The Combat Studies Institute has enhanced the well-known work titled “Wanat: Combat Action in Afghanistan, 2008” with the iBook format. This updated version incorporates digital 3-D terrain views, video from both U.S. and insurgent perspectives, infographics and other interactive features.
Archive for August, 2015
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Aug. 24, 2015) — Army leadership has recommended that field artillery military occupational specialties, or MOSs, 13B (cannon crewmember) and 13D (automated tactical data systems specialist) be open to women, the Army’s chief of field artillery said.
What is it?
Select-Train-Educate-Promote, also known as STEP, is a policy that represents the Army’s investment in Soldiers’ professional military education through a deliberate, continuous, and progressive process. Since 2008, the Army has required master sergeants to graduate from the Sergeants Major Course before attaining eligibility for promotion to sergeant major. Effective Jan. 1, 2016, the Army will expand this standard for promotion eligibility to the following NCO ranks by requiring all Soldiers to complete the appropriate level of formal military education before being determined fully qualified:
–Promotion to sergeant requires completion of the Basic (formerly Warrior) Leader Course.
–Promotion to staff sergeant requires completion of the Advanced Leader Course.
–Promotion to sergeant first class requires completion of the Senior Leader Course.
What has the Army done?
Since the 1980s, the Army has allowed “conditional promotions,” where Soldiers could get their stripes without having completed the corresponding professional military education (PME). Recently, the Army announced the establishment of the Noncommissioned Officer Professional Development System (NCOPDS); an organizational framework to develop the next generation of competent and committed NCOs. Within this framework, a Soldier’s stripes will not just be an indicator of rank or pay — it will be an indicator that each NCO has been appropriately trained as a leader.
What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The Army is committed to ensuring all Soldiers are provided full career opportunities to reach their highest potential and enhance overall Army readiness. This will be achieved in part by continuing to shape policies that support and sustain our highly capable and ready force.
Why is this important to the Army?
These requirements are enhancements to the Army’s talent management system, which ensures its NCOs are properly developed and prepared to fight and win in a complex world as adaptive, agile leaders and trusted professionals. Additionally, Army leadership endorses that education provides academically, intellectually, and personally challenging learning experiences. By linking structured self-development and the NCO Education System to subsequent promotion, the Army will better prepare NCOs for the complexities of today’s operational environment while reinforcing the benefits of a deliberate, continuous, sequential and progressive professional development strategy.
FORT BENNING, Ga., (Aug. 19, 2015) — More than 40 lieutenants demonstrated smart, fast, lethal and precise principles Aug.15 when they met with Maneuver Center of Excellence trainers at McAndrew’s Range to improve their marksmanship skills:
• SMART in that they used training resources to become better Soldiers on their own time.
• FAST in their comprehension and application of the trainers’ advice.
• LETHAL in their drive to become better marksmen.
• PRECISE in their collection of feedback from fellow lieutenants and qualified instructors.
The program included 10 shooters from the Armor Basic Officer Leader Course and 31 from the Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course.
Capt. Tim Blair, battalion operations officer for IBOLC, said the instructors came from the Army Marksmanship Unit on Fort Benning as well as cadre from IBOLC and ABOLC.
The collaboration between AMU and the lieutenants benefits all involved, Blair said.
For AMU, the event gives the Soldiers an audience to train, and for the lieutenants, it increases their marksmanship.
“Coming here gives me an opportunity (to train) with these subject-matter experts and get an insight on their knowledge and their proficiency of the weapon system and shooting,” said 2nd Lt. Aaron Smith, Infantry Basic Officer Leader Course student.
Smith worked on overcoming old trigger-pull habits he learned from shooting back home, outside of the Army, in New York. With the help of the AMU instructors, Smith learned the standard.
“You have got to ride the gun through recoil; I need you to follow your sites throughout the entire shot – if you see your sites before, during and after, it should be one solid picture,” McElroy said, advising lieutenants as they shot.
The day’s first session included short-range marksmanship, positional shooting, working off barricades and weapons handling. The lieutenants were put into groups for the second session, which allowed the instructors to get data at a distance.
The points of instruction included body position, holding the rifle and how it affects the shot, downrange feedback at different ranges and getting lieutenants conditioned with muscle memory.
