Managing Short-Range Training
Trained and ready Soldiers and leaders are at the heart of the Army’s mission. The training management cycle is the Army framework for prioritizing, planning and preparing, executing, and evaluating and assessing training. Publication of annual training guidance (ATG), with the long-range training calendar based on the commander’s training priorities, serves as the basis for resourcing and achieving the commander’s specified proficiencies in mission-essential tasks, weapons qualification, and collective live-fire tasks.
Mid-range planning enables units to review and refine annual training guidance and ensure resourcing for subordinate unit training. At the company level, commanders translate long-range plans and mid-range refinements into plans and actions to accomplish the training. The center of gravity of unit training management is the company-level training meeting held weekly. Company training meetings use the Training-Week (T-Week) framework to plan and prepare training events using The 8-Step Training Model.
Company Training Meetings
Company commanders conduct training meetings as part of the unit’s training battle rhythm, occurring the same time and day each week. Reserve Component (RC) units typically conduct training meetings monthly. Leaders discuss only training-related topics during the meeting to maintain focus. Successful training meetings include discussions on the following:
- Training proficiency overview
- Training conducted the previous week
- Company leader development planning for training events
- Mid-range planning and preparations
- Short-range planning and preparation
- Commander’s short-range training guidance
Training meetings address specific resources required and the status of requested resources to support upcoming training events. The commander determines participants at the meeting, but as a minimum should include the executive officer, first sergeant, platoon leaders and platoon sergeants, supply sergeant, supporting maintenance personnel, and other attached or supporting leaders as required. In addition, higher echelon or other key staff noncommissioned officers, such as a battalion master gunner, may attend to advise the commander on the status of specialized training.
Platoon Training Meetings
Platoon leaders conduct training meetings to coordinate the platoon’s training efforts and to prepare for the company training meeting. Platoon meetings have three objectives:
- Gather information from subordinate leaders on training proficiencies
- Discuss preparations for upcoming training
- Solicit ideas for future training requirements
Like the company training meeting, the platoon leader conducts the training meeting at the same time and day each week. This allows the platoon to verify short-range planning and prepare the platoon leader and platoon sergeant for the company training meeting. The meeting includes the platoon leader, platoon sergeant, squad leaders, and section, team, or crew leaders. The meeting addresses squad training situation reports.
A common planning technique units use to manage training events is the Training-Week (T-Week) framework discussed in FM 7-0. The T-Week framework aligns the weeks befire and after each training event to required actions or activities to plan and prepare. As an example, “Week T” is the week of execution for an event. “Week T-6” (T minus six) is six weeks prior to execution. “Week T+1” (T plus one) is the week after the event. Units develop and tailor their T-Week calendar based on unit and local installation requirements.
Company Training Schedules
Company training schedules are the culmination of long-, mid-, and short-range planning and preparation. The schedules provide actionable information by establishing priorities of work tied to specific timelines. The commander develops and signs the training schedule and the battalion commander approves it no later than six weeks prior to execution (T-6). Company training schedule approval establishes a contract between commanders to ensure qualified trainers conduct the training on time with the necessary resources. Approved training schedules provide predictability for Soldiers and leaders and provide time for trainer certification to ensure consistent quality execution.
Once approved, the commander posts training schedules in the company area and through the Digital Training Management System (DTMS). Posting the schedule through DTMS allows all Soldiers and leaders to access the schedule through their Digital Job Book using personal digital devices. Once approved, substantive changes should not occur; however, change is sometimes unavoidable. The company commander can make simple administrative changes to the schedule, such as adding references or changing the instructor. Substantive changes to tasks trained, dates, or cancellations require higher commander approval as shown in Figure 3 below.
Figure 3. Changes to approved training schedules are sometimes unavoidable. Commanders should accurately plan training and protect subordinate units from un-forecasted requirements.
The 8-Step Training Model
Planning and preparation for training events is an important component of managing short-range training. Training models are an effective technique for company and below units to plan and prepare for individual training events. The 8-Step Training Model is the Army’s preeminent training model. The logical framework of activities and actions allows units to use it as a basis for developing and tailoring the T-Week calendar to their specific needs.
Managing short-range training translates long- and mid-range planning into executable training events. Company training schedules inform subordinate leaders and Soldiers of future training activities, allowing them to research tasks and prepare. Incorporation of planning and preparation techniques such as the T-Week framework and The 8-Step Training Model provide a logical sequence of actions and events tied to timelines for units to manage and execute training to standard.
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.