We contine with part five of a multipart series on training for war by retired Army lieutenant colonel Tom Kratman, creator of the popular Carrera military science fiction series, with latest entry Come and Take Them. Does it seem as if the United States land armed forces have lately been training to be cadres of world policemen and social workers rather than soldiers prepared to win a war? Here Kratman distills lessons from years as a commanding officer in the U.S. Army, where he retired a lieutenant colonel. Kratman’s argument: an army is for winning wars. And to win wars, you have to train men (and some women) to be warriors.
by Tom Kratman
Training individuals and the chain of command.
The Army’s record, I know, and the Marines, I’ve been told, is not all that good here. We waste a lot of time. We misdirect a lot of time. Worst of all, we centralize in such a way as to remove from non-coms, especially squad leaders, their historic responsibility to train their own troops. A side effect of that institutionally directed irresponsibility is that the squad leaders are often a lot weaker than they ought to be.
Vignette Ten: Knowledge is power.
Camp Swampy, 1986.
When Hamilton was a young puppy of a lieutenant, his company commander made him promise that, when he took command of a company, he wouldn't change a blessed thing for at least six weeks. Instead, he solemnly promised, he’d do a lot of LBWO, asking questions, and then analyze.
He did that for the first six weeks of his first command. In the process, he saw all kinds of interesting and eye-opening things: People sleeping in the barracks on duty time, squad leaders who really didn't have the first idea that they were responsible for their troops, in toto, squad leader time consisting of people playing ping pong in the dayroom. And this was in one of the better companies of that battalion, Hamilton’s predecessor having been a first class officer, in general (though he never made general).
Hamilton didn't really blame the squad leaders or platoon sergeants. And his platoon leaders were all brand new. The officer corps had castrated the NCO corps decades prior. They were so used to being told what to do, all the time, to having their time managed by higher, that the idea that they were responsible was just alien to many, maybe even most, of them.
So Hamilton called everybody from squad leader on up into his office and gave a little speech, more or less to this effect:
"Boys, I've been in the Army about nine and a half years by now. I think probably every year, sometimes twice, some company commander or other would announce, 'People, I'm sick of this fucking off in the barracks. We're gonna account for every man, every minute. We're gonna tighten up the training schedule...We're not gonna let a minute go to waste...”
“Yeah...no. That usually worked for about ten days until the next crisis came upon us and some new priority popped up; then we went right back to what we'd been doing.
"We're going to try something different. Rather, we're going to try a few things different.
"Item one: Look at your new training schedule. Note where it says 'sergeants' time'? Right; it doesn’t; it's gone. All time that I don't specifically take is sergeants' time. Now flip it over.
"Item two: Remember where it used to say 'opportunity training'? Note that now it says 'mandatory opportunity training.' That means you are going to do it; trust me on this. I'm testing Friday afternoons. If your guys fail, we'll retest Friday night until Saturday morning, if that's what it takes. Yeah, it's micro-managing. For the moment.
"Item three: Where's the time coming from for this? Go back to what I said in item one; I'm not putting anything on the schedule that isn't _my_ major event. So you now have a lot of time.”
The first week they didn't believe him. He had the first sergeant select two men from each squad, randomly, and used his platoon leaders and platoon sergeants to test. The men failed. So the dirty bastard kept the whole company there retesting until about 23:30. Next week, two of the squad leaders believed. Their people passed. The rest stayed until about 22:30. The next week it was four, until maybe 21:00.
It took six weeks but, by that time, they all believed.
Hamilton kept it up for another six weeks after that. Allegedly, one – at least one; might have been more – of his squad leaders had troops coming up to him and saying, in one case literally, "Forsooth, Sergeant, I am in desperate need of getting laid. Sadly, if we don't pass the muthafuckin' CO's test Friday, it won't happen again this week, either. So please, PLEASE teach me this shit.”
After that twelve weeks was over there was another little prayer meeting in Hamilton’s office. The gist of that was, "Okay, now you know you can do this; you can train your own troops without being told where and when to do it. The next step is that now you're going to decide what your squad needs. Right. Now give me five Soldiers Manual tasks, three if they're exceptionally hard. Yeah, that's each of you. Yeah, I'm still going to test Friday night."
