New battle focused training FM available this summer – News – Field Manual 7-1, “Battle Focused Training”
FORT MONROE, Va. — The new Field Manual 7-1, “Battle Focused Training,” maintains the Army’s philosophy of training the way you fight, and tells leaders at all levels how to do it.
The new manual replaces FM 25-101 with the same title. It is the Army’s “how to” training manual, and is the second volume dealing with Army training. The first, FM 70, “Training the Force,” replaced FM 25-100 as the Army’s capstone doctrine on training and was fielded in October 2002.
“This FM creates training doctrine for both current and future operating environments that will endure for the Objective Force,” said COL Bob Clapsaddle, chief of the Training Management Writing Team.
The drawback to FM 25-101, the colonel said, is that it was oriented to training for the Cold War. The new manual reflects the uncertain world of today and the future.
Writers also took a new approach to focus on companies as the lowest combat unit, rather than on battalions, as in the old manual.
“Some companies support unique outfits, and each has a mission essential task list,” COL Clapsaddle said. “If they can’t accomplish those tasks, they can’t accomplish their missions.
“Division commanders have the responsibility for enforcing and disciplining the Army Training Management System,” he said. “Our squad leaders can’t train soldiers unless the division and brigade commanders protects their time to train from distractions.
In the 1990s Army units began to deploy more frequently for peacekeeping missions in other countries. Some pundits suggested that the Army create a separate “peacekeeping force,” because soldiers in combat units weren’t trained for that role.
“We realized that out soldiers trained for combat missions can adapt to peacekeeping roles,” COL Clapsaddle said. “A unit can be trained for peacekeeping missions in a fairly short time when time is available.”
Units designated for peacekeeping mission in Bosnia, for example, undergo training at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, La., before deployment.
Occasionally, a unit will be deployed for a mission for which no tasks and standards exist, such as in the 1990s when V Corps under GEN John N. Abrams, former TRADOC commander, deployed for the first peacekeeping mission in Bosnia.
“They had to do a lot of things which hadn’t been identified as training tasks and, as such, had no standards,” COL Clapsaddle said. “So they created the standards and they created lessons learned.”
FM 7-1 tells how to develop tasks and create standards so the Department of the Army can approve them.
“It would be a tragedy if you had learned something or a technique for doing urban operations in Iraq and you fail to tell the follow-on unit as they roll in because you’re going home,” COL Clapsaddle said.
Feedback and after action reports are also crucial to battle focused training.
The AAR method is an approach that no other service or army in the world uses, according to COL Clapsaddle.
“We look internally and dissect what happened for every training event,” he said. “We look at what caused us not to achieve the standard, retrain and then execute to standard.”
COL Clapsaddle explained that AARs are particularly valuable to units training at one of the Combat Training Centers. After a training mission, observer controllers and umpires help the unit’s leaders to identify errors and find solutions, usually areas in which more training is needed.
“The nature of our business is inherently dangerous,” he said, “but we have to minimize risks to soldiers to ensure they’re not training casualties.
“Doing risk assessment is just like an operation. You have an enemy and you’re constantly making assessments and then mitigating those threats against you. We’re saying that you must operationalize safety in the same way.
“FM 7-1 is not a safety manual, but we owe it to the soldiers to train realistically so they are prepared to go into combat. We also owe it to them to minimize the chances they will be injured in training.”
Manual writers gather input from battalion training officers and command sergeants major, as well as captains serving as company commanders. According to COL Clapsaddle, the writers asked their experts what they would cover in the manual.
The draft was reviewed by retired generals, active and reserve brigade and battalion commanders and command sergeants major, and current and recent company commanders.
“We specifically asked for captains,” he said. “These are the guys who are going to read and use the book, and we wanted it to be right.”
A general officer steering committee reviewed the manual before it went to former Chief of Staff of the Army GEN Eric K. Shinseki, who was an ardent sup porter of the manual.
“He was very adamant about maintaining battle focused training,” COL Clapsaddle said. “Training is not mission focused, not event-focused, not collective-focused, but battle focused.”
The manual was approved for publication June 6.
FM 7-1 will available in late August through the Reimer Digital Library at http://www.adtdl.army.mil/.
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