Training fact sheet: Training management - A simplified discussion

By Training Management Directorate, Combined Arms Center TrainingJune 4, 2024

Photo illustration created from original images by Capt. Erick Schneider-Cuevas, 75th Field Artillery Brigade and Spc. Trevares Johnson, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division.
Photo illustration created from original images by Capt. Erick Schneider-Cuevas, 75th Field Artillery Brigade and Spc. Trevares Johnson, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division. (Photo Credit: Capt. Erick Schneider-Cuevas, 75th Field Artillery Brigade and Spc. Trevares Johnson, 2nd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division.) VIEW ORIGINAL

The Army released Army Doctrinal Publication (ADP) 7-0, Training, on April 29, 2024. ADP 7-0 establishes the fundamental principles of training and introduces training processes that are further expanded on in Field Manual (FM) 7-0. Together, ADP 7-0 and FM 7-0 give Army leaders a common framework to train Soldiers and units effectively for operational employment.

Training management is the art and science used to determine what needs to be done over and over to achieve the required competency or skill in the desired function, and how well the formation is progressing toward the desired end state. Training management may be complicated, but when viewed from a single echelon, the training management process is not complex in practice.

Training Management

Training management is the process by which leaders or units prioritize, plan and prepare, execute, evaluate and assess training. By nature, training management is cyclical. Commanders consider the evaluation of tasks and their assessment of task proficiency in the assessment of the unit, leading to a new round of planning and preparation, execution, evaluation and assessment. The Army depicts this process as the Training Management Cycle.

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
The Training Management Cycle from FM 7-0 Training is the basis of Army Training Management

As a stand-alone process, the Training Management Cycle is simple.

  • Identify tasks you need to train to support the mission or required capability
  • Plan and prepare for the training
  • Execute the training you have planned
  • Determine how well you performed the task (evaluate)
  • Determine if the training achieved the anticipated outcome (assess)

Deciding on the tasks to train is essential in prioritizing training since units cannot train everything all the time. The commander makes those decisions for the unit, but not in isolation. There is also a senior commander setting priorities and making decisions for the higher echelon. The connection between training decisions at each echelon adds complexity to the process, but the complexity can be easily addressed. Simply put, the subordinate commander’s training priorities must account for and support the higher commander’s training priorities.

The nesting of training priorities across echelons begins as a top-down planning action. For example, the brigade commander identifies the prioritized mission essential tasks (METs) and the proficiency level to achieve in the brigade’s annual training guidance. Battalion commanders identify their MET that supports the execution of the brigade’s prioritized MET in the battalion training guidance. The company level commanders identify the MET that supports the execution of their battalion commander’s prioritized MET.

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Task Crosswalk links task priorities from individual to collective.

The higher commander establishes the training priorities for his echelon. The higher commander also approves the subordinate commanders’ training priorities to ensure they support the higher echelon’s training focus. Commanders ensure the nesting of priorities through commander-to-commander dialogue. Formal commander-to-commander dialogues on training include annual and quarterly training briefings and training meetings. Informal dialogues can occur whenever commanders discuss training, such as during training execution.

Below the company level, the company commander identifies collective and individual tasks which support execution of the company’s prioritized MET. The crosswalk of tasks, when worked through to completion, provides the company commander a list of prioritized individual and collective tasks which directly support execution of the company prioritized MET as well as the higher echelon’s prioritized MET.

ADP 7-0 and FM 7-0 define these tasks as battle tasks - platoon or lower echelon collective tasks that are critical to the successful execution of the company MET. Additional training priorities are weapons qualification and collective live-fire tasks. Both of these additional priorities directly support a unit’s capability to perform their MET, execute the mission, and survive on the battlefield.