That program, in conjunction with some other things, worked pretty damned well. By well I mean that when the annual hands on Skill Qualification Test1 rolled around, the rest of the battalion shut down for two or three weeks to prep. Hamilton’s crew didn’t. Instead, they went to the field, did a best squad competition, some deliberate attacks, couple-three live fires, some patrolling, some anti-armor ambushing...and basically had a good time. They came in from the field rather late the night before it was their turn to take the SQT (which in that battalion was done much like an EIB test, _very_ anal). Hamilton told the boys, "Oil your rifles, knock the mud off your boots, get a good night's sleep. See you out here in the morning.”
Seven people in that company didn't max the test. That was something over two thirds of all the maxes in the battalion, which is pretty good considering he had less than ten percent of the battalion. The top nine squads were Hamilton’s, ten counting company HQ. The top three platoons were his, and nobody else was even close. All his squad leaders acquired a pretty vast level of prestige with their own troops and within the battalion, overall.
After that, he still collected their tasks, but just spot checked occasionally. The sergeants were doing it, all individual training, entirely on their own hook. And from there he could put in a date and time for a given inspection or any other event related to his squads and be quite confident it would get done, efficiently and well.
(Oh, the next year, where he paid zero attention to the upcoming SQT, only four of the men didn't max it.)
Vignette Eleven: Be innovative if you want your troops to learn innovativeness. Be determined if you want to develop determination in the men.
Hamilton thought the boys were ready for a plus up – a toughening up – in the condition for Mission Essential Task: Conduct Deliberate Attack. What he had in mind to do was a night assault river crossing with his own company and two smallish platoons attached from a different company (E, aka AT), where the large platoon from Echo Company would play the Opposing Force. The site chosen was the old site for M113 water operations. It had a couple of advantages over other places, notably having slow moving water, a causeway through the middle, and a complete lack of alligators, which is always nice. Crossing the causeway – deemed to be a bridge for the exercise – would be one of those not real bright moves. Besides, the optimum way to take a bridge is both sides simultaneously.
Hamilton requested a dozen RB-15s, 15 man rubber boats, which could hold one hundred and eighty men, which was about right. The Engineers promised him seven, which could hold one hundred and five. Then they changed this – rather late in the game – to seven RB-7s, seven man rubber boats, which could hold forty-nine. What showed up on his figurative doorstep was four RB-3, one of which leaked, which could hold nine…to get about one hundred and eighty men across the stream…under fire.
So Hamilton finds himself standing there, glaring at these freaking four (minus one; don’t forget that leak) miserable RB-3s. He wonders if the battalion commander who declared the nonsense FASCAM is behind the shortfall, but, No, Tuffy’s not that bright.
He has a tactical plan: The two attached platoons are going to be a) a diversion, then the force to grab the near side of the “bridge.” Thus, he doesn’t absolutely have to get them across by boat. The machine guns, too, can cross over later. They’ll support by fire initially, so that's another dozen or so men that didn’t have to cross right away.
But I've still got about a ninety of my own men and I can, in theory, only get nine of them across, at which point the boats are on the other side and they can't be rowed back.
Asks Hamilton’s supply sergeant: “What the fuck we gonna do, sir?”
Hamilton looks at the boats. Looks at the far side of the stream. Looks back at the boats. And then he has one of those epiphanies, rare in anyone but perhaps rarest of all in himself:
“Get me,” he tells supply, “a roll of 550 cord or, failing that, that twine that comes on the conical spool."
"Just do it."
Then he goes to explain how they’re going to do this to the men.
What they end up doing is grossly overloading the RB-3s with five men each, no packs. To the stern of each boat they tie off a length of twine. And for each boat there is a three man team to haul it back from the far bank in a hurry and force feed the next load on. The two diversionary platoons are AT, hence somewhat less than ept as dismounts. This is good; Hamilton doesn’t want ept; he wants want noisy. They’re bait and good bait’s supposed to wriggle.
So the AT platoons, acting as riflemen, make a horrific racket by the “bridge” east of the crossing point. All the OPFOR pick up and move to cover the bridge, apparently on the theory Hamilton might just be stupid enough to try one of those Charge of the Light Brigade rushes.
While they’re doing that, the rest of the troops sneak up to the river / canal (it was actually more like a canal, though, technically, it was a river), bearing the boats, already prepped with twine. The machine guns go to the right of the crossing point, about forty-five degrees from the far side of the bridge.
The boats are loaded, the guns in position, and the MGs well sited to support. In they go. The machine guns kick off with pretty impressive support, actually. OPFOR are pinned in the wrong place. Row-row-row your pissant RB3. Dismount. Secure the far side. Start hauling the boats back. “Hey, Schmidlap; where’s the twine?” “I dunno; I thought Weaver had it.” “Hell, no, you were supposed to make sure…”
Yep: All three boat teams lost the twine. Damn!
