CAMP SHELBY, Miss. -- Last year, more than 19,000 Reserve Component Soldiers, under the guidance and oversight of First Army Division East, mobilized, trained and deployed worldwide. Tracking and maintaining all the required Army training plus the required First Army mobilization training wasn't possible using the current software platform. Soldiers at the 177th Armored Brigade, however, didn't let that stand in their way.

The Digital Training Management System is the system of record for all training data that must be recorded and maintained in this system per Army regulation 350-1. In August 2011, Col. Dale Kuehl, the 177th AR Bde commander at Camp Shelby Joint Forces Training Center, directed his validation team to start using the Digital Training Management System, not only to track training, but as a validation tool as well.

"DTMS is a web base software application that implements the Army field manual training for full spectrum operations," said Capt. Yolanda McBride, validation team member. "With DTMS, the unit commander is able to plan, schedule and manage training for his unit."

"Guidance has been put out for units to use this system; however there are issues that did not allow units to validate using DTMS," said Capt. Bradley Hollingsworth, the officer in charge of the validation team.

"To fix these issues, the National Guard and Reserves developed the Mobilization Planning Data Viewer to allow units to validate," said Hollingsworth. "Units found that would not work at all mobilization sites."

Camp Shelby previously used a system based off the unit status tracker in the First Army Commanders Training Tool. When units arrive at Camp Shelby, leaders are required to bring a complete unit status tracker and a memo from the first general officer in their chain of command. This memo validates the unit's pre mobilization training, explained Hollingsworth.

"To follow Col. Kuehl's guidance we started working with the contractors who developed DTMS," said Hollingsworth. "We needed the system not only to track the training they are doing at Camp Shelby, we needed it to be able to track all training required by First Army and produce reports to keep commanders aware of where they stand."

"DTMS was not created necessarily to validate a unit for deployment," said McBride. "Our team is on the cutting edge of developing something from nothing."

The process is lengthy explained McBride, but his team is diligently working toward making it a reality.

"The 177th Armored Brigade is spearheading this effort by being the test bed, for all other mobilization training sites within First Army Division East," said McBride.

According to Hollingsworth the DTMS updates and the planned changes to the program will create one standard for turning in and tracking pre and post mobilization training data.

"When units receive a change in their mission or their mobilization training site, the training that they have already completed will follow them with DTMS," said Hollingsworth.

The validation process takes many man hours to complete.

"The unit brings all of their training documentation to the 177th Armored Brigade validation team who then scrubs the data and tells the unit what training they still need to do to meet their mission requirements," explained Lt. Col. Mathyn Williams the 177th Ar. Bde., executive officer.

Williams went on to say the validation cell certifies the unit has been validated in personnel, training, logistics, the directed mission essential tasks, and has met the readiness criteria from Forces Command and any other requirements based on their deployment mission.

Whether providing mobilization training or demobilization support, First Army leaders begin talking to and working with affective unit leaders well in advance of their arrival to ensure support is tailored to the unit, its mission, and its Soldiers.