This year, Basic Combat Training has gone through a transformation, according to Lt. Gen. Mark P. Hertling, deputy commanding general for Initial Military Training. Here are some of the changes you'll see in new Basic and One Station Unit Training courses, as of July 1, 2010.
1. BCT has become more challenging...not "softer."
BCT has been extended from nine weeks to 10. The Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills (WTBD) have been refined, and are now geared toward training fewer and more relevant tasks well. These tasks and battle drills correspond with the current operating environment, and we are using training that is geared toward the generation of Soldiers entering our Army during this time of war ... and those must be adapted to all the occupational specialties. (Find the WTBD on the, Army Training Network)
2. Rifle Marksmanship is more extensive, with more hours on the range, more bullets fired, and Soldiers using both basic and advanced techniques.
Soldiers now fire 500 rounds (750 for infantry) during basic, and also have to "certify" as part of the Combat Field Fire phase based on the new Rifle Marksmanship Strategy. While all BCT Soldiers fire "slick" (no equipment) through qualification tables (BRM) to allow for familiarity with the weapon, equipment is worn during the difficult and combat-related Advanced Rifle Marksmanship (ARM) period.
3. Combatives are more relevant...and tougher.
New instruction has been added which teaches Soldiers to fight from their feet, not wrestle and grip on the ground. Soldiers now attend 22 hours of instruction, which is double the previous requirement at BCT. Additional techniques - wearing full kit - have been added that is more relevant to what Soldiers might be asked to do in a combat situation.
4. Most up-to-date medical training in Tactical Combat Casualty Care (TCCC) and Combat Lifesaver (CLS).
Medical experts have taken combat lessons and updated the first aid training Soldiers receive. There's no longer an IV "stick. Doctors say it's counterproductive on the battlefield, and useless for treating heat injuries. New techniques for preventing heat injuries before they happen are now taught.
5. Physical Training is standardized, with scientifically proven techniques that improve conditioning and help prevent injuries.
Those returning from combat say "drop the long runs, the repetitive sets of pushups and sit-ups, and volleyball games; instead focus on training the right muscles and energy systems needed in the fight. Prepare your body for walking patrol with SAPI and equipment or hauling your injured buddy out of harm's way."
FM 21-20 has been replaced with TC 3.22-20, and that applies to Soldiers in Basic Combat Training and the entire Army (and, you can get this Training Circular as an app starting in August).
6. No more bayonet assault course against rubber tires...but lots more pugil and combatives against a thinking opponent.
The bayonet assault course has been a staple of bayonet training since World War I. But that's when bayonets were prevalent on the battlefield. The last time the U.S. had a bayonet assault was in 1951, and the rifle we now use in combat isn't meant for bayonet charges. Now, Soldiers will see more pugil drills in pits and on obstacle courses. This, combined with additional hours in combatives, will "warriorize" our Soldiers.
7. Expanded Values and Culture Training.
Soldiers will still receive instruction in the seven Army Values, but that instruction will focus on applying those values in combat, in garrison, and during off-duty time. That's to build a better Soldier...and a better citizen. And all Soldiers will now be issued a The Army Soldier's "Blue Book" (also available as an iPhone or Droid app) that links our present-day Soldier to his predecessors, and describes our professional requirements.
8. We're treating the Soldier as a "Tactical Athlete."
The Surgeon General of the Army will begin supplementing initial training units with physical therapists and athletic trainers to prevent injuries and ensure better conditioning. Additionally, we're instituting the "Soldier Fueling" initiative, to teach and enable Soldiers to develop a nutritional lifestyle to counter our societal challenges.
9. We've instituted Comprehensive Soldier Fitness.
Every Drill Sergeant has received Resiliency Training, and all new Soldiers take the Global Assessment Tool upon entering Basic. Additionally, all AIT Platoon Sergeants receive 10 days of resiliency training.
10. We're connected to Social Media, and on web pages.
IMT does fall under TRADOC, but no decision is made without Soldiers input. Visit our social media sites and tell us what you think. We'll listen.