup had been scheduled for February 2021 but has been cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The next Sullivan Cup is tentatively scheduled for February 2022. In addition, the brigade hosts a quarterly Recon Council that brings together experts from across the Army to discuss issues and trends related to reconnaissance and security operations.
The video was one of several warfighting-related videos that were available for viewing during the 2020 Virtual Maneuver Warfighter Conference, held online Sept. 9-10 by MCoE. The first day focused on lethality, the second day on developing leaders.
In addition to training Soldiers for the Armor and Infantry branches, MCoE also trains those hoping to become paratroopers, Rangers, snipers, and others seeking to qualify in various military specialties.