Into the water go the load teams splashing around looking for the twine. They find it. The boats get hauled back and the next fifteen men board the grossly overloaded RB3s. Row-row-row…
Dismount. Splash. Loose footing. Glub, glub, glub.
“Haul the boats back.”
Somehow, two of the load teams manage to lose the twine again. Into the water….splash-splash… “I’ve got it…here it is.”
Haul the boats back. Force feed the load…row-row-row…this time they don’t lose the twine.
On the far side, it’s just a wonderful cluster. Some of the OPFOR (on their left) realize what’s going on and try to shift. Others, further away, are still fixated on the two AT platoons. And, losing the frigging twine or not, Hamilton and crew are still building up combat power a lot faster than they can shift around.
And then there are seventy or so men on the far side, sweeping the entire bank, left to right.
Contemplate that in relation to two young privates from a shattered platoon accomplishing a mission that should have taken a platoon.
Outside of in Ranger School, the Army’s usually not overly enthused about training combatives, close, hand to hand, combat. There are a lot of good reasons for that. One, troops get injured in the normal course of the thing, simply from hitting and throwing each other. Either that, or the thing ends up being slow motion nonsense, or pull your punches bad training. Then, too, actually fighting like that is, like a bayonet fight, among the least likely things to happen in battle. Thirdly, we don’t really have a good, practical, teachable system of combatives. Indeed no system could be very good for the highly limited time we can spend at it.
Still, there are some benefits to spending a few morning physical training sessions pounding on each other, notably character development through physical pain. That said, I recommend the following:
- Do so many pushups first and during that the soldiers’ muscles are exhausted. This way, they can strike with all the force and speed they can muster, but that force will be very light and the speed slow.
- Do no pushups if you’re practicing throws and falls. You want them to be able to roll with the throw and you want your throwers able to let them down in fairly controlled fashion.
- Borrow some foam neck braces from the medicos for strangulation and garroting practice. Watch carefully because they might hurt each other anyway.
- Remember that even sheathed bayonets and pugil sticks can damage people. Watch these things most carefully.
A good maxim to follow here is that nobody’s OER or NCOER should ever come as a surprise. Another good maxim is that nobody’s going to get any better unless he knows where he’s deficient.
Because of these, I strongly recommend using the very same forms for regular, routine performance counseling as are used for the current OER and NCOER. I further recommend turning all those graded areas into tasks, with conditions and standards. Lastly, I recommend being honest, in real English, as opposed to honest in the parody of English normally used in evaluations. You know, the parody whereby “somewhere a village is missing its idiot” turns into “this sergeant / lieutenant / captain is the greatest thing since canned beer.” If you’re going to be honest with performance counseling, be sure you explain to your subordinates that those honest comments and numbers, if numbers ever make a return, will be translated into parody English and be suitably inflated for actual evaluation for record purposes. They won’t believe you at first but you have to try.
I used to have a couple of pretty good sets of tasks, conditions and standards for these, as part of a pretty good SOP. The rating systems have changed too much for those to be useful to you. Still, to give one example, suppose there’s a block for physical fitness, as there always is. The task for counseling purposes might be called something like, “Attain and/or Maintain Physical Fitness.” The conditions may read, “As an officer or non-commissioned officer, in an MTO&E infantry unit, with not less than X days a month off, and not less than Y days a month not in the field and hence available for physical fitness training.” Standards might read, “Pass the APFT2, fall out of no runs or road marches without a doctor’s letter affirmation of illness or injury consistent with inability to complete same.” The counseling SOP might then say that failure to meet the bare minimum standard will result in a less than top score in that area, with a negative comment, while meeting the bare minimum will result in a normal, maximum score in the area (recognizing that said maximum is the result of score and language inflation), while achieving a score in the APFT of between the minimum to pass and the maximum possible might get a favorable comment, space permitting, in the evaluation report and maxing it would get a favorable comment in the evaluation report.
And surely, since I’ve spent some time here talking about integrity, someone is going to observe, “But isn’t using bogus verbiage and ridiculously inflated numbers an ethical violation?”
It’s a good question, but it’s not exactly the right question or, rather, questions. The right questions are, “Beyond destroying my subordinates by using standard English and standard numbers in my evaluations, when no one else does, or won’t for long, and no one believes at face value those numbers and comments, anyway, what good am I doing?” and “When language and numbers are grossly inflated for a particular purpose, and everyone knows they are, isn’t the real lie in using standard language and numbers, which everyone reads against that inflated system?” My answers to those questions are, “none,” and, “yes.”
