“Long-range planning and preparation determine the training required to progress from the unit’s current state of training proficiency to the desired proficiency level. The unit commander conducts long-range planning to sequence training events with resources over time to determine who, what, when, and where to train.” – FM 7-0, Training
Trained and ready units are essential for the Army to compete, respond to crisis, win in conflict, and consolidate gains during large-scale ground combat in a multi-domain environment. Achieving trained and ready units requires long-range planning to enable progression to the desired proficiency level. Long-range planning sequences training events with resources over time to determine who, what, when, and where to train. It culminates in the publication of annual training guidance and a long-range training calendar. The Long-Range Planning Tool (LRPT) is a capability within the Digital Training Management System that assists commanders in the development of long-range training calendars. It provides a visual representation to assist commanders with the sequencing of training events required to achieve necessary mission-essential task proficiency levels. The user interface is simple, provides flexibility in developing training calendars, and integrates doctrinal concepts from FM 7-0, Training.
The first step in the Training Management Cycle is “prioritizing training.” Commanders and leaders prioritize training to optimize limited training time and resources. They conduct a task crosswalk at each echelon to ensure prioritized tasks, to include mission-essential tasks (MET), weapons qualification, and collective live-fire tasks, nest with and support the higher-level commander’s priorities. The LRPT provides users with the Unit Task List (UTL) associated with their unit’s Table of Organization and Equipment (TO&E). The UTL provides a list of all tasks a unit is designed to perform based on its TO&E. After identifying the tasks to train during the crosswalk, users select the tasks from the provided UTL. If the desired task is not present or the unit is preparing for a mission outside of its design, users have the option to “Search for Additional Tasks.”
The LRPT helps to simplify the search for training events to achieve required proficiency levels in mission-essential, weapons qualification, and collective live-fire tasks. After the user adds the prioritized tasks to their plan, the LRPT presents a list of recommended proponent-approved training events to train each task from the unit’s Combined Arms Training Strategy (CATS). Integrating CATS simplifies the search for training events without the requirement for expertise in CATS. The events for each task provide a progressive (crawl, walk, run) methodology that builds and sustains proficiency. Depending on the unit’s assessed proficiency level in a prioritized task, users select the appropriate events. This may include a class (crawl), a situational training exercise (walk), a field training exercise (run), or a combination of events. Users can then enter start dates for each event and add them to the calendar. The LRPT automatically adds the end date based on the recommended duration of the event. An additional benefit is the ability to schedule multiechelon training at the company level and below. Companies, platoons, and squads can select tasks using the same UTL and add training events to the company calendar.
Part of the flexibility of the LRPT is the ability to edit the calendar. Prior to obtaining calendar approval, users can add or delete events. If the user identifies a conflict on the calendar, they can adjust event dates using a simple drag-and-drop capability. Additionally, the LRPT allows users to create and save multiple plans. The benefit is the potential to create multiple courses of action to brief and gain the commander’s decision. Users can also modify calendars if the commander chooses to blend courses of action or to adjust the calendar based on quarterly, semi-annual, or annual training briefings to the higher commander. Once the commander two levels up approves the training plan and the training calendar during the training briefings, the unit publishes the plan and the calendar as annual training guidance.
Other refinements to the LRPT incorporate doctrinal concepts into the menus and sub-menus. The menu options now address specific aspects of the Training Management Cycle such as “Planning and Preparation” and “Execution.” In addition, the LRPT provides an improved user interface from past tools. It consolidates and reorganizes menu items and functionalities into more logical locations.
The LRPT simplifies the process of developing a long-range training calendar. It uses the unit’s UTL to allow units to select the prioritized tasks to train. The LRPT provides associated proponent-approved training events for each prioritized task which users can select to build their training calendar. It provides flexibility to quickly adjust the calendar and develop multiple courses of action for the commander’s decision. Finally, it incorporates doctrinal concepts from FM 7-0 and provides a logical interface to make it easier to use. In the end, the LRPT supports the Training Management Cycle and facilitates effective and efficient training to enable Army units to accomplish their missions.