It always seems as though no matter when someone went through a school, that was the last hard year. Basic training stories of trudging through water up to the neck, ruck marching almost 100 miles, and having to do it with a 120 pound ruck are everywhere. Things get interesting when the Army decides to make basic training longer, more challenging, and introduces more tests to succeed.
Just a few months back, the military added additional requirements for graduating basic training. These included new tests and brought back some of the older ones. Changes included bringing back the wear and use of camouflage, combatives and Pugil stick fighting; more land navigation and in smaller groups; and rifle marksmanship in the same equipment that FORSCOM units are required to wear.
Some of these changes included the goal of segregating what gets taught at the first assignment, and what gets taught at basic training. Each unit is likely to have its own established SOPs, and therefore the basic training can focus on foundational training to prepare a soldier to learn the next level. This allows the basic training instructors to dedicate more time to the basics such as physical training and marksmanship, and less time to classes such as ‘interactions with news media, growing professionally and personally; and what is culture.’
New changes that are being discussed are to increase the time at basic training from the current 10-week model in order to add more elements to training. In the current model, the trainees attend a three-phase process known as red, white, and blue phases. The first two last three weeks, with the last being four weeks long. Extending basic training allows instructors to require that trainees test out of each phase, accomplish additional drills, conduct peer evaluations, and if necessary, recycle trainees.
The advantages to this seem obvious. When a soldier shows up at their first unit, the expectations are that the soldier can meet the basic requirements of the military, and that they are malleable and ready to learn. More time spent training means more foundation building, which means better prepared soldiers in the long-run. It is important to remember that more time training is always better, especially if training is done to standards.
As the military continues to decrease in size, the branches are looking more and more for higher quality service members. While this will require more out of the volunteers, it should be seen as an opportunity to consistently improve and grow. Trainees should continue to strive to better themselves physically and mentally for their next duty station, and ensure that they are displaying the maturity as well. Everything from additional testing to the peer process will challenge new soldiers as they are initiated into the military lifestyle.
Basic training instructors and planners are taking the opportunities to ensure that these trainees are as prepared as possible. This process of increasingly challenging them will only benefit the military as a whole and one can only hope that these future soldiers become better as a result of it.
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.