Training fact sheet: Platoon Leader's Guide to Training Management - update

By Paul Crenshaw, Training Management Directorate, Combined Arms Center TrainingFebruary 2, 2024

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Platoons must be well led and trained to dominate the fight to win on first contact. To that end, small unit leaders must train their units and Soldiers effectively through challenging, standards-based, performance-oriented training. Training plans must account for the limitations of time and resources. Even with these constraints, leaders strive to make training innovative, challenging, and effective. The ultimate goal of platoon training is to develop operationally proficient platoons.

Recently, the Training Management Directorate updated the March 2023 training management guide “Platoon Level Training Management” to better reflect platoon level training. Titled “Platoon Leader’s Guide to Training Management,” this updated guide provides leaders at platoon and below with effective training techniques and procedures that compliment Field Manual 7-0 Training and enable the processes that help achieve training proficiency.

The Army’s common framework for training, the Training Management Cycle, provides leaders across the Army a common understanding and methodology to prepare Soldiers and units for operations. The procedures platoons follow within the Training Management Cycle is the focus of this leader’s guide and represents ‘a way’ to conduct platoon training management. While it may not be the only way, it does represent a logical series of techniques based on FM 7-0.

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Figure 1: Platoon leaders support the commander in driving the Training Management Cycle by prioritizing training in the platoon and providing feedback.

FM 7-0’s key concepts promote top-down planning. Prioritizing training to efficiently use limited time and resources, nesting training vertically between echelons to achieve the commander’s desired proficiencies, and developing an FY long-range training plan to drive training and obtain resourcing, are all pushed down from higher to lower echelons.

Army doctrine also recognizes that units conduct most of their training at the platoon level and below. The “Platoon Leader’s Guide to Training Management” refines these training management concepts to support leaders by providing techniques and procedures to achieve training proficiency at the platoon and below level in support of the commander’s stated priorities. Platoon training proficiency enables mission essential task proficiency at the company and battalion levels.

Chapter one of the guide focuses on battle tasks. A battle task is a platoon or lower echelon collective task crucial to the successful accomplishment of a company, battery, or troop mission-essential task. As such, battle tasks are the building blocks of platoon level training, and therefore emphasized in the updated guide.

To identify platoon and below battle tasks, leaders conduct a task crosswalk from higher echelon to lower:

  • Platoon battle tasks are derived from a company mission essential task list.
  • Section battle tasks are derived from platoon battle tasks.
  • Squad battle tasks are derived from section battle tasks.
  • Crew/team battle tasks are derived from squad battle tasks.

In the updated guide, the Conduct a Task Crosswalk section integrates appendices from the previous version into the text, so examples are close at hand. Other examples include battle task scenarios, so Soldiers can see training applications.

Chapter two modifies the 8-Step Training Model (FM 7-0, para 3-21) so it more closely meets platoon-level requirements. While the 8-Step Training Model is an excellent checklist to ensure major training event planning actions are complete, it doesn’t provide the level of detail necessary to fully plan and prepare small unit training events. This chapter provides a more complete set of sequential actions and activities leaders can follow at the platoon level:

  1. Determine event requirements.
  2. Dialogue with the commander.
  3. Develop an event concept.
  4. Obtain commander approval.
  5. Issue orders.
  6. Monitor pre-execution checks.
  7. Execute (train, evaluate, recover).
  8. Provide feedback to the commander.
  9. Record and share results.

Each of the nine steps includes information designed specifically for the platoon level. For example, under “Develop an Event Concept,” which is step three of Platoon Training Event Planning, readers receive further instructions on how to recon training sites, develop a training course of action, or determine/request required resources.

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Figure 2: Leaders start at the desired end state of the training event and then backward plan to determine what to train and how to train, to create a training event concept.

All steps of the updated nine-point model offer similar support and examples. Step nine, Record and Share Results, also directs the reader to Army Training Network’s (ATN) online training records such as Digital Job Book, Small Unit Leader Tool, battle roster updates, certification records, after action review reports, and Digital Training Management System (DTMS).

Chapters three and four cover planning and evaluation at the platoon level. Chapter three explains platoon training meetings, addressing organization and responsibilities, while Chapter four focuses on evaluating training, specifically after action reviews and training and evaluation outlines (T&EOs), which provide essential information to train and evaluate individual and collective task proficiency. Examples include a task performance summary block, completed T&EOs, and proponent and echelon codes, as well as updated links to ATN.

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Figure 3*: Completed training and evaluation outlines provide an important history of task performance and are maintained for future reference. They are also an important part of platoon feedback to the commander to assess battle task proficiency. *Note: T- and P- (T minus and P minus) collective task proficiency ratings have been removed per FM 7-0. The effort to adjust all T&EO task criteria matrices and task performance summary blocks to reflect this change is on-going. As an interim measure, trainers, evaluators, and commanders treat T- ratings as T, and P- ratings as P.

Chapter five addresses lane training, which is a company and below training technique. Requiring fewer resources and facilities, lane training provides a mechanism to focus training on limited tasks in a controlled environment, with tasks repeated over and over, until proficiency is achieved. Lane training can be as simple as training a single individual task, or as complex as training several collective tasks using a tactical scenario.

The focus of lane training is on small-unit task proficiency. The primary advantages of lane training are:

  • It requires limited space to execute tasks.
  • The training environment is unit controlled.
  • Tasks are based on unit proficiency requirements and training objectives.
  • Feedback of performance is immediate.

Lane training enables leaders to:

  • Focus training on specific training objectives.
  • Train similar units—simultaneously or sequentially—using mission-related scenarios.
  • Test, standardize, and train unit tactics, techniques, and procedures.
  • Support initial training and retraining.
  • Vary training conditions to the training level of the unit and leaders.
  • Achieve proficiency when resources and time are limited (including land, facilities, personnel, and equipment).
  • Prepare for internal and external evaluations.
  • Conduct unit competitions.

There are five basic activities that occur in the conduct of a lane. These are executed sequentially and consist of assembly, rehearsal, execution, AAR, and retraining. These activities are tailored to the platoon’s particular training requirements and training objectives, much like the updated guide. Chapter five also directs the reader to FM 7-0, Appendix G, the primary reference for lane training, which provides expanded how-to details.

Besides narrowing each chapter’s focus to the platoon level, there are new features in the updated guide. For example: Chapter one, Battle Tasks, provides training examples such as the platoon-level MET “Conduct an Attack,” while Chapters three and four focus on preparation and review. Chapter five, Lane Training, is all new to the guide, and addresses lane training as a time and resource effective repeatable task. Appendices have been integrated into the chapters, providing easier accessibility, and Chapter six updates TMD’s online training support with links to the Army Training Management System, ATN (including Digital Job Book and Small Unit Leader Tool), Combined Arms Training Strategies, and DTMS, which can help platoon leaders plan, execute, and review modes of training.

Training is an essential component of preparing our Army to fight and win. Most collective training in units takes place at the platoon level and below. Leaders must understand their role and how to manage training so that it is well-planned, resourced, executed, and realistic. The “Platoon Leader’s Guide to Training Management” 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.