I suppose I’ve seen a dozen or more different OER and NCOER systems, over the years. In every case that I’ve seen, the systems started with, “This time it’s going to be different. This time we’re going to be honest.” It never is and stupid officers who believe the Pravda, and enforce the lie (see above, yes, in this case honesty in one sense is a lie in another) invariably cause vast damage to juniors whose only crime was being assigned to units commanded by morons. When this happens again, and it will again, zip your mansuit all the way up to the neck and say, “No, we’re not going to play this. I will not wreck my subordinates so my boss can make a purely spurious comment on his OER support form.”
Vignette Twelve: No, hitting a moving target is very difficult indeed.
Hamilton – and this is a very different manifestation of the eternal Hamilton than usual – found himself as a, no lie, no joke, horse-mounted dragoon in Grey’s Scouts, Rhodesia, in the mid-seventies. This particular version of Hamilton had been a United States Marine, once, and thought he could shoot. His Rhodesian colour corporal thought rather differently.
The corporal lined his squad up along a slope, the line running downhill. Then the corporal produced a large truck tire, in the center of which he’d mounted a target. “Lock and load,” ordered the corporal. “Now see if you can hit this,” said he, starting the tire rolling downhill. Every man basically emptied a magazine at the target and not one hit it, not with even a single bullet, on that first attempt.
Think about how simple that is to do. How it doesn’t require electronic devices, radio bandwidth, computers, fragile controllers, or much in the way of time or other resources. And consider, too, that the technique will be available anyplace you can find a tire, a cardboard or paper target, and a slope. Oh, and a little instruction on lead and in flight ballistics would probably be useful, as well.
As mentioned elsewhere in this article, though, marksmanship is one of those things that needs mostly to be conditioned. This is also true for hitting a moving target. Contemplate, however, MILES, the laser training engagement system mentioned previously. It has no ballistic properties. Time of flight is much faster than for a bullet, indeed it is essentially instantaneous.
I would suggest that using MILES is training people, conditioning them, to be bad shots, and that the more they use MILES the worse shots they are being conditioned to be.
Cause and Commitment
It’s a truism that men don’t fight for causes, they fight for their comrades. It’s a half-truth, though, and like other half-truths, wholly misleading.
Why? Because the cost of fighting is pain, pain from the loss of those same comrades. In the absence of a reason to put up with that, the sensible group of soldiers, neither wanting to die nor wanting to lose friends, simply deserts, or carries out their missions in the most lackadaisical and safest manner possible. In short, without a cause they can believe in, eventually the day comes when the soldiers won’t fight at all.
Go look up, “combat refusal Vietnam.” And then, since it can actually get worse than mere mutiny, look up, “Fragging.”
That doesn’t mean the cause needs to be drummed into them with the most heavy-handed propaganda Hollywood and Madison Avenue can come up with. Frankly, as with EO nag sessions, gender sensitivity training, and any of the other, similar wastes of time, the troops just tune it out, as they tune out all the politically correct propaganda regularly inflicted on them by the EO fascisti. They don’t usually care all that much about who invaded who, or the pristine excellence of the current president, nor parties, nor spreading democracy around the world, nor preserving feudalism in Kuwait. It’s sufficient for them to know they’re fighting for secure energy supplies, so we don’t fall into an industrial dark age and so our people do not starve. It’s not bad for them to know – indeed, it can overcome all kinds of gray areas in a nation’s past conduct – that we’re fighting for survival. Revenge is good, too.
Vignette Thirteen: We become brave by doing brave acts. – Aristotle, Nichmoachean Ethics
Aristotle looked at this as a matter of habit. There is surely some truth to that, but I would suggest a good part of it is process, too. From Carnifex:
Escuela de Montañeros Bernardo O’Higgins, Boquerón, Balboa, 8/3/467 AC
Jesus, this shit terrifies me.
Ricardo Cruz had his left hand jammed into the crevice of an otherwise nearly sheer rock wall. The hand was formed into a fist, effectively locking him to that wall. His other hand searched for further purchase higher up while his booted feet rested precariously on a couple of finger-widths of ledge. A rope was coiled around his torso.
Cruz’s job was to get the bloody rope up the cliff, attach a snaplink to whatever could be found, and create a belay system so that the rest of the men could follow safely. On the way up Cruz mentally recited the very unofficial and much frowned upon version of the Cazador Creed.