Plan and Prepare

Commanders plan and prepare training on the prioritized MET to achieve the proficiency level directed by the higher commander. The long-range training plan is developed with minimal detail and incorporates the training events of the higher headquarters. Keeping the focus on the company level, the company long-range plan addresses some of the “what, when, and how” questions concerning the company’s actions to achieve the higher echelon’s training priorities. The company commander presents the long-range plan for approval to the commander two-levels up at the annual training briefing. A company’s long-range training plan can be considered a “bottom-up” refinement of the brigade’s training plan. It adds specificity to how the brigade will achieve training proficiency over the year. As such, approval by the commander two levels up, in this example the brigade commander, is a logical step. Once approved, the training plan is finalized as training guidance. At the company level, publication of the company annual training guidance four months prior to the start of the fiscal year provides the company commander three to four months to conduct mid-range and short-range planning. In this four-month (16 week) window, commanders begin detailed planning and preparation for the training events the unit will execute in the first quarter. Commanders also coordinate and validate the resources required to complete the training.

Commanders continue detailed planning for future training events, focusing on those that occur first or are more resource intensive and spend less planning time on events that occur further in the future. As time passes, the future events become the planning focus. Quarterly training briefings provide a formal opportunity for the commander to discuss the training plan with the higher commander, validate training focus and priorities across echelons, and to demonstrate training progression toward the directed proficiency levels.

Weekly training meetings provide the venue in which the commander discusses training previously conducted, planning and coordination for upcoming events, and short-range training guidance. Training meetings are the heart of short-range training planning. Working with subordinate leaders, company commanders synchronize the activities of their platoon and squad training to create favorable conditions in which to conduct successful company-level collective training. Routine dialogue between leaders facilitates understanding across all echelons. The dialogue helps ensure that training conducted at lower echelons supports the higher commander’s priorities. Planning is “finalized” with the publication of the training schedule six weeks prior to training execution; however, preparation and coordination activities continue up to, and sometime throughout, execution.

Execution, Evaluation, Assessment

“Execution is the implementation of long-range training guidance.” Commanders orient training on performance against established standards found in proponent publications, such as training and evaluation outlines (T&EOs). Execution of tasks during training events is also the culmination of a cycle of short-range planning and preparation but not the culmination of training management for those events.

“All training is evaluated.” The unit uses internal or external evaluators to evaluate individual and collective tasks performed during execution. Evaluation of some tasks can also occur during the planning and preparation phases for the training event as well. The T&EO will identify the steps and substeps of the task, in addition to when evaluation occurs. Evaluators use T&EOs to record task performance against the known standard.

“Only commanders assess training.” Assessment of unit training proficiency is a commander’s prerogative. The commander determines whether the unit achieved the training proficiency level anticipated. Commanders rely heavily upon evaluation results when assessing proficiency. In theory, training proficiency is built through successful repetition of tasks. However, commanders must take a holistic view of feedback when assessing training.

“A holistic view ensures that the final assessment is not based on one or a few sources of feedback but is a balanced consideration of all available information,” FM 7-0.

Factors such as, personnel turn-over after training, or availability of personnel during training, may require the commander to assess the unit at a lower proficiency. Commanders consider multiple factors when assessing training.

(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL
Commander’s assessments are based upon inputs beyond simple task evaluations.

The commander uses all the information available to render a training proficiency assessment of trained, practiced or untrained, T, P and U respectively. The commander’s assessment informs planning for future training events on areas that require improvement or sustainment.

The Training Management Directorate at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. is the functional proponent for training management and provides both training management training and enablers to the force. To support units with training and education, mobile training teams (MTT) travel to unit locations to provide education on training management as well as assistance to units developing annual training plans. The MTT is also available to answer questions at any time and to provide continued support after a visit.

Training management may be complicated, but it doesn’t have to be complex. Commanders foster sound training management by identifying and communicating training priorities and ensuring the priorities are nested with the priorities of their higher echelon. From there, commanders solve the training puzzle by planning and preparing training events, executing training to standard, evaluating and assessing the training to achieve the directed proficiency level in the prioritized task.

Visit the Interactive Training Doctrine page on Army Training Network to learn more about training management. You will find links to training doctrine, contact information to schedule unit training, tutorials, and podcasts on training management.