We cannot train without planning and we cannot teach without preparation.

General George C. Marshall

Planning Process

Planning is an extension of the battle focus concept that links organizational METL with the subsequent execution and evaluation of training. A relatively centralized process, planning develops mutually supporting METL-based training at all levels within an organization. Figure 3-1 depicts the planning process used to develop battle-focused training programs.

The commander provides two principal inputs at the start of the planning process: the METL (discussed in Chapter 2) and the training assessment. The training assessment compares the organization's current level of training proficiency with the desired level of warfighting proficiency. This desired level is defined in MTPs and in such publications as how to fight manuals and other doctrinal literature.

Leaders determine current training proficiency levels by analyzing all available training evaluations. However, each evaluation applies only to a portion of the total proficiency of an organization at a specific time. Therefore, leaders must use all available evaluation data to develop an assessment of the organization's overall capability to accomplish each mission essential task. In addition to past training evaluations, other information about future events influence the assessment. For example, the projected personnel turnover rates or the fielding of new equipment could significantly affect the commander's assessment


of training proficiency status during the upcoming training period. Leaders update the training assessment at the beginning of each long-range and short-range planning cycle and after a major training event (for example, a CTC rotation).

The commander uses the broad experience and knowledge of key subordinates to help determine the organization's current proficiency. A division commander may direct that the assistant division commanders, key staff members, and subordinate commanders assess the current training proficiency of the division's ability to execute mission essential tasks and supporting battle tasks. The division CSM and subordinate CSMs assess proficiency on individual tasks that support collective tasks. The participants review available collective and individual evaluation information, relying heavily on personal observations. They then compare the organization's current task proficiency with the Army standard. The commander uses subordinate input to make his final determination of the organization's current proficiency on each task (Figure 3-2). Current task proficiency is indicated by rating the task as "T" (trained), "P" (needs practice), "U" (untrained), or "?" (unknown). The training requirement is the training necessary to achieve and sustain desired levels of training proficiency for each mission essential task.

The commander, assisted by the staff, develops a strategy to accomplish each training requirement. This includes imprying proficiency on some tasks and sustaining performance on others. Through the training strategy, the commander establishes training priorities by determining the minimum frequency each mission essential task will be performed during the upcoming planning period. The strategy also includes broad guidance that links the METL with upcoming major training events. The initial training assessment includes the commander's guidance that starts the detailed planning process.

The training assessment of each separate mission essential task enables the commander to develop his training vision. This is his broad concept for training the organization to achieve and sustain wartime proficiency. The key elements which shape a commander's training vision are a thorough understanding of training and operations doctrine, his assessment of METL proficiency levels, and knowledge of potential enemy capabilities.

The commander's training vision is supported by organizational goals that provide a common direction for all of the commander's programs and systems. Senior leaders involve their staff and their subordinate commanders in goal development to ensure common understanding and to create an organizational team approach. Following are examples of organizational goals:

  • Establish and support a command climate conducive to developing a high level of individual, leader, and collective warfighting proficiency (all types of organizations).
  • Conduct force integration while continuously maintaining the short-term readiness of the organization (MTOE and TDA organizations).
  • Develop and integrate the doctrine required to field combined arms and joint service teams that can fight and win on the battlefield (AC and RC schools).
  • Recruit and retain high-quality soldiers and leaders (RC organizations). Through the training planning process, the commander's guidance (training vision, goals, and priorities) is melded together with the METL and the training assessment into manageable training plans.


Training Plans

There are three types of training plans: long-range, short-range, and near-term. A general comparison of long-range, shortrange, and near-term plans is at Figure 3-3. Properly developed training plans will--

  • Maintain a consistent battle focus. Each headquarters in the organization involves its subordinate headquarters in the development of training plans. Based on the higher headquarter's plan, subordinate commanders prepare plans which have a battle focus that is congruous throughout the organization.
  • Be coordinated between associated combat, combat support, and combat service support organizations. Brigade and battalion task force (TF) commanders plan for coordinated combined arms and services training of their wartime task organizations. "Slice" commanders actively participate in this process and develop complementary training plans. Corps and division commanders require integrated training plans and monitor coordination efforts during the planning process.


