U.S. Army Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment conduct medical evacuation training in a MH-60 Blackhawk at Lightning Academy, Hawaii, Jan. 19, 2023. This training is designed to timely and efficiently transport casualties to the nearest medical facility while ongoing casualty care.(U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Mariah Aguilar, 25th Infantry Division)
As a leader responsible for training soldiers, the challenge is, “how do I go about this?”
Bill Brosnan, the lead author of FM 7-0, Training, and Jimmy Davis, a previous FM 7-0 author and the current lead for the Unit Training Management (UTM) Mobile Training Team (MTT), provided insights on how FM 7-0 answers this question during a recent interview.
During the interview, both Training Management Directorate (TMD) subject matter experts discussed topics ranging from the basics of what FM 7-0 is and its purpose, to challenges applying doctrine and why leaders should read and implement the information it contains.
Brosnan described the doctrine as “the foundational thoughts and concepts that the Army has approved that says, ‘this is how you approach the challenge of training soldiers.’”
As a keystone doctrinal publication, the importance of FM 7-0 cannot be overstated. It provides a common language and framework for all members of the Army to operate within, ensuring that everyone is on the same page about how to conduct training. Read An Introduction to FM 7-0 for an overview of the doctrine.
Challenges Applying the Doctrine
Brosnan and Davis identified a few challenging realities for leaders. Among them are limited training resources, including time, and in some cases, “the lack of training guidance.” Overcoming these challenges requires leader preparation and a take-charge mentality to prioritize training and develop training guidance. Davis expanded on specific steps to best prepare units to achieve prioritized training objectives.
“At the very least, you know you have three proficiencies that must be included in training,” Davis said.
The three proficiencies include MET proficiency, weapons qualifications, and collective live-fire task proficiency. Recognizing these requirements informs a leader’s future training plans. For a deeper understanding, leaders look ahead to the next fiscal year and decide what training level they must achieve in each of the three training proficiencies, what resources are available, what is most important to accomplish, and how much training time is available.
With that list of prioritized training, leaders look back to previous training to determine where they are and develop a plan for future training. Identifying training priorities and developing an actionable plan gives leaders a course of action to present to their leadership during commander-to-commander dialogues. Prioritizing training and planning and preparing for training events are outlined in chapter 2 and chapter 3 of FM 7-0.
From a training management perspective, Brosnan said that a common concern of new doctrine is how it is implemented across the Army. Since FM 7-0’s publication in June 2021, TMD has taken steps to assist in implementing training doctrine across the Force. UTM MTT’s have conducted continuous unit and installation visits introducing the new doctrine to the operational and institutional Army.
Commanders and leaders in the operational force have primary responsibility for implementing new doctrine as well as coaching/teaching/mentoring their subordinates on its use. The UTM MTT’s have focused their efforts on providing FM 7-0 and UTM training sessions to facilitate deeper understanding of the doctrinal concepts as well as offering techniques for implementation.
In support of leaders learning and teaching training doctrine, TMD has made FM 7-0, as well as tutorials, videos, and lesson plans available on the Army Training Network (ATN). In addition, the MTT can answer questions and ‘train the trainer’ on the finer points of the information. The key to getting the Army on track with training management is to have leaders who understand the doctrine and who can coach/teach/mentor their subordinates through its implementation.
“If soldiers and leaders could begin implementing the principles of training doctrine, the ship would begin to right itself and the training of the force would become the most effective,” Davis said.
Why leaders should care
Knowing there are potential gaps in implementing doctrine, leaders can take the initiative and prepare themselves by using the FM 7-0 doctrine and updated materials available on ATN. Leaders must be knowledgeable and apply the FM 7-0 doctrine principles and procedures to maximize training proficiency. This doctrine is the primary manual for all Army training from planning and execution to evaluation and assessment.
By adhering to these guidelines, leaders can manage resources and personnel effectively, make informed decisions, and achieve mission readiness. Furthermore, implementing the doctrine can promote a culture of continuous improvement, ensuring that units are constantly evolving and adapting to meet new challenges.
The intention behind the publication of a doctrine of this nature is standardized training across all units. Access to and implementing a common language framework for the Army's approved training practices will ready units to meet the challenge of training for the mission ahead.
Embracing FM 7-0 doctrine is vital for leaders seeking to maximize their unit's mission readiness efficiently.
“FM 7-0 establishes a core reference point that all leaders and units understand about training,” Brosnan said. “Doctrine sets a standard of procedures for leaders to implement, so units don’t need to devise their own separate and distinct training procedures that don’t translate from unit to unit.”
FM 7-0 is an essential study for all leaders. It is available as a physical book, a digital PDF, and an audiobook, free to download or listen to online. TMD also publishes supplementary information and resources about concepts contained in FM 7-0 on their social media sites with references and direct links to more content available on ATN. In addition, ATN is specifically built and open to the Army so leaders have the most up-to-date and easily accessible tutorials, worksheets, slide decks, videos, etc., which supplement learning the doctrine to prepare commanders to lead soldiers through training.
Brosnan encourages ATN users to “navigate around and find the subject matter you are looking” to gather more information on. Brosnan and Davis indicated that FM 7-0 doctrine developers are motivated to create obvious linkages between information in FM 7-0 and where to find more information. Soldiers and leaders can contact TMD on Facebook, Twitter, DTMS or TMD and ask questions about FM 7-0. TMD subjects matter experts will respond to questions and can provide links to the supplementary subject matter available on ATN.
FM 7-0 provides a common language and framework for all members of the Army, ensuring that everyone has a common understanding of training and training management. Overall, FM 7-0 is a crucial document for the success of the Army. By following its principles and guidelines, Soldiers can work together effectively and achieve the training objectives.
All echelon leaders prioritize, plan and prepare, execute, and evaluate training. Leaders who apply the information within FM 7-0 can develop logically linked and nested training to achieve proficiency in prioritized training. Understanding and implementing the doctrine outlined in FM 7-0 is the responsibility of leaders throughout the Army.