Long-range planning is essential for commanders to prioritize and sequence training events with resources to determine who, what, when, and where to train. The end result of the long-range planning process is the publication of annual training guidance (ATG) and a long-range training calendar. ATG provides subordinate commanders and leaders a clear vision of their training expectations giving the unit direction, purpose, and the motivation necessary to train effectively. It ensures subordinate commanders have the training guidance required to formulate their echelon’s long-range training plans and coordinate necessary resources. As commanders and their staffs develop the unit long-range training plan, they must account for several key planning considerations to ensure the plan is nested with their higher headquarters, the plan is resourced, and the plan achieves the required training proficiencies within a specified time frame.
Guidance and Time Management System
The planning process begins with the commander providing principal inputs: prioritized mission-essential tasks (METs), weapons qualification, collective live-fire tasks, and the commander’s assessment of the unit’s training proficiencies. In prioritizing training, the commander must consider the higher headquarters training directives and training requirements. This allows the commander to nest unit training and required proficiencies to support the higher headquarters’ priorities. In addition, the commander must consider the higher headquarters’ time management system such as the Green-Amber-Red cycle. Synchronizing unit training with a time management system allows commanders to prioritize who, what, and when to train. It allows commanders to protect resources and maximize available training time.
Training Events and the Crawl-Walk-Run Method
Training events are central to long-range planning. Commanders design and schedule training events to achieve required training proficiencies. They define training objectives for each event with the necessary tasks, conditions, standards, and the expected outcomes. Developing training events that incorporate multi-
echelon training allows for the simultaneous training of one or more echelons on complementary tasks. Employing this training technique where possible provides an efficient use of time and resources.
The crawl-walk-run method provides commanders with a process to sequence training events from relatively simple to increasingly more complex, while scheduling the events within a time management system. As an example, a unit may plan a gunnery skills training event during a red cycle, plan crew drills during an amber cycle, and then follow-up with a gunnery density during the green cycle. Alternatively, if time and space is available, a single training event can include all three components of the crawl-walk-run method. A company can conduct a class on a MET, such as conduct an attack. Next, each platoon conducts lane training on the associated Battle Tasks that support the prioritized MET. Finally, the entire company performs the MET as a synchronized team. This provides a progressive sequence of increasingly complex events that builds proficiency and confidence as training is executed.
Allocating Time and Resources
Units cannot achieve or sustain trained proficiency on every task simultaneously due to the limitations of time or the availability of training resources. It is the commander’s responsibility to prioritize training in conjunction with higher headquarters guidance, commander’s dialogue, and the unit’s mission requirements. Prioritized training addresses the proficiencies – MET, weapons qualification, and collective live-fire – the commander specifies. Achieving the desired proficiencies requires the commander to consider the allocation of training time and resources. The allocation of time should include planning and preparation such as building proficiencies from individual tasks to battle tasks to prioritized METs (including training supporting collective tasks, retraining, achieving task mastery, and recovery). In addition, the commander prioritizes training time within the context of the unit’s time management system.
At each succeeding echelon, commanders publish their long-range plans as annual training guidance (ATG) with a corresponding training calendar. Higher echelon staffs assist units with allocating the resources required to train. Publication of ATG allows units to begin requesting training resources that require a long lead time. These resources include ammunition, training areas and facilities, and support from external sources. Resources, such as weapons ranges, maneuver training areas, or the Close Combat Trainer, are often tied to and enable units to train in different environments. Unit leaders must also consider coordination for opposing forces and external evaluators based on their event planning and the time management system.
In developing the long-range training plan, the commander considers the environment in which to train. While live training is often the best environment, it is not always practical or possible. Commanders also consider virtual and constructive training. Virtual training such as the Call for Fire Trainer, Close Combat Tactical Trainer, or Virtual Battlespace 3 allow units to conduct multiple repetitions of prioritized tasks while reducing the cost in time and resources (gaming is a sub-component of the virtual training environment). The constructive training environment assists with exercising command and staff functions using fewer resources and with capabilities otherwise not available. In addition, commanders link training environments to efficiently train multiple units and conduct multi-echelon training while preserving valuable time and resources.
Long-range planning focuses on accomplishing prioritized training to attain required proficiencies in prioritized METs, weapons qualification, and collective live-fire tasks. Given limited time and resources, the commander must take into consideration a number of factors to determine who, what, where, when, and how to train the unit.
The Training Management Directorate at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas is the Army’s proponent for training management. TMD manages, develops, and sustains Training Management doctrine, processes, products, and systems to enable training and training management across the Army’s Institutional, Operational, and Self-development training domains. Fundamental products of TMD include the Army Training Network (ATN), the Digital Training Management System (DTMS), and the Combined Arms Training Strategies (CATS). For more information on TMD products and services, visit ATN at https://atn.army.mil and be sure to check out the new FM 7-0, Training at https://armypubs.army.mil/epubs/DR_pubs/DR_a/ARN32648-FM_7-0-000-WEB-1.pdf.