  • Focus on the correct time horizon. Long-range training plans in the AC extend out at least one year. The RC long-range plans consider a minimum of two years. Short-range training plans in the AC normally focus on an upcoming quarter (three months) while RC short-range training plans typically use a one year planning' horizon. Near-term planning for the AC starts approximately eight weeks prior to the execution of training; for the RC, approximately four months prior.
  • Be concerned with future proficiency. Training plans must focus on raising or sustaining the proficiency level of mission essential tasks to the Army standard.
  • Cause organizational stability. Changes disrupt training and frustrate subordinate leaders and soldiers. Planning allows organizations to anticipate and incorporate change in a coordinated and predictable manner.
  • Make the most efficient use of resources. The planning process allocates limited time and other resources for training that contributes most to achieving and sustaining wartime proficiency levels.


Major Army command (MACOM) and corps commanders publish their single training guidance document sufficiently in advance to provide adequate planning time for both their troop-listed wartime units and supporting peacetime organizations. Guidance at these senior levels is critical to the development and integration of a large number of subordinate AC and RC long range training plans. Therefore, long lead times are the norm. MACOM and corps commanders normally follow the long-range planning cycle shown at Figure 3-4.

Command Training Guidance (CTG). The CTG is published at division and brigade (or equivalent) levels to document the organization's long-range training plan. It is the training analogue of the organization's operational war plan. It must be read and understood by all commanders, staff officers, and senior noncommissioned officers. The CTG will be used as a ready reference for the planning, execution, and assessment of training throughout the long-range planning period. Examples of topics normally addressed in the CTG are--

  • Commander's training philosophy.
  • Mission essential task list and associated battle tasks.
  • Combined arms training.
  • Major training events and exercises.
  • Leader training.
  • Individual training.
  • Mandatory training.
  • Standardization.
  • Training evaluation and feedback.
  • New equipment training and other force integration considerations.
  • Resource allocation.
  • Training management.

The long-range planning cycles for AC and RC divisions and subordinate headquarters are at Figures 3-5 and 3-6.

Long-Range Planning Calendar. All echelons from division to battalion publish the long-range planning calendar concurrently with the CTG. The calendar graphically depicts the schedule of events described in the CTG. The long-range planning calendar in an AC division or equivalent headquarters will normally extend at least two years into the future. In addition, any known major training events scheduled beyond the normal planning window should appear on the long-range planning calendar. To provide extended planning guidance for RC organizations, AC and RC planners routinely forecast major events that require RC participation for up to four years into the future. They include these major events, such as annual training periods and overseas deployments for training (ODT), on their long-range calendars. Upon publication and approval by higher headquarters, long-range planning calendars are "locked in" to provide planning stability to subordinate organizations.

Commanders coordinate long-range planning calendars with subordinate commanders, support agencies (such as medical commands), and any other organizations that might generate training detractors if not fully integrated into the training organization's long-range plan.


Senior leaders at all levels eliminate nonessential activities that detract from METL-based training. In peacetime, however, certain activities occur that do not directly relate to an organization's wartime mission but are important to other Army priorities. An example for the AC is support of ROTC summer training; for the RC, state-directed requirements for Army National Guard units. These peacetime activities are limited by senior leaders to the maximum extent possible. Those which are absolutely essential are included in long-range planning documents. When assigned these activities, commanders continually seek to extract mission-related training opportunities at all times.

Time Management. During long-range planning, commanders organize training time to support mission essential training and concentrate training distracters in support periods. In addition to individual requirements such as leave and medical appointments, units may have temporary duty details and other support functions at the installation level. Failure to consider these requirements early in the planning process can cause disruption to planned mission essential training.




