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Training Management and Training Exercises


Commanders are responsible for all organizational training. They evaluate soldier and unit proficiency. They identify the training objectives and provide the necessary training guidance. They ensure that the training is supported with the needed resources and that it is properly planned and conducted. They then conduct and evaluate the training and obtain feedback.

Training management is the continuous process commanders use to develop unit training programs. The goal of training management is the best combination of resources, materials, guidance, and time to meet specific training requirements. The training management functions depicted in Figure 1 apply equally to training exercises and to all training conducted in a unit. All management functions in the process take place at the same time. Training management and its applications are explained in detail in FM 25-2.


Planning for training requires input from several sources. Commanders and their planners must know the unit missions, goals, and objectives and the guidance from higher headquarters. They evaluate unit and soldier proficiency and obtain feedback from recent unit training activities. Commanders add their knowledge and experience to this basic information and develop training programs that specifically address unit and soldier training requirements.


Training plans specify training events or activities that require resources and support. To implement those plans, resource actions--

  • Identify.
  • Program.
  • Coordinate.
  • Obtain.
  • Provide the training support necessary.

Training events and activities identified during the planning phase provide input for the assessment of resources required to conduct effective training. Feedback on how well current and past training was supported with resources is also essential input in preparation of the resource assessment.










During long-range planning, commanders and their staffs identify and request resources that require long lead times. During short-range planning, they identify and coordinate resources requiring shorter lead times. In the near-term planning period, they make final arrangements and provide resources to units.


Training can be as simple as performance-oriented training on a soldiers manual task. It can also be as complex as a field training exercise (FTX) using MILES and opposing forces (OPFORs). The training phase requires guidance with appropriate resources based on long-range, short-range, and near-term plans. FM 25-3 provides directions and examples for the conduct of training.


Evaluation is a continuous process. Commanders continually evaluate planning and resource actions to ensure that they meet unit needs and comply with guidance from higher headquarters. Higher headquarters evaluate their own planning and resource actions, as well as those of subordinate units to make sure that they are mutually supporting and focus on the unit mission. Commanders at all echelons evaluate how leaders and soldiers perform. Based upon their evaluations, commanders provide feedback to the chain of command, to the trainers, and to those being trained.


Training in units develops and sustains those individual and collective skills that soldiers and units (including squads, crews, and sections) need to accomplish their missions. To help soldiers' and leaders learn and sustain their skills, commanders develop training programs that implement the best mix of individual, leader, and collective training.

Training in units follows the hierarchy in Figure 2, which FM 25-1 and FM 25-2 discuss in detail. FM 25-3 assists leaders and trainers to conduct training at company level and below. Collective training involves the upper four levels of the hierarchy. The training exercises described in this manual also apply to these levels but concentrate on unit and combined arms and services proficiency.


The diversity of organizations, equipment, and environment inherent in air-land battles presents a major challenge to commanders. They must train soldiers and leaders who can effectively integrate the unit's weapon systems and doctrine to defeat an enemy that may be numerically superior. Training exercises are an effective way to build the team-work necessary to meet this challenge. All training exercises--

  • Sustain and reinforce individual and collective skills.
  • Develop and sustain command and control skills of commanders and their staffs.
  • Support multiechelon training.

Individual and Collective Skills

Training exercises combine individual skills, leader skills, drills, and weapon systems proficiency. Training exercises reinforce and sustain proficiency in individual and collective skills in units. In addition, exercises provide training on collective tasks found in Army Training and Evaluation Programs (ARTEPs) and integrate all elements of the combined arms team. ARTEP tasks are modified as required to accommodate each unit's METT.

Command and Control Skills

Command and control training sustains skill proficiency for leaders, staffs, and individual soldiers. It reinforces common skills and those particular to duty positions. It trains each echelon to respond to the needs of higher, lower, adjacent, and attached combat, combat support (CS), and combat service support (CSS) units. Responding to subordinate units is particularly important. Inexperienced commanders and staffs tend to orient themselves to respond upward and overlook the needs of subordinate units. One of the prime purposes of training exercises is to teach leaders to orient on the needs of subordinate units in a sequence of timely troop-leading steps that allow units to execute the mission properly.

Doctrine and training support materials for command and control training include such items as scenarios, simulation models, and recommended task lists. The unit can adapt these materials to address its unique METT assessment. Command and control training packages prepared by proponent service schools support MOS cross training and train-up and sustainment training. These packages are for each echelon of the command, including combat support and combat service support.

To win air-land battles, all elements of the combined arms and services team must be integrated and need to function effectively on the battlefield. Commanders must be competent in their command and control tasks. Battle staffs must be proficient in executing staff planning responsibilities to achieve full integration of supporting arms and services. Training that enhances these skills should receive emphasis at battalion level and above. The three categories of command and control training are battle staff training, survivability training, and combined arms and services training.

