Soldiers assigned to Hard Rock Company, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), conduct a Platoon Live Fire Exercise on Sept 27, 2022, at Cincu Training Area, Romania. 101st units will support V Corps mission to reinforce NATO’s eastern flank and engage in multinational exercises with partners across the European continent to reassure our Nations allies. (U.S. Army photos by 2nd Lt. Stacey Shaw, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, Unit Public Affairs Representative.)
The publication of Field Manual (FM) 7-0, Training, in June 2021 re-introduced the Training Management Cycle as the framework to provide simple and direct guidance to the Force in support of training units to fight and win. Among FM 7-0’s key concepts are prioritizing training to efficiently use limited time and resources; nesting training vertically between echelons to achieve the commander’s desired proficiencies; and developing a fiscal year (FY) long-range training plan (LRTP) resulting in Annual Training Guidance (ATG) to drive training and obtain resourcing. These concepts promote top-down training but also recognize that units conduct most of their training at the platoon level and below. The Platoon Level Training Management Handbook expands on these concepts to support leaders at the platoon and below by providing techniques and procedures to enable execution of the Army’s training doctrine.
The centrality of the Training Management Cycle in FM 7-0 is carried over into the Handbook. The six chapters of the Handbook address each step in the cycle: prioritizing training; long-range, mid-range, and short-range planning and preparation; executing training; and evaluating training. Leaders at all levels in a platoon, from the platoon leader and platoon sergeant to the team leader, play an important role in managing training. They must understand their role and how it fits within the company and battalion ATG. At the same time, they must understand how to conduct the training management cycle to ensure their unit addresses training requirements and meets the proficiencies the commander establishes.
As a general construct, each chapter of the Handbook introduces a step in the Training Management Cycle and proceeds to explain how the guidance at the higher-level links to the platoon. It then introduces techniques that explain how platoon leadership can execute the step or how it contributes to the development of the company training plan. As an example, Chapter 1, Prioritizing Training, illustrates how the platoon identifies battle tasks to support the company commander’s prioritized mission-essential tasks (METs). Identification and prioritization of battle tasks continues at the section and squad level. In addition, the platoon identifies and prioritizes individual tasks that support battle tasks. The four appendices offer additional details and techniques by introducing two training models for planning and preparing training events, showing how to conduct a task crosswalk and a platoon training meeting, and providing links to online training resources.
Some chapters introduce new techniques or reinforce existing concepts from FM 7-0. Chapter 2, Long-Range Planning and Preparation, introduces a revised 8-Step Training Model as a technique for small units to plan and prepare single training events. Chapter 5 reinforces the roles leaders have in training execution. It focuses on what all leaders in the platoon must do to ensure effective and efficient training.
Some of the techniques provided in the Platoon Level Training Management Handbook include:
· How to identify platoon and below battle tasks
· How to develop platoon input to the company LRTP
· How to plan and prepare platoon training events
· How to finalize short-range planning
· Considerations for conducting post-execution recovery
· Understanding and using Training and Evaluation Outlines (T&EOs)
· How to conduct a task crosswalk
· How to conduct a platoon training meeting
As leaders read and utilize the techniques in this Handbook, they should also understand some important takeaways. First, platoon level leaders gain significant understanding of the commander's vision and intent for training when they collaborate with their commanders in the development of the LRTP. Additionally, platoon leaders can develop training events in parallel with the company, coordinate resources in support of the plan, and gain buy-in from junior leaders. Contributing to the company LRTP also enables a predictable schedule that enhances Soldier trust and confidence in their leaders. Second, time and resources are limited. Prioritizing training on the most important individual and collective tasks allows leaders to garner the necessary resources and focus their efforts. Third, active participation throughout the Training Management Cycle results in a clearer and more detailed understanding of the unit’s proficiency in the prioritized tasks, which is critical for the commander’s assessment of training proficiency. Finally, using the Handbook and the resources identified in Appendix D will improve platoon leadership’s understanding and ability to conduct training management.
Training is an essential component of preparing our Army to fight and win. Most of the training in units, both individual and collective, takes place at the platoon level and below. As such, leaders at the platoon level and below must understand their role and how to manage training so that it is well-planned, resourced, executed, and realistic. The Platoon Level Training Management Handbook provides an additional resource for leaders to understand training management at their level, develop themselves for future roles, and become proficient in this critical skill in support of their unit.