Soldiers shot while kneeling from 100 yards; prone unsupported shooting from 200 yards; prone supported shooting from 300 yards and prone supported shooting from 400 yards.
“They’ll shoot one-hundred yards farther than they are really comfortable, but when they go back to 300 it is going to seem easy in comparison,” Blair said. “Part of it is just getting over that mental obstacle … once you get them past that it just becomes easy.”
Before going to the range, Soldiers were tested on doctrinal marksmanship information to determine eligibility, and then prioritized based on their basic rifle marksmanship scores. A total of 104 lieutenants completed the test and 44 were able to attend the first session of training at Krilling Range on Aug. 1.
The Aug. 1 event focused on a mix of BRM and short-range marksmanship through round-robin stations. They received instruction, practiced conducting grouping and zeroing drills, had a discussion on lethality, broke into three groups and began the round robin training with speed vs. accuracy drills, turning drills and barrier drills, Blair said. The first two stations focused on engaging targets from five to 25 meters. At the barrier station they learned the basics of barrier shooting and using hold-offs to engage targets out to 150 meters from a concealed position.
In the future, the training will be on the first and last Saturdays of the month. “It is a pretty awesome opportunity to come out here and get some extra training shooting with some of the most qualified instructors you could have,” said 2nd Lt. Jackson Panice, an IBOLC student. Panice wanted to work on keeping the same sight picture throughout and keeping good groupings while he was kneeling.
“You just always can get better,” he said.
Blair said the program is a win-win to make Soldiers better marksmen and train them to lead Soldiers.
“What’s great is these guys are young second lieutenants in the Infantry and Armor world and for their first job, they’ll go take control of either a tank platoon or a rifle platoon, and they’re going to have to train marksmanship. So, by seeing this, they get to see what world-class marksmanship instruction looks like and they’ll be able to take that to their units and in turn train their units,” Blair said.
REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. (Aug. 18, 2015) — Army ROTC cadets received guidance and mentorship from officers stationed here, Aug. 11, at the Alabama A&M Campus in Huntsville, Alabama.
The cadets, members of the Bulldog Battalion, broadened their perspectives on leadership, military service and deployments by participating in a forum facilitated by majors and captains attending command and general staff officer course classes.
“As stewards of our profession, we must remain grounded, know our subordinates and continue to build up and develop our team,” said Lt. Col. Andy Greer, an instructor about the visit. “One of the things we are trying to generate in our Army now is trust across the board. The ability to communicate, talk and collaborate is essential to success as an officer.”
Eleven officers representing 12 different military specialties helped the cadets understand various aspects of officership, to include the purpose and role functional areas to fulfill in today’s Army.
During the forum, Lt. Col. (Dr.) Darren Spearman, a gastroenterologist, informed the cadets about the Army’s Medical Service Corps, the various specialties in the corps and the career paths medical professionals can take while serving. Maj. Allin Whittle, a Bulldog Battalion alumnus, later spoke about opportunities within the Army’s logistics and ordinance branches.
Cadet Sheamus Kelly said if he has a question or encounters a new situation, he is confident he can approach a senior officer to help guide him to a solution. Kelly, born in Fort Rucker, Alabama, into a military Family, is a senior attending the Alabama A&M University ROTC program hoping to commission as a military intelligence officer next spring.
“The biggest thing I’ve been told is, when I get to my first unit, ask questions,” said Kelly, regarding his anticipated service. “It’s a big responsibility having a platoon that you are responsible for and it’s kind of scary, but at the same time, exciting.”
Redstone Arsenal is host to a satellite campus of the Army’s Command and General Staff College, headquartered on Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The officers’ education prepares them for service as field grade officers, responsible for planning operations, integrating functional systems and providing subject matter expertise to battlefield commanders.
The officers are scheduled to graduate Aug. 21, and continue service in the Army.
Photo Caption: Maj. Dan Rodriguez, center, an acquisitions officer, speaks to ROTC cadets attending Alabama A&M University about the Army’s various functional areas. U.S. Army photo by: Capt. Thomas Cieslak (USASOC)
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Aug. 21, 2015) — This fiscal year the Army will make its mission of 59,000 active-duty accessions, or young civilians, who enter basic combat training, Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Snow said.