Battle Staff Training. Battle staff training allows commanders and their staffs to fight air-land battles in diverse command post configurations under realistic combat conditions as smoothly functioning teams. This training is vital to command and control of units. It develops the proficiency of individual staff members and molds them into trained teams that can effectively manage and coordinate all systems to support the command's mission. Such training requires that individual staff members know the unit's tactical SOPs (TSOPs) thoroughly. The TSOPs must be updated as appropriate to address changes in unit operations. Battle staff training relies heavily on simulations since they are often the only way to present many air-land battle situations and tasks to enable the commander to train his staff.

Survivability Training. Survivability training ensures proficiency during intense and continuous combat. It ensures that individual soldiers and teams can operate effectively in a variety of situations. It involves those routine tasks that units must perform well to ensure their survival. Examples include--

  • Operations in nuclear, biological, or chemical (NBC) environments.
  • Operations in hostile electronic warfare (EW) environments.
  • Operations using various command post (CP) configurations.
  • Operations required to feed, arm, fuel, and maintain the units' command and control elements.
  • Procedures for succession of command.
  • Limited visibility operations.
  • Activation of alternate communication methods.
  • Activation of alternate command posts.
  • The hand-off between command posts (tactical CP to main CP).
  • Passive air defense.
  • Local security, to include calls for indirect fire and close air support.

Most survivability tasks are detailed in SOPs and provide standardization within a unit. Thus, they can be practiced prior to exercises. There is often no effective substitute, however, for full-scale exercises using all assigned equipment and personnel in a simulated combat environment to assess unit survivability proficiency in an environment that simultaneously employs all systems to full capacity.

Combined Arms and Services Training. Proficiency in combined arms and services training is required for units, staffs, and commanders to fight and win air-land battles. Examples of systems required to be integrated into training are--

  • Fire support.
  • Intelligence.
  • Electronic warfare.
  • Airspace management.
  • Air defense artillery.
  • Ground maneuver.
  • Antiarmor.
  • Combat support.
  • Combat service support.

A single level of command and control first attains proficiency through battle staff training and survivability training. Battle simulations are an important means currently available for commanders and staffs to practice combined arms integration. Once technical proficiency by the battle staff has been achieved, it should be integrated with supporting, supported, and adjacent units in full-scale exercises against a target array or OPFOR that realistically represents the enemy. Although the battlefield cannot be replicated completely, it should be represented accurately to include electronic warfare, sensor, and electronic intelligence targeting. Training aids such as emitters, transponders, jammers, and OPFOR vehicles to represent the enemy formations allow the commander to train the unit to operate under combat conditions.


Training exercises contain three phases: preexercise, execution, and postexercise. The preexercise phase covers planning and preparation. It ends with the start of the execution phase (STARTEX). The execution phase begins at STARTEX and concludes with the end of the exercise (ENDEX). During the execution phase, player units participate in the exercise, which is controlled and evaluated according to plans developed during the preexercise. The postexercise phase, beginning at ENDEX, covers reviews and reports. All training events and exercises should conclude with after-action reviews (AARs). These reviews provide training as substantive as the activity itself. In AARs, commanders determine accomplishment of exercise objectives based on input from staffs, controllers, evaluators, umpires, and OPFORs, as appropriate. Participants should be. encouraged to discuss what happened and why. They should be encouraged to suggest solutions and offer recommendations. To overcome short-comings, exercise participants can make a valuable contribution to training evaluation efforts by gathering information and analyzing the critical lessons learned. These lessons become essential elements of information (EEI) for commanders and trainers in the ongoing training management process. AARs must be conducted periodically during the exercise to gain maximum training benefit.

AARs should be used at every echelon, and they should occur as often as necessary to ensure that participants learn from the training conducted. If the exercise divides into deployment, attack, and defense, for example, an AAR should be conducted after each phase. If significant events, such as a movement to initial positions and a deliberate river crossing, occur in a phase, an AAR should likewise be held after each significant training event. Appendix G contains additional information on AARs.

As soon after ENDEX as possible and prior to leaving the exercise area, controllers, umpires, and evaluators conduct an exit briefing for those players with whom they were closely associated during the execution phase. As soon after ENDEX as possible, the exercise director prepares a formal after-action report for the unit commander. This report, which is distributed through the chain of command, is based on input from controllers, umpires, and evaluators. These reports and the AARs that precede them summarize the exercise. Commanders use them both to observe and evaluate staffs, leaders, and soldiers and to plan future training. The best use of these evaluations is to apply lessons learned to training within the near term (two through six weeks), rather than to file for review prior to the execution of the next major exercise.

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