Addressing the Growing Training Burden

  • September 01, 2014
  • Colonel James Walter Schirmer

The equipment that the U.S. Army is fielding is growing more complex, requiring more hours of training for Soldiers to master. These skills decay over time and require frequent refresher training. The amount of equipment per Soldier and per unit is also increasing. Together, these three trends place an increasing training burden on units. This burden may force to reduce time spent on collective training to make room for the increasing equipment-specific tasks, or take shortcuts with equipment training. New equipment may not increase unit effectiveness as much as planned and in some instances may even reduce it. This problem is particularly important as resources fall and Army force structure falls. Current strategy calls for Army units to be proficient on a wider array of tasks than they have in the past, decisive action, stability operations, and building partner capacity. The length of time required for a unit to become proficient is a critical part of how many ready units the Army can deploy to a contingency. The Army should develop a training time budget for various unit types to help make tradeoffs when considering new equipment development and enforce trainability standards on new equipment acquisitions.