Time management systems create prime time training periods for subordinate organizations to concentrate on mission essential training. Figure 3-7 describes one such system, a Green-Amber-Red Time Management System. Organizations in Green periods conduct planned training without distraction and external taskings. Units in Red periods execute details and other administrative requirements and allow the maximum number of soldiers to take leaves. Block leave is a technique which permits an entire unit to take leave for a designated period of time. Organizations in Amber periods are assigned support taskings beyond the capability of those units in the Red period, but commanders strive for minimal disruption to Amber organizations' training programs.

Figure 3-7 lists some of the training and support concepts that generally characterize time management periods. Specific activities will vary between installations according to the local situation and requirements. Time management periods are depicted on applicable long-range planning calendars.

Training Events. Senior commanders link training strategies to executable training plans by designing and scheduling training events. During long-range planning, commanders and their staffs make a broad assessment of the number, type, and duration of training events required to accomplish METL training. In the subsequent development of short-range training plans, they fully define training events in terms of METL-based training objectives, scenarios, resources, and coordinating instructions. Through training events, senior commanders--

  • Develop wartime mission-related scenarios.
  • Focus the entire organization on several METL tasks.
  • Integrate all battlefield operating systems (BOS) into coordinated combined arms and services training.

Major training events are the common building blocks that support an integrated set of METL-related training requirements. Included in long-range training plans, major training events form the framework for resource allocation and provide early planning guidance to subordinate commanders and staffs.

By developing and coordinating training events, the organization is able to bring together, at one time, the training areas and facilities, opposing forces (OPFOR), controllers, evaluators, and other resources that create the most realistic and battle focused training. Typical training events are shown in Figure 3-8.

During planning, senior commanders allocate maximum training time to subordinates. Some large-scale training events, however, must be planned so that senior commanders can exercise and integrate all battlefield operating systems within their wartime organizations. The training value of these large-scale exercises to the entire command is increased when subordinate headquarters participate in developing multiechelon training objectives and scenarios.

In recent years, the Army has increasingly emphasized externally supported training events in which a headquarters senior to the unit being trained provides assistance in the form of detailed planning, additional resources, and evaluation. Support provided by the higher headquarters usually includes a METL-derived scenario with associated training and evaluation outlines (T&EOs), an OPFOR, observer-controllers, and evaluation support. The Army's combat training centers are prime examples of organizations which provide combined arms and services battle-focused training that is externally supported. CTCs provide training events that are based on each participating organization's METL and conducted under realistic combat conditions. Externally supported training events can also be conducted in local and major training areas to enable the units being trained to focus exclusively on the execution of training.

Organizations can only obtain the full training benefits of externally supported events through carefully planned preparatory training. Therefore, a priority during long range planning is to develop METL-based training programs that thoroughly prepare individuals and units for CTC rotations and similar events. This approach will obtain the highest levels of wartime proficiency from resource intensive externally supported events.

Training Resources. The commander uses his assessment of METL and battle tasks to determine the resource priorities for training requirements. During both long-and short-range planning, constrained resources may require deletion of low-priority training requirements, substitution of less costly training alternatives, or requests to higher headquarters for additional resources. To the extent possible, commanders "lock in" resources before publishing training plans. Common sources for resource information include--

  • Command operating budget.
  • Flying Hour Program.
  • Ammunition authorizations.
  • Fuel allocations.
  • Force integration documents.
  • Higher headquarters training plans.
  • Local directives on training areas and facilities.

A METL-based events approach to resource planning is used for the allocation of time, facilities, ammunition, funds, fuel products, and other resources. For example, a reasonably close approximation of the future POL (Class III) and repair parts (Class IX) resource requirements (the most significant operations and maintenance costs in a tank battalion) can be calculated for a training event, as shown in Figure 3-9.


The same procedure is followed to determine the costs for each projected training event and totalled into an aggregate training cost for the year (Figure 3-10).

