Remember when you first joined an organization and realized that you had no idea what you were doing. Not just the confusion about the primary responsibilities of your job, but more along the lines of not being sure which foot to move first for fear of being reprimanded on the spot. This is the kind of beginnings I am referring to.
For many, this is the first realization of joining the military. Over time though, people learn how to move, talk, act, and perform within the system. They grow and experience as an individual, and then learn to perform complex tasks as a team. This seems to be the ultimate sign of success. Unfortunately, thanks to the military PCS process, a unit is constantly receiving new soldiers.
Some will come from other units and they will bring with them their own experiences, both good and bad. Some will come right out of basic training, and their only true experiences will be a movie they once saw. The final group shows up and no one really understands how they survived the first 18 years of their lives, let alone joined the military. Either way, it is the responsibility of leaders to not only train these individuals to work well as individuals, but to integrate that training into the team and squad levels.
The most important aspect to this training is the understanding that it does not have to be complex. Training should be simple, to the point, and with as little external influences as possible so that soldiers can focus on what they are doing in the moment. There is no need to send a soldier from the field, where he is conducting a live fire exercise, to the rear where he will sit into a quarterly alcohol awareness briefing.
The training should follow doctrine. Why? Simple – doctrine is based on techniques that have actually worked and proven beneficial in combat. The great tank battles of World War II are of course different from today’s inherently counter-terrorism focused warfare, and yet tried and true methods of performing tasks are still the same.
While the old FM 7-8 battle drills are no longer referred to as such, they have remained as the standard for infantrymen to learn and perform effectively as a unit. Leaders teach, demonstrate, mentor, guide, and then observe their subordinates in the processes. They should work from these doctrinal forms to create simple training plans that focus on fundamentals, and then increase the number of participants in the training.
What begins as an individual understanding the fundamentals quickly transitions to a collective unit, performing a complex maneuvers without requiring guidance. Any time a new soldier arrives at the unit, the team should revert back to this process of starting over and relearning how to work together. It is not enough to simply tell someone to learn, the organization must both absorb the new soldier into it and the new soldier must learn how to be a part of the organization. Only by doing these steps can the organization continue to improve and refine techniques until they are second nature.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.