Considering how fucking stupid I am . . .
Aha! There was a little outcropping of rock. He grabbed tight hold of it and began working his left leg to another little spit of a ledge.
Appreciating the fact that nobody lives forever . . .
The ledge and the outcropping held. Heart pounding, Cruz unballed his left fist, removed it from the crevice and began feeling up and along the wall for another place to anchor his hand before he risked moving his lower foot.
Zealously will I . . .
Cruz’s foot slipped.
…try to fuck every female I can talk into a horizontal . . . FUCK!
Cruz felt his lower foot slip vertically. That put excess demands on the other one, which likewise lost its hold on the rock ledge. His left hand hadn’t quite found purchase. In much less time than it takes to tell about it he found himself hanging by the fingertips of one hand, and not even all of those.
His body slammed the cliff face, almost causing him to lose his death grip on the outcropping. Moreover, while his helmet protected the bulk of his head, in slipping he had managed to scrape the left side of his jaw along the rough rock wall. He felt hot blood drip down his neck.
His first instinct was, frankly, akin to panic. It lasted milliseconds before training and experience took over.
I’ve been scared witless before and overcome it.
I can again.
The first thing Cruz’s questing fingers found was a tiny little spur of rock. It would never do to support his entire weight but, gripped by two fingers and a thumb, it was just enough to take some weight off of the overstrained fingers of the other hand. His heart began to slow, if only slightly.
Okay . . . so I have at least two or three more minutes of life. My fingers will hold that long. A lot can be done in two or three minutes.
Next, his foot found the previous ledge it had occupied. He was unwilling to take quite the same perch he had had previously. He spent some of his one hundred and twenty to one hundred and eighty seconds feeling around for the best position he could find. When he found it he tested it, spending a few more precious seconds. He then allowed his foot and leg to take some weight from his whitened, tired fingers. At last, breathing a little more easily, Cruz found a spot for his other foot and began to rest his fingers in turn.
Yeah, it’s a true story.
Officer and NCO Professional Development
We pay a lot of lip service to this. Actual execution? Not so much.
In my not so very humble opinion, Professional Development, properly, is training of leaders in one of three areas: To take over higher levels of responsibility, to perform in MOSs not their own or work more closely with MOSs other than their own, to learn more esoteric areas that are within the leader’s MOS, but not normally well trained either in the school system or in the Army at large. I would say, thus, that a class in how to conduct a 100% inventory for a change of command is proper for lieutenants, since most of them will be taking over companies and thus have command responsibility for property at some point. Road marching an entire company would be, for a platoon leader, similarly useful. Planning air support or artillery support, which is normally done at higher levels would be the same. Military history is a clear subject for professional development, for every level and rank. Cultural studies could be legitimate subjects, and almost certainly are for areas where we are going to fight where the culture is, in some sense, itself the enemy. Training management fits, especially since the demise of BTMS3.
What’s not OPD or NCODP, though it is often presented as such, are subjects that are better put out in meetings, or in specific classes, that do not accomplish those three things mentioned above. The latest nonsense on gender orientation sensitivity from the EO fascisti is not really professional development. Nuances of the latest scheme for evaluation reports likewise doesn’t fit.
Music and Song: “The song for the soldier is a war song,” it is not, “I don’t like spiders and snakes.”
The great thing about war songs is that it’s conditioning below the conscious level. You see, soldiers will often resist conditioning, if they know that you’re trying to condition them. But singing? That’s so innocent, even as we “Rally round the flag, boys,” that we’ll gladly go, “Over there,” to be “Dog-faced soldiers”…
Even the act of singing – quite without any martial theme – has training value: “We’re here and we’re together.”
That said, lotsa luck, actually. Though there is vast training value is having the troops sing together, actually getting American soldiers to sing, other than cadence songs, which don’t usually work the same way or for the same reason or to the same ends, is about impossible.
I recall an article I read once in the old Infantry Journal (the predecessor, along with the Field Artillery Journal, of AUSA’s Army Magazine, not of Infantry Magazine), written during WW II by a US Army infantry private who had been a German Army infantry private in the Great War, lamenting our unwillingness to sing. According to the article, in the old German Army singing was a training event and they had singing lessons and practice at company level. Maybe that would work, but one doubts we’ll ever find the time and determination to do it.
Which is a shame, really, because, once you paid the price in time and effort, you could continue to draw dividends on your investment more or less forever.