There is a relationship between the number of miles or hours that an item of equipment, such as a tank, is operated and the dollars required to purchase the repair parts and POL for that piece of equipment. Funding authority to purchase the projected repair parts, fuel products, and other items necessary to support the training mission is allocated to units based on operating tempo (OPTEMPO). The OPTEMPO of an organization is the average annual miles or hours of operation for its major equipment systems. The total annual training cost of the desired list of training events, as shown in the example at Figure 3-10, which represents an OPTEMPO of 800 miles per tank, is then compared with budget projections to determine if the desired training is affordable. If the battalion is not projected to receive sufficient resources to finance the projected list of events, the list of events may have to be revised by the commander, as illustrated in Figure 3-11.



A resource analysis allows leaders at all levels to make training trade-offs, within various budget and program levels, that best support the commander's training strategy. In Figure 3-11, the example shows that if the unit conducted fewer FTXs and LFXs (which require high densities of equipment and relatively high resource expenditures) and added less expensive CFXs and CPXs, resource constraints could be met. The commander determines the effect these substitutions will have on attaining desired levels of training proficiency. He then provides this information to the next higher commander who will either provide additional resources or approve the constrained resource plan.

By summing up fiscal resource projections of subordinate units, commanders at higher levels are able to estimate resource requirements necessary to support their training strategies. Similar analyses are conducted to estimate ammunition, facilities, and other resources. When the commander completes the tradeoff analysis, he includes the resulting events and associated resources in the long-range training plan.

A significant resource consideration in Reserve Component planning is the allocation of available training time. Limited training time requires RC commanders to prioritize training requirements. They may have to train on fewer tasks so that Army standards can be attained. RC commanders compensate for lack of training time by carefully distributing training requirements over longer periods of time and identifying selected training tasks for execution during postmobilization training.


Short-range training plans define in greater detail the broad guidance on training events and other activities contained in the long-range training guidance and long-range calendar. They refine the allocation of resources to subordinate organizations and provide a common basis for preparing near-term training plans.

Short-Range Training Guidance. Each level from division through battalion publishes short-range training guidance that enables the commander and staff to prioritize and refine mission essential training guidance contained in the long-range CTG. Commanders must publish the short-range training guidance with sufficient lead time to ensure subordinate units have time to develop their own short-range training plans. As shown in Figure 3-12, the AC division provides quarterly training guidance to subordinate commands and installations at least 90 days prior to the start of each quarter. After receiving guidance from higher headquarters, subordinate units down to battalion sequentially publish their quarterly training guidance (QTG). The RC process is conceptually the same as the AC process, but the guidance normally is published annually as yearly training guidance (YTG) (Figure 3-13).

An important aspect of the QTG and YTG development process is the role of the NCO. Within the framework of the commander's guidance, the CSM and other key NCOs provide planning recommendations on the organization's individual training program. They identify the individual training tasks that must be integrated into collective mission essential tasks during the short-range planning period.

Examples of topics normally addressed in the QTG and YTG are-

  • Commander's assessment of mission essential task list proficiency.
  • Training priorities.
  • Combined arms and services training.
  • A cross-reference of training events and associated METL training objectives.
  • Individual training.
  • Leader development.
  • Preparation of trainers and evaluators.
  • Training evaluation and feedback.
  • Force integration.
  • Resource guidance.
  • Training management.

Short-Range Planning Calendar. The short-range planning calendar refines an applicable portion of the long-range planning calendar. Sequential development of supporting calendars provides the time lines necessary for small-unit leaders to prepare near-term training schedules. In preparing a short-range planning calendar, details are added to further define the major training events contained on the long-range planning calendar. Some examples of these details include--

  • The principal daily activities of major training events.
  • Local training area (LTA) or garrison training activities conducted in preparation for major training events and evaluations.
  • Other mandatory training which has a direct bearing on METL and warfighting, such as Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT), weapons qualification, or water safety training.
  • Significant nontraining events or activities that must be considered when scheduling training. Examples are national or local holidays and installation support missions. The short-range training calendar is coordinated with appropriate installation support agencies to create a common training and support focus between supported and supporting organizations.



