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The Army Plans On Overhauling Basic Training To Focus On More 'Disciplined, Physically Fit' Soldiers
The Army will soon overhaul its Basic Combat Training course in an effort to produce fitter, more disciplined and better motivated new soldiers, the general in charge of entrance training said Friday.
The Army will hold recruits to higher physical fitness standards, send them on more realistic combat training exercises and increase its efforts to teach basic skills such as first aid, arm signal communication and shooting rifles using only iron sights, said Maj. Gen. Malcolm Frost, the commander of the Army’s Center for Initial Military Training.
“First unit assignment leaders want initial entry training to deliver disciplined, physically fit new soldiers who are willing to learn, who are mentally tough, professional and who are proud to serve in the United States Army,” Frost said. “The bottom line is that when you graduate Basic Combat Training, you are supposed to be ready for your first unit assignment [and] to be ready to step on a plane and go to combat.”
The changes are expected to go into effect before the fiscal year ends in October. They come as the Army looks to recruit some 15,000 new soldiers to increase its force during the coming year.
Through the past three years, the Army polled more than 27,000 of its noncommissioned officers, warrant officers and officers in the ranks of second lieutenant to colonel, asking them to identify deficiencies they have observed among the service’s newest soldiers.
What Frost found was leaders primarily concerned with a lack of discipline among those soldiers reporting to their first units. The general said the surveys indicated a trend in new soldiers reporting with less-than-stellar work ethics and bad habits such as arriving late for duty or wearing their uniforms sloppily. Other concerns included soldiers who have issues following orders and obeying and showing respect for their superiors, he said.
“There is too much a sense of entitlement,” Frost said. “This is about taking ownership and taking pride in the work.”
To incorporate better discipline, the Army will increase its focus in basic training on indoctrinating soldiers on Army values and evaluate them on their discipline.
Recruits will undergo bunk inspections, participate in drill and ceremony competitions and face tests on their knowledge of the Army’s history.
Frost said the focus on the Army’s long history is meant to build espirit de corps, teaching the service’s values through lessons on pivotal battles from the Revolutionary War to the capture of Baghdad from Saddam Hussein’s forces in the Army’s 2003 Thunder Runs across Iraq.
They will largely focus on individual acts of valor in past battles to instill in recruits “what it means to be a United States Army soldier” and connect them with the service’s heritage, he said.
The increased physical fitness standards will align with ones required of soldiers in the force. That means recruits must score 60 points — determined by a soldier’s age and gender — on each of the three aspects of the Army Physical Fitness Test, push-ups, sit-ups and two-mile runs. Previously recruits only needed to score 50 points on each test in basic training, Frost said.
To aid recruits in achieving the more stringent fitness requirements and to better prepare them for combat, the Army will increase the amount of time recruits spend in the field and boost combatants training from 22 hours to 33 hours during the 10-week course.
The final training exercise — called the Forge — will be among the changes that include combat-specific tasks. The 81-hour exercise will consist of a 40-mile road march with tasks along the way, including a medical evacuation exercise, a night infiltration, a mission to resupply troops, an obstacle course and patrols “very much like what they could see in combat,” Frost said.
The overhauled Basic Combat Training course has been tested for several months at Fort Jackson in South Carolina with “a lot of success,” the general said Friday.
“We are simply trying to instill some pride, a little bit of grit and resilience in basic combat training there,” Frost said. “It’s not that we’re going back to shining boots, and having drill and ceremony as a predominant aspect of basic training. We’re not. But what we are doing is we are creeping some of that back in — we’re trying to do things the right way.”
©2018 the Stars and Stripes. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) will announce legislation Wednesday aiming to "fix" a new Trump administration citizenship policy that affects some children of U.S. service members stationed abroad.
The inside story of how The Village People shot the Navy's most controversial recruiting video onboard an active warship
The video opens innocently enough. A bell sounds as we gaze onto a U.S. Navy frigate, safely docked at port at Naval Base San Diego. A cadre of sailors, dressed in "crackerjack" style enlisted dress uniforms and hauling duffel bags over their shoulders, stride up a gangplank aboard the vessel. The officer on deck greets them with a blast of a boatswain's call. It could be the opening scene of a recruitment video for the greatest naval force on the planet.
Then the rhythmic clapping begins.
This is no recruitment video. It's 'In The Navy,' the legendary 1979 hit from disco queens The Village People, shot aboard the very real Knox-class USS Reasoner (FF-1063) frigate. And one of those five Navy sailors who strode up that gangplank during filming was Ronald Beck, at the time a legal yeoman and witness to one of the strangest collisions between the U.S. military and pop culture of the 20th century.
"They picked the ship and they picked us, I don't know why," Beck, who left the Navy in 1982, told Task & Purpose in a phone interview from his Texas home in October. "I was just lucky to be one of 'em picked."
Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Tuesday casually brushed aside the disturbing news that, holy shit, MORE THAN 100 ISIS FIGHTERS HAVE ESCAPED FROM JAIL.
In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour, Esper essentially turned this fact into a positive, no doubt impressing public relations and political talking heads everywhere with some truly masterful spin.
"Of the 11,000 or so detainees that were imprisoned in northeast Syria, we've only had reports that a little more than a hundred have escaped," Esper said, adding that the Syrian Democratic Forces were continuing to guard prisons, and the Pentagon had not "seen this big prison break that we all expected."
Well, I feel better. How about you?
On Wednesday, the top U.S. envoy in charge of the global coalition to defeat ISIS said much the same, while adding another cherry on top: The United States has no idea where those 100+ fighters went.
A senior administration official told reporters on Wednesday the White House's understanding is that the SDF continues to keep the "vast majority" of ISIS fighters under "lock and key."
"It's obviously a fluid situation on the ground that we're monitoring closely," the official said, adding that released fighters will be "hunted down and recaptured." The official said it was Turkey's responsibility to do so.
President Trump expressed optimism on Wednesday about what was happening on the ground in northeast Syria, when he announced that a ceasefire between Turkey and the Kurds was expected to be made permanent.
"Turkey, Syria, and all forms of the Kurds have been fighting for centuries," Trump said. "We have done them a great service and we've done a great job for all of them — and now we're getting out."
The president boasted that the U.S.-brokered ceasefire had saved the lives of tens of thousands of Kurds "without spilling one drop of American blood."
Kade Kurita, the 20-year-old West Point cadet who had been missing since Friday evening, was found dead on Tuesday night, the U.S. Military Academy announced early Wednesday morning.
"We are grieving this loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to Cadet Kurita's family and friends," Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams, superintendent of West Point, said in the release.
The U.S. Army's Next Generation Squad Weapon effort looked a lot more possible this week as the three competing weapons firms displayed their prototype 6.8mm rifles and automatic rifles at the 2019 Association of the United States Army's annual meeting.
Just two months ago, the Army selected General Dynamics Ordnance and Tactical Systems inc., Textron Systems and Sig Sauer Inc. for the final phase of the NGSW effort — one of the service's top modernization priorities to replace the 5.56mm M4A1 carbine and the M249 squad automatic weapon in infantry and other close-combat units.
Army officials, as well as the companies in competition, have been guarded about specific details, but the end result will equip combat squads with weapons that fire a specially designed 6.8mm projectile, capable of penetrating enemy body armor at ranges well beyond the current M855A1 5.56mm round.
There have previously been glimpses of weapons from two firms, but this year's AUSA was the first time all three competitors displayed their prototype weapons, which are distinctly different from one another.