However, there will be about a 2,000-person shortage in the Army Reserve accessions this fiscal year, with the mission being 17,300, said Snow, who serves as commander of U.S. Army Recruiting Command, or USAREC, on Fort Knox, Kentucky.
Aside from accessions, there is a shortage forecast of about a 7,000 in the Delayed Entry Program, or DEP this fiscal year. While a DEP shortage will not have an impact on this fiscal year’s accessions, it will make meeting the active-duty accession mission difficult in FY16, said Kelli Bland, USAREC public affairs chief.
“Even though we will make our mission this year, that does not mean this isn’t an incredibly challenging recruiting environment,” Snow said. Only 29 percent of Americans, ages 17 through 24, are even eligible to serve in the Army. “This, coupled with the lower unemployment rates, have made it more difficult for the Army to find young people who are both eligible to serve and who have a desire to serve.”
Snow said that many young people think they must make a choice between going to college or joining the Army. But Snow said there’s a real opportunity to do both. Besides career training, the Army provides monetary benefits for higher education.
Beyond the benefits, he said, the Army provides a chance to serve the nation.
Snow also said there is a perception that youth today are less committed to service, but he said that he doesn’t believe that is true.
“That’s not consistent with my personal observations,” he said. “Many do care, and they want to join the profession that makes a difference.”
As the economy improves, Snow said, it can create the impression that the Army fills its ranks with those civilians who have failed to find a job. But that too, he said, is a fallacy.
“I believe we’re competing for quality,” he said. “I want to change the dialog so people are not viewing the Army as a last resort, but as a first choice.”
Recruiters are doing a tremendous job, Snow said. But unfortunately, about 50 percent of high schools are not providing access to those recruiters. This limits the amount of information students are receiving about the Army. “I’d like to explore ways to increase access,” he said.
Bland said within the 71 percent of youth ineligible to join the Army, the three most common disqualifiers are obesity, medical issues, and drug use. Other disqualifiers include inadequate education, mental health challenges, and a criminal history.
Of the 29 percent of youth, who qualify for service, only one in four have a strong desire to serve, she said.
Many of those have other career or educational plans, she said. Others have negative perceptions about the military, as well as a lack of understanding about the educational and leadership opportunities the Army offers.
“Our target market increasingly perceives risks to joining the Army and, at the same time, they are less persuaded by the educational, career and lifestyle benefits of the Army,” she said.
For several years now, the pool of youth eligible to join the Army has remained steady at about 29 percent. But if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predictions for a 33 percent increase in obesity throughout the next 15 years are correct, Bland said, the Army will see the pool of eligible applicants continue to decline.
Bland said she thinks it’s important for young people and their parents to know the benefits of service, including valuable career training; tuition assistance while on active duty or in the Reserve; and financial assistance to pay back qualifying student loans.
An additional benefit of service includes the GI Bill, which includes expanded educational benefits, medical and dental care, and eligibility for the Thrift Savings Plan – which is similar to a 401(k).
KEEPING STANDARDS HIGH
Despite these challenges, the Army has continued to maintain high standards for those allowed to enter service, she said.
The Army’s FY15 “quality indicators” continue to exceed the Department of Defense requirements for the percentage of recruits who have a high school diploma. Additionally, she said, the Army continues to recruit a higher percentage of high-scorers on the Armed Forces Qualification Test – a subset of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery – than what the DOD requires.
In FY15, Bland said, the Army expects that 98 percent of its recruits will have a high school diploma. The DOD requires that only 90 percent have diplomas.
Additionally, she said, although the DOD allows a maximum of 4 percent of applicants who score in category IV, the second lowest category on the AFQT, Recruiting Command predicts only .7 percent will fall into this category for FY15. “This is another positive indicator of the high-quality recruits we are enlisting this year,” Bland said.
The categories on the Armed Forces Qualification Test relate to arithmetic reasoning, word knowledge, paragraph comprehension and mathematics knowledge.
Photo Caption: Staff Sgt. Roger L. Whaley speaks with Phillip McDonald about the possibility of becoming a journalist or X-ray technician for the Army at the U.S. Army Recruiting Station in Radcliff, Ky. U.S. Army photo by: Sgt. Carl N. Hudson