U.S. Soldiers assigned to 1st Squadron, 2nd Cavalry Regiment execute platoon-level maneuver live fire exercises in the Grafenwoehr Training Area April 24-26, 2023. 2CR provides V Corps with a lethal and agile force capable of rapid deployment throughout the European theater in order to assure allies, deter adversaries, and when ordered, defend the NATO alliance. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Orion Magnuson)
Long-range planning and preparation activities determine a unit’s required training to progress from their current state of training proficiency to the desired training proficiency level. Commanders visualize the unit’s training end state and sequence training with resources over time to describe the who, what, when, and where to train. These activities result in the publication of annual training guidance (ATG) months or even years before a given year of training execution begins.
Given the time between ATG publication and training execution, commanders must continually assess the situation to determine how to achieve the desired end state. This includes recent training conducted, current conditions such as personnel turnover and resources, and changes to their mission. The quarterly training guidance (QTG) is the commander’s tool to refine or modify the unit’s ATG to address changes in the training situation, conditions, or mission.
Quarterly training guidance
The QTG is similar to the ATG but focused on a quarter of training instead of a year. The commander uses the QTG to adjust the direction and focus of the prior guidance if necessary. As with the ATG, the format of the QTG is at the discretion of the commander and may take differing forms in different commands.
Army Field Manual 7-0, Training clearly articulates the QTG is a refinement to the ATG as required (FM 7-0 Table 3-1). Several variables outside the control of the commander, such as international unrest with national implications, may refocus the higher commander’s training guidance. Subordinate commander’s training guidance would need to adjust to nest within the new mission and training guidance. Commander to commander dialogues help to identify adjustment decisions.
Each training event in a given quarter is designed to address objectives within the commander’s long-range training plan. The scheduled training events typically anticipate the unit operating at a specified proficiency level going into the training. Commanders and staffs may encounter a situation in which the commander’s assessment of the unit proficiency level precludes execution of a scheduled event at the desired level of complexity. Training area availability, range availability, ammunition, personnel status, equipment status, training evaluations, and the commander’s assessments are a few things which could impact the decision to execute the training as planned or to modify the long-range training plan.
When a commander identifies an issue with a training plan, they discuss the problem with the higher commander to work out potential mitigation actions which can preserve the plan. If the current plan is no longer feasible, the commander modifies the training plan to account for the new conditions or missions and briefs the commander two levels up on the reason for the change and on the new pathway to proficiency. When the change is approved, the commander publishes new guidance to the unit as QTG.
If the commander is satisfied with the direction and progress of the long-range training plan, including how it nests with the higher commander’s training guidance, there is very little need to publish the QTG.
Unit leaders and planners attend resourcing conferences to review, coordinate, and secure major resources such as ranges, training areas, and simulators for future training. Resourcing conferences begin at the Army level with the Army Synchronization and Resourcing Conference (ASRC). Informed by the Army’s Regionally Aligned Readiness and Modernization Model (ReARMM) the ASRC synchronizes Army activities across four lines of effort: operational requirements, training and exercises, modernization, and other Army service requirements.
During the conference, units can deconflict potential resourcing issues and identify opportunities to share resources where possible. Decisions on these Army lines of effort inform the training plans and guidance of subordinate commands and establish priorities for resourcing subordinate unit training. Installations typically host resourcing conferences on a quarterly basis which allows commanders and installation staff to confirm resource requirements for the next quarter and project resource requirements across future quarters. Commanders may need to reconsider training priorities if resources are not available. Changes to resources could require changes to the ATG which are then articulated in the QTG.
The Training Management Directorate at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. is working on a linkage between the Army Synchronization Tool/Army Unit Calendar (AST/AUC) and the Digital Training Management System (DTMS) to inject Army level requirements and training events into the long-range planning tool for affected units. The AST/AUC to DTMS link enables FM 7-0 based training planning processes by providing ReARMM top-down, events data to inform unit bottom-up training plan refinement through DTMS’ automated calendar. Commanders can confirm mission and training requirements as needed to plan and prepare for the future training and see the Army level resources allocated against their needs.
Quarterly training briefing
The Quarterly Training Briefing (QTB) is a unit’s quarterly review of ATG progress. The QTB provides periodic updates of subordinate unit training progress to the commander two levels above (senior commander). The QTB is designed to discuss past, present, and future training expectations and to approve any necessary modifications to the ATG. The QTB provides the senior commander a snapshot of unit training status and an outline of the subordinate commander’s anticipated actions to train the unit to the directed proficiency levels. FM 7-0 suggests the key topics a commander should consider including in the briefing (FM 7-0, 3-6). The suggested items are similar to the considerations for the long-range training plan and the QTB is similar to the Annual Training Brief. At the QTB, the senior commander is informed on the unit’s:
- Current training proficiency assessment.
- Mission essential task prioritization, weapons qualification guidance, and collective live-fire requirements.
- The quarterly training plan to ensure it:
- Is nested with the higher commander’s training plan.
- Is resourced appropriately.
- Can accomplish the subordinate unit’s progression to the directed proficiency level.
- Lower priority tasks that will not be trained until a later date.
The QTB results in a training contract or agreement between the senior commander and subordinate commander. The senior commander agrees to provide resources and protect the unit’s training time while the subordinate commander agrees to execute the approved training to standard.
Should you publish quarterly training guidance?
The QTG is the commander’s tool to refine or modify the unit’s ATG. The ATG is published months or even years before training execution begins and may not accurately reflect the current situation, conditions, or mission focus of the unit. Publishing the QTG allows the commander to reinforce, refine, or redirect the efforts of the unit to nest with the training guidance of the senior command and meet the needs of the Army. Commanders who review past training, consider current conditions, project future training expectations, and make adjustment decisions to redirect their training effort toward the desired training end state, can communicate this through their quarterly training guidance.
Visit the Army Training Network to learn more on mid-range planning.