Training Events. Major training events are identified and scheduled during the long-range planning process. During short-range planning, these events are refined in terms of wartime mission-related scenarios, collective and individual training objectives, resources, and coordinating instructions. A major aspect of short-range training event design is the preplanned scheduling of time for additional training prior to the end of the training to ensure that all training tasks are performed to standard. Detailed information on training events may appear in the organization's short-range training guidance or in separate documents such as exercise directives or letters of instruction.

Multiechelon Training. Limited time and other resources do not permit developing sequential training programs, in which eachmechelon from lower to higher is successively trained to reach interim "peaks" in proficiency. Therefore, leaders use a multiechelon training approach to plan training events. Multiechelon training allows simultaneous training and evaluation on any combination of individual and collective tasks at more than one echelon. Multi-echelon training is the most efficient and effective way of training and sustaining a diverse number of mission essential tasks within limited periods of training time.


Figure 3-14 is an example sequence for an AC division-directed, multiechelon training event conducted by two battalions--to allow for cross attachment. This example depicts mission essential training tasks for each echelon from battalion TF through crew. Various exercise techniques (MILES, battle simulation, live fire) are used to accomplish the specified training objectives. The designation of control and evaluation organizations is an important aspect of externally supported training exercises. This allows the units performing training to focus on execution of training while other organizations provide the necessary control, evaluation, and administrative support. This example training event can be used to illustrate two approaches to multiechelon training:

  • Multiechelon training occurs when an entire organization focuses on one major task. For example, a battalion task force performs a number of tasks simultaneously to ensure a successful river crossing (Figure 3-15).
  • Multiechelon training also occurs when an organization is simultaneously conducting different major activities. An example is depicted in Figure 3-16 with the battalion and company headquarters participating in a battle simulation while the platoons, squads, and crews are concurrently conducting live fire exercises.


Figure 3-17 depicts a multiechelon training concept for an RC division annual training period. It addresses some RC-unique training considerations, such as the use of the CAPSTONE wartime headquarters, Maneuver Training Command, and AC support of RC training.



Larger-scale training events also provide an opportunity for valuable individual, crew, and small-unit training. These exercises, however, can result in unproductive training for soldiers at lower echelons unless senior leaders plan multiechelon training down to the smallest participating units. For example, a corps FTX may offer an excellent training opportunity for corps and division staffs to synchronize joint operations. However, the corps commander and other senior leaders must require that METL-based training objectives are planned at every level within the organization. This approach provides challenging and relevant training for all participants.

Training Resources. In short-range planning, commanders allocate training resources to subordinate organizations for specific training activities. As required, adjustments are made from the initial resource projections contained in long-range plans. The key requirement for division and brigade commanders is to coordinate short-range training plans with the various resource processes that support training. Examples of these processes are Program Budget Advisory Committee (PBAC) meetings, ammunition forecasts, and training area and facility scheduling conferences.

Short-Range Training Briefings. The short-range training briefing is a conference conducted by senior commanders to review and approve the training plans of subordinate units. It is conducted before the time period addressed in the quarterly or yearly training guidance. AC units conduct quarterly training briefings (QTBs). RC units conduct yearly training briefings (YTBs).

Division commanders receive the short-range training briefing from subordinate brigades and all battalions in the division. The brigade commander and CSM present the overview of the brigade training plan; battalion commanders and CSMs personally present detailed briefings of their training plans. All habitually associated slice commanders participate in preparing and conducting the training briefing.

Training briefings produce a training contract between the senior commander and each subordinate commander. The senior commander provides resources and protects the subordinate unit from unprogrammed taskings. The subordinate commander then locks in and executes the approved training plan. This shared responsibility helps maintain priorities, achieve unity of effort, and synchronize actions to achieve quality training and efficient resourcing.