Crime and Punishment (at the company and battalion levels, and below)
We don’t really punish, via non-judicial punishment, to deter; anyone who can be deterred from breaking the rules in a serious way by the fairly trivial punishments company and field grade officers can impose is probably too deficient in character ever to make much of a soldier. Instead, starting with the premise that most of the men want to do the right thing, if only to think well of themselves, we punish to prevent demoralization of those righteous soldiers, which demoralization will result from failure to punish the wicked.
Most official punishment will be non-judicial and related to minor infractions. If you’re having to court-martial someone, presuming he’s found guilty, he will cease to be a problem for you, for the most part.
Here are a few rules, taken from a long ago OPD session with my lieutenants and used – in a somewhat exaggerated version – in my novel, H Hour:
Rule One: Non-judicial punishment should be very rare, indeed. Most problems can and should be handled well before it gets to you. If you find you’re having regular NJP sessions, there is something wrong with your command.
Rule Two: Take the time to plan the event. That means write out the script and rehearse it, if only in your mind. If you’re a decent human being; it’s hard to be a harsh bastard. Rehearsal helps.
Rule Three: Use it as an opportunity to build your chain of command. Get input in front of the culprit from the squad leader, platoon sergeant, and platoon leader. Ask the question: ‘Is this soldier salvageable?’
Rule Four: Always max out the guilty bastard, but then suspend any punishment you think is excessive, or likely to do more harm than good. Taking money or rank or both from a married man hurts his family, something you ought not want to do, if it’s at all avoidable, because it is likely to ruin someone salvageable, to say nothing of harming the innocent. Restricting him to the barracks hurts him, in fact, gives him a serious – possibly terminal – case of lackanookie. Tie that in to the recommendations from his chain of command. Remember, too; suspended punishment reduces the probability of appeal, which helps uphold your authority.
Finally, Rule Five – and I cannot emphasize this enough: Always, always, always add to the punishment, ‘and an oral reprimand.’ Once you invoke those words, you can give an ass chewing so abusive that it might get you court-martialed in other circumstances. There is perhaps no practical limit in what you can say and how you can say it, because you will have invoked the magic words. To the best of my knowledge and belief, there is no legal limit. (Oh, go ahead; check with JAG. I’m getting on in years, after all, and things change.) This also tends to partially cover up your excessively kind and generous nature in suspending a goodly portion of the more material punishment. That said, sometimes you will want to do the oral reprimand first. And, in any case, remember that a commander is always on stage.
But, again, this sort of thing ought to be rare. How do we keep it rare? How do we keep it rare in an army springing from a litigious, rights obsessed, Mammy Yokumesque (“Good is better than evil because it’s nicer!”) society? A bureaucratic society? A society that insists on consolidating power up, rather than distributing it down?
There was a time when most disciplinary problems were handled by sergeants with anything from pushups to extra duty to a minor beating. We can, I think, do without the beatings, but is it really wise not to trust the men and women we trust to lead our soldiers in war with the power to discipline those soldiers?
My approach – I commend it to you – was to tell the troops, “When your sergeant tells you to drop for pushups, or gives you a spot of extra duty, take it as a compliment, that he sees some worth in you. He doesn’t have to be that lenient. He can bring you to me for much worse punishment. If you don’t want to do the pushups, don’t. If you don’t want the extra duty, fine, no one will make you. At least until the non-judicial punishment is imposed.”
Of course, if you’re going to do that, it’s best to explain to the sergeants not to, and how not to, abuse it.
1 The Army doesn’t actually do this anymore, which is maybe just as well.
2 Army Physical Fitness Test. The Marines have their own, as do the other services.
3 Equal Opportunity, the bureaucratic successor in interest to the race relations bureaucrac
4 Battalion Training Management System. While imperfect, and imperfectly understood and executed, it was one of those things – once mandatory, now defunct – that helped the Army out of the post-Vietnam doldrums. I believe it was done away with on the premise that its guidance had become part of the Army ethos. I strongly recommend at least considering bringing it back to recover from the middle eastern and Afghan campaigns. For the reader, you can find something about BTMS and its history at Anne Chapman’s The Army’s Training Revolution, 1973-1990. Also, a fair number of used books for the various levels of BTMS have found their way into commerce. No, you can’t have my copies.
Copyright © 2014 by Tom Kratman
This series continues with “Training Part for War, Part Six.” Tom Kratman is a retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel and the author of many science fiction and military adventure novels including Carrera series entry Come and Take Them and upcoming The Rods and the Axe.