Train as you fight is the fundamental principle upon which all training is based.
The business of warfighting and training for combat is inherently dangerous. Mistakes happen. Leading soldiers is an awesome responsibility and every day is not guaranteed to be smooth and fun. Mistakes are made as soldiers do their best to execute the missions and tasks the Army asks them to do. A zero-defects mentality is not a good thing. In fact, it leads to soldiers being hesitant to do tough, realistic training for fear that a mistake could mar their careers.
An exercise is collective training designed to develop proficiency and teamwork in performing tasks to established standards. Exercises also provide practice for the performance of supporting critical leader and soldier individual tasks. Exercises are used to train leaders under the most realistic simulated battle conditions and/or other mission-unique conditions and to verify and validate unit Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures (TTP) used during the mission being trained.
Leaders ensure that soldiers and units are trained realistically to cope with the complex, stressful, and lethal situations that they will encounter in war. Commanders do more than manage training. Their personal presence and involvement demonstrate to all that training is the number one priority. Battalion commanders train company commanders, company commanders train platoon leaders, and so on. Commanders and leaders train the trainers. Training must conform to Army doctrine. Common procedures and uniform operational methods permit commanders and units to adjust rapidly to changing tactical situations. Because Reserve Component units will deploy and fight with active forces in the event of war, they adopt and sustain standardized tactical and support methods.
All training should be performance-oriented. Tasks are trained to meet standards, not merely to occupy the time programed on the training schedule. The unit wartime mission is the basis for the development of tasks and the specific standards to which each task must be executed. Applying this principle is especially important in Reserve Component units because their training time is so limited.
The cornerstone of today's Army is the combined arms team. Combined arms proficiency develops only when teams are habitually associated in training exercises. Cross-attachment of units and routine employment of the full spectrum of combat, combat support, and combat service support functions must be regularly practiced.
Once units have trained to a required level of proficiency, they must sustain it. To sustain proficiency, commanders must continuously evaluate performance and design training programs to correct weaknesses and to reinforce strengths. Training must be challenging. The pride and satisfaction gained by meeting training challenges increase both the capacity and motivation for further challenges.
Exercises are designed to improve mission capability by training units and/or staffs as functional elements of the organizational level being exercised. Exercises provide a challenge that builds upon the unit's capabilities with the aim of subsequent participation in more difficult and complex exercises. Peacetime chains of command assess the training needs of their units and ensure participation in exercises that provide a demanding mission related experience.
Integration of battle simulations is key to successful exercise play. This emphasizes current doctrine and the correct application of sound tactical principles, and allows command and staff participa-tion in multi-echelon training. Use of battle simulations are encouraged where consistent with the goals and objectives of the exercise. Training with simulations can offset problems associated with safety, environment, funding, and availability of participating units.
The OPLAN alignments and AC/RC training associations provide the basis for exercise participation. For units listed on more than one OPLAN, the METL development priorities also apply to exercise priorities. The RC units are encouraged to participate in exercises with their AC associate unit/corps, where assigned. With requirements for multi-mission capable units that can effectively respond to both MTW and SSC operations under any select headquarters, participa-tion in exercises with AC associate units/corps supports the force projection strategy and replicates anticipated employment scenarios.
The Combined Arms Training Strategy (CATS) is the Army's overarching strategy for current and future training. It describes how the Army trains and sustains the total force, to standard, in the institution and the unit. The Training Mission Area (TMA) concept provides the Army the trairiing support necessary to execute the CATS. A key program in the TMA is the Combat Training Center (CTC) Program.
The Combat Training Center (CTC) program was designed to be the cornerstone of the Army's most important training missions - that of preparing battalion task forces, brigades, divisions and corps for combat in an environment that permits individuals and units to sharpen their combat skills in the most realistic environment outside of actual combat. The purpose of the CTC Program is to provide tough, realistic combined arms training and to serve as a data source for improving training, doctrine, organizations and equipment.
The Army employs four combat training centers: The Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC), The National Training Center (NTC), The Combat Maneuver Training Center (CMTC), and The Battle Command Training Program (BCTP). Each of the CTCs focuses on specific warfighting elements. The NTC, located at Fort Irwin, California, trains the Army's mechanized and armor battalion task forces in scenarios that depict the mid-to-high intensity combat. The Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, LA, is designed to train non-mechanized units in low-to-mid intensity conflict scenarios. The CMTC at Hohenfels, Germany, provides the CTC training experience for the United States Army Europe (USAREUR) forward deployed battalions. The Battle Command Training Program (BCTP) at Fort Leavenworth, KS, was created to train Army corps, division commanders and their battle staffs in low-to-high intensity conflict scenarios. The training consists of two parts. The first phase is a five-day seminar where the commander and his battle staff conduct a doctrinal review and war gaming practical exercise. The second phase, called the "Warfighter", is a nine-day command post exercise (CPX).
The United States Army's Combat Training Centers provide realistic, tough, hands-on training to the best Army in the world. Through the use of high-tech equipment, realistic Opposing Forces, professional Observer/Controller teams, and intense, realistic scenarios, training units discover their strengths and weaknesses as they can no where else in the world except in real combat.
Each CTC is custom fit to a different theater of operation the U.S. Army may encounter in its many endevours throughout the world. The National Training Center focuses on High Intensity Conflicts in the desert, while JRTC focuses on light fighting skills. The Combat Maneuver Training Center prepares units to fight in the European scenario in High Intensity Conflicts, Peace Support Operations, and a combination of both.
Instrumented field exercises are used at each of these locations to improve the readiness of battalion and brigade-sized units. These training opportunities build on home-station training, which is limited by range availability. The Army trained 10 heavy brigades in FY 1998 at the NTC and 10 light brigades at the JRTC, while providing annual training opportunities at the CMTC for all of its European-based infantry and armor battalions.
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