FORT EUSTIS, Va. — Based on the initial success of the Future Soldier Preparatory Course pilot at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, the Army will expand the course in January 2023 to help increase the quality of individuals entering basic training and provide additional opportunities to serve in our all-volunteer force.
The pilot program stood up in August 2022 to help America’s youth overcome academic and physical fitness barriers to service and meet or exceed the Army’s accession standards.
A total of 3,206 students have attended the course as of the end of 2022, of which 2,965 students have already graduated and are continuing to basic combat training.
In the academic track of the course, 95% of students increased at least one test category within their first two attempts, increasing their test score by an average of 17 points. In the fitness track, 87% of students graduated within their first three weeks of the course, with an average weekly body fat loss of 1%.
“The initial results of the Future Soldier Preparatory Course have been very encouraging and demonstrate the Army’s unparalleled ability to unlock a person’s true potential,” said Gen. Gary Brito, the commanding general for U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command. “These programs are providing recruits an opportunity to serve and are preparing them not just for the rigors of basic training, but for a life through Army service.”
Based on the initial success of the pilot, the Army will add two additional companies at Fort Jackson for recruits who score between 21-30 on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test. Fort Jackson will also still host all recruits who attend the fitness track of the Future Soldier Preparatory Course. These recruits will have up to 90 days to meet the Army’s desired accession standards.
Additionally, recruits who score between 31-49 on the ASVAB will now be able to volunteer to attend the academic track of the course at Fort Benning, Georiga. These volunteers will attend the course for up to 30 days and have one opportunity to score into a higher test category.
“The model developed at Fort Jackson has been overwhelmingly successful at preparing and building quality recruits by tapping into their unrealized potential,” said Maj. Gen. Curtis Buzzard, Fort Benning commanding general. “We are excited to bring the Future Soldier Preparatory Course to Fort Benning and increase the opportunity to serve in our Army without sacrificing the quality needed across the force.”
Recruits in this new academic track who improve at least one test category will renegotiate their contract and receive the incentives offered in their new test category. If they qualify for a priority or shortage military occupational specialty, they will be offered the opportunity to select the new MOS based on the needs of the Army.
Recruits in this new academic track who do not improve at least one test category will ship to basic training based on their original contract.
A Training and Doctrine Command proof of concept earlier this year showed 87% of volunteers with an ASVAB score between 31-49 increased at least one test category after a single test, increasing their test scores by an average of 15 points. These results informed the decision to give volunteers attending this new academic track at Fort Benning one opportunity to raise their ASVAB scores.
The Army will carefully monitor the Future Soldier Preparatory Course expansion and determine if it should be implemented at other Army Training Centers in the future.
“We will continue to assess and scale the Future Soldier Preparatory Course to ensure we are successfully preparing and building quality recruits who have the desire and ability to meet our standards and serve honorably in our all-volunteer force,” said Brito. “The Army will not sacrifice quality for quantity. We are confident given the right instruction and support, these recruits will be able to perform successfully and meet or exceed the standards expected of every Soldier.”