Basic Combat Training senior leaders and noncommissioned officers gathered on Fort Jackson Oct. 31 — Nov. 3 for the Center of Initial Military Training BCT Program of Instruction Workshop to discuss ways to improve how to improve training.
Maj. Gen. Malcolm Frost, CIMT commander, who is charged with policy oversight for all initial military training including BCT and Advanced Individual Training for both officers and enlisted, said the workshop was a chance to make a lasting impact on how the Army trains it troops.
“This is a tremendous opportunity,” he said to Soldiers from Fort Jackson, Fort Benning, Georgia; Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri; and Fort Sill, Oklahoma; where ” we look at that POI and see how we can we make it better.”
He recommended stripping down training to focus on what Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Mark Milley and combatant commanders are looking for because there are “20-30 percent of things in the POI that don’t need to be there.”
What the operational force “is looking for are disciplined Soldiers first and foremost,” he said. “The number one thing is a disciplined Soldier fivefold more than anything else, any other quality out of Soldiers who come out of Basic Combat Training. The second thing they want, five times less than the number one — a disciplined Soldier — is a physically fit Soldier.”
Get back to the basics “that is weapons proficiency, physical fitness, its communication proficiency and it is medical proficiency … Get back to the basics of what we teach Soldiers,” Frost added. The basics of shooting, moving and communicating.
“I go back to shoot, move and communicate … It doesn’t matter what Soldier, what (military occupation specialty) you are, you’re entire life and career can come down to just 60 seconds, five minutes or 15 minutes in intensive combat,” Frost said. “There you have it, shoot, move and communicate; that can happen in one minute. It can happen to any of us who deploy at any time, and any Soldier that comes out of Basic Combat Training.”
Attendees broke out into different working groups and presented Maj. Gen. Pete Johnson, Fort Jackson commander, recommended courses of action. These recommendations would be looked at by Frost and Johnson before being forwarded the Army. One course of action looked at was ways to help reduce drill sergeant workload so they could concentrate more on training new Soldiers instead of peripheral tasks.
Workshop attendees were also tasked by Fort Jackson’s commander to teach the Army story to build on the strong Army culture.
“We have to know the Army story,” Johnson said. “One of the things the Army isn’t good at is knowing our own story. We have to decide what that story is, create what the sound bites of history are, and we have to know it, we have to teach it, and we have to reinforce it.”
The training needs to show the “wonderful, rich, proud history of the United States Army,” he said.
Johnson called on attendees to also look at “the standards we want to lay out to earn the right to be called a Soldier.”
The Soldiers at the workshop “have the opportunity to create the future of our Army,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Lamont Christian, Fort Jackson’s senior enlisted leader.