The training briefing is a highlight of the senior commander's leader development program. It provides the commander an opportunity to coach and teach subordinates on the fine points of his philosophy and strategies in all aspects of warfighting, to include doctrine, training, force integration, and leader development. It enables subordinate commanders, some of whom may be new to the organization, to gain a better understanding of how their mission essential training relates to the battle-focused training programs of their senior commanders and peers.

The senior commander specifies the format and content of the briefing in the QTG or YTG. However, the briefing guidance should be flexible enough to provide subordinate commanders and CSMs the latitude to highlight their initiatives and priorities.

During the training briefing, the subordinate commanders, as a minimum, usually address these specific areas:

  • A review of the last short-range planning period's accomplishments and shortfalls.
  • The organization's METL and assessment of proficiency levels.
  • A discussion of the unit's training focus and objectives for its upcoming training period.
  • A presentation of the organization's short-range planning calendar.
  • A description of upcoming training events.
  • Leader development program, with emphasis on officer warfighting skill development.
  • Approach to be used for preparing trainers and evaluators.
  • Force integration plans for the upcoming period.
  • Resource allocation.

Each CSM normally follows his commander's presentation. The CSM provides an analysis of the unit's individual training proficiency and discusses the unit's planned individual training and education. Example discussion topics include ---

  • Individual training proficiency feedback received concerning previous short-range planning period.
  • An assessment of the organization's current individual training proficiency.
  • Individual training events planned during the upcoming short-range planning period and strategy to prepare soldiers for these evaluations.
  • A description of METL-derived individual tasks to be integrated with upcoming collective mission essential tasks.
  • Marksmanship and physical fitness programs.
  • The organization's education program
  • The NCO leader development program and its relationship to improving warfighting skills.


Near-term planning is primarily conducted at battalion and subordinate command levels. It is conducted to--

  • Schedule and execute training objectives specified in the short-range training plan to the Army standard.
  • Make final coordination for the allocation of resources to be used in training.
  • Provide specific guidance to trainers.
  • Complete final coordination with other units that will participate in training as part of the combined arms or services slice.
  • Prepare detailed training schedules.
Near-term planning covers a six- to eight-week period prior to the conduct of training for AC units (Figure 3-18) , and a four-month period prior to training for RC units (Figure 3-19) . Formal near-term planning culminates when the unit publishes its training schedule.

Training Meetings. Near-term planning includes the conduct of training meetings to create a bottom-up flow of information regarding specific training proficiency needs of the small-unit and individual soldier. Platoons, companies, and battalions conduct training meetings. At battalion level, training meetings primarily cover training management issues; at company and platoon level, they are directly concerned with the specifics of conducting training.

Training Schedules. Near-term planning results in detailed training schedules. Training schedule formats may vary among organizations, but they all---

  • Specify when training starts and where it takes place.
  • Allocate the correct amount of time for scheduled training and also additional training as required to correct anticipated deficiencies.
  • Specify individual, leader, and collective tasks to be trained.
  • Provide concurrent training topics that will efficiently use available training time.
  • Specify who conducts the training and who evaluates the results.
  • Provide administrative information concerning uniform, weapons, equipment, references, and safety precautions.

Training is locked in when training schedules are published. Senior commanders establish policies to minimize changes to the training schedule, such as requiring that battalion commanders personally approve training schedule changes. Command responsibility is established as follows:

  • The company commander drafts the training schedule.
  • The battalion commander approves the schedule and provides necessary administrative support.
  • The brigade commander reviews each training schedule published in his command.
  • The division commander reviews selected training schedules in detail and the complete list of organization-wide training highlights developed by the division staff.

Senior leaders provide feedback to subordinates on training schedule quality and subsequently attend as much training as possible to ensure that mission essential tasks are accomplished to standard.



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