Author: SSG Ian Tashima, CAARNG Asst State Marksmanship Coordinator
This piece was originally posted on the CA Military Department Combat Shooting Team page on Facebook, here.
The 8-step training model (see below) is a simple, progressive checklist approach to planning and executing training that can be applied to all training events by all units and all echelons.
Commanders and leaders can use this model to organize and record planning progress and details to ensure proper preparation for an upcoming training event that maximizes the efficient and effective expenditure of limited time and resources.
The 8-step training model also provides a vehicle for creating continuity for similar training events in the future.
- Plan the Training
- Train & Certify Leaders
- Recon the Training Site
- Issue the OPORD
- Execute the Training
- Conduct an AAR
- Retrain/Retry as necessary
Step 1: Plan the Training
During this step, leaders assess the unit’s training level and shortfalls that require training; develop specific, obtainable training objectives for the upcoming event; allocate adequate time in the training schedule; create scenarios and instructions to support the training objectives; identify required resources, including necessary training areas and possible trainers; identify and reduce risks; and develop training-support plans, thereby establishing the groundwork for high-quality training.
- Forecast the ammo and USE the ammo; As soon as you hit T-180 days, jump into RFMSS and get your range reservations; ensure you have the proper target for Table 4, Basic: A8 “bullseye” NSN 6920-01-660-0348; Ensure your supply of Drilled, Dummy, Inert (DDI) rounds are resourced; Coordinate with your local supporting installation’s TSC for barricades your unit can sign out and use for local training at the Armory.
Step 2: Train & Certify Leaders
The “train-the-trainer” concept ensures that those responsible for training the unit, whether they are NCOs, civilians, or Soldiers, are qualified and knowledgeable of the training subject matter and able to provide proper instruction and certification to the unit.
- Certify all of your assistant instructors, coaches, and lane safeties; Make sure your ammo transportation folks are properly certified for the load and drive; RSO/OIC range operations certifications. All of the above must be deep enough to sustain losses of key personnel and still be able to conduct training.
Step 3: Recon the Training Site
Leaders reconnoiter proposed training areas and facilities to ensure that they can adequately support the proposed training and allow the unit to accomplish the desired training objectives.
During this step, leaders at all levels will check to ensure that all resources, training areas, and training-support plans are properly coordinated and prepared for execution. Modifications to the plan may occur during this step to maximize training effectiveness. Training not properly planned, coordinated, and supported with adequate resources should not be performed.
- Be sure you inspect for needed repairs; check the tower’s PA system, all needed electrical outlets are active and “live” with power; Proof the range, per TC 3-20.40; Check to be sure the right targets are installed in the lifters (at one range, F-type silhouettes were recently discovered at the 100m lifters instead of the required E-type); Make sure the targets are programmed to present the course of fire correctly in terms of sequence and timing; ensure the targets are presented to at least 90% exposure (see prior post for info on how to ‘mil’ the targets with your optics to ensure proper target exposure).
Step 4: Issue the OPORD
Commanders and leaders ensure that subordinates have all available information to adequately perform the training. Through the OPORD, the commander clearly identifies the training objectives, presents a clear mission statement, clearly defines the training event and how it will be conducted, and properly tasks subordinate leaders and those who will support the training. Vital to this step is a clear understanding by all of exactly what the training will accomplish, how the unit will accomplish it, what resources will be needed, and who is responsible.
- Be specific with responsibilities; include contingency planning consideration; Issue the WARNO ASAP.
Step 5: Rehearse
Rehearsals are critical to the execution of any plan. All those involved in the training event will conduct a rehearsal to ensure understanding, synchronization, and preparation of the plan. Leaders supervise rehearsals to ensure that those responsible for the training are prepared to conduct efficient, organized, and effective performance-oriented training.
- Rehearse running the line so units can be as efficient as possible, so as to afford shooters as much time as possible to properly group, zero, practice and qualify; Rehearse the courses of fire multiple times in the EST(!); Rehearse actions on injuries on the firing line [do your lane safeties understand the priority of work, incorporating scene safety principles?]
Step 6: Execute the Training
Commanders ensure that the training occurs on schedule. This entails maximum participation, minimum training distracters, and leaders checking by being there and supervising where necessary. This does not mean that leaders run the training event; it allows the trainer to do his or her job while ensuring that the standard is met.
- Execute the training TO STANDARD; Execute ALL of the training – don’t cut corners; “Training” is not telling/yelling/stressing/reading slides.
Step 7: Conduct an AAR
Following the training event, commanders review the training objectives, assess the unit’s training level in respect to the objectives, and obtain lessons learned to improve the training and unit TTPs. Commanders will record all input and file it for future use in other training events or unit SOPs. Unit Training Management (UTM) on the Army Training Network (ATN) provides guidance on conducting effective AARs.
- Conduct the AAR and DOCUMENT IT; REVIEW that AAR before your next event; Include sustains, improves and ACTUAL ammo consumption data so that your next forecast will be more accurate.
Step 8: Retrain/Retry as necessary
Too often this step is neglected because of limited time or resources or other pressing tasks. However, this step is sometimes the most critical. Training instills competency and confidence in Soldiers, units, and leaders and enables the unit to complete its mission as established by the training objectives. Commanders honestly assess their units and ensure that their units train until the standard is met.
- LEADERS MUST BE PRESENT; Retraining can only be successful if the trainer actually observed the errors and problems that specific individuals were experiencing, and that can’t happen if leaders aren’t present in the EST, at Drills practice and on the firing line to observe.
Get more Training Management information out of FM 7-0; Train to Win in a Complex World!
If you are an NCO, you must be familiar with and employ everything in this book. YOU are the primary trainer, not that EST contractor or anyone else.
You can delegate authority to train, but never the responsibility for training and outcomes.
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