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A unit's ability to accomplish a mission depends on its soldiers' ability to perform individual tasks and, at the same time, to operate effectively as a unit. A battle drill is a collective task at squad or platoon level identified by the commander as one of the unit's most vital tasks for success on the modern battlefield. Mission, enemy, terrain, troops, and time (METT-T) do not affect it. A successful battle drill requires minimal leader actions to execute and is executed usually on a cue such as enemy actions or a leader's order. The key principle is that it is executed the same way every time. Battle drills can be equipment-based or enemy action based. The drills must be designed to integrate individual and collective training.

Battle drills--

  • Relate directly to the use of TOE systems to collectively accomplish given Army Training and Evaluation Program (ARTEP) tasks.

  • Build teamwork.

  • Allow units to perform critical tasks quickly through repetitive practice.

  • Save lives.


Battle drills successfully train personnel through deliberate repetitious training. This makes necessary actions become second nature. The trainer, an expert on each drill and its individual tasks, should train the soldiers on specific tasks. In the beginning, each leader and soldier should talk through the drill and the steps involved to succeed. Once each role and its importance to the drill's overall success is defined, the trainer talks each soldier through his role. Each soldier should know the tasks of the people around him as well as he knows his own. The soldiers walk deliberately through the tasks on the ground, correct mistakes, and do not proceed until they get it right. Soldiers work repeatedly on the tasks at faster and faster speeds ensuring that the standards are accurately and continuously met. As the unit improves, additional factors (stress, environmental changes, and different MOPP levels) are added to the sterile environment to make the tasks more difficult to do.

Training should be as tough as safety allows; safety is paramount. The resulting instantaneous precise actions become combat multipliers on the modern battlefield.


The following format is a guide for the trainer to stimulate thought in training and develop battle drills. Use a Go/No-Go evaluation to record satisfactory and unsatisfactory performance. Battle drills should be written to include the following information:

  • Drill title.

  • Objective (task, cue, and standards).

  • Soldier's manual/collective/TC tasks that support the drill.

  • Instructions for setting up the drill.

  • Step-by-step instructions to implement drill.

  • Performance measures.

  • MOPP-level effects on training.

  • Changes that make training more challenging.

  • Frequency of training calendar.

  • Unit evaluation standards to send to higher commands for outside evaluation.

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