Army Training

Cornerstone of
Operational Success

Many units in Iraq and Afghanistan have been required to provide security across vast operational areas while responding to the range of unpredictable enemy activities with a disciplined and measured response on a moment's notice... Effective live training, carried out to a high doctrinal standard, is the cornerstone of operational success.

Changes at
Fort Carson

The Army is finalizing Army Training Transformation and converting all Active Component (AC) and Reserve Component (RC) units to Brigade Combat Teams.

Land - Ground forces need large contiguous maneuver or training areas with urban training range complexes and road networks to support "free-flowing" exercises that replicate the contemporary operating environment.

Air - Aviation, communication, reconnaissance, and artillery units operate above the ground and over large areas of non-contiguous land that is remote from other units.

Combining the Air above and Land below

The effective integration of these units with ground maneuvers is increasingly critical to the success of Army operations and requires intensive training and rehearsal at home stations.

Full Spectrum of Support – Army BCTs and battalions are required to conduct training missions across the spectrum of operations Soldiers will likely have to execute in a combat situation. This includes:

  • peace support and stability operations, (for example, humanitarian aid and riot control),
  • low-intensity conflict response (for example, counterinsurgency operations), and
  • missions simulating high-intensity conflict (for example, battlefield engagements against an equipped, armed, and organized opposing force).

Realistic Training – Effective live training, carried out to a high doctrinal standard, is the cornerstone of operational success. Simulating noncontiguous training increases the depth of the battlefield and requires increased reliance on command, control, communications, and reconnaissance and intelligence gathering systems. It requires flexibility and the movement of units to support combat maneuver elements of the BCT.

A soldier successfully detonates ordnance from a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device during a training scenario.

Combat support and combat service support units could be located in brigade or battalion areas that are distant from the forward combat and maneuver elements; such units also must be prepared to provide security over large areas and respond to enemy actions as the operation and tactical situation changes.

Dominant land forces – Extensive land areas 30 miles (mi) by 10 mi [48 kilometers [km] by 16 km]) are currently required to test such skills and capabilities. The BCT is responsible for areas approximately the same size as areas covered by an entire division during World War II.

Night Training – Additional training considerations include the need to conduct realistic maneuver training at night without interference source light pollution. This is especially important because the Army uses night capabilities to its advantage. Operating at night is a critical task for both ground maneuver and aviation units, especially for aviation units using night-vision equipment. As with non-contiguous area training, night exercises require large areas and flight corridors located away from base camps and other light sources.

Terrain – In addition to having adequate space to conduct exercises, effective and realistic training requires the types of terrain encountered in various regions and ecosystems of the world where Army units deploy. Deserts, forests, plains, and mountains all present unique challenges to units conducting combat and support operations, and as discussed above, providing Soldiers with urban training complexes is becoming increasingly important to ensure operational readiness.

Lessons learned – The military's experiences from Iraq and Afghanistan demonstrate that Special Forces operations, intelligence gathering, and the use of joint multi-service and multinational assets (for example, sister service and coalition forces), are also critical to mission success and the defeat of a poorly defined and widely dispersed enemy force.

High-quality training that prepares Soldiers for what they will encounter in the operational environment is essential to ensuring the success of the nation's strategic defense objectives, national security, and the safety of Soldiers.

Home stations, such as Fort Carson, and their maneuver sites, such as the PCMS, must prepare Soldiers for operational deployments and missions. This preparation includes live-fire mission support and maneuver training.

Live fire ranges – Neither high explosives (such as TNT) nor practice rounds fired from tanks are used in training activities at the PCMS, and there is no impact area on the PCMS capable of supporting dud-producing weaponry.

A Soldier trains with the Lightweight .50-Caliber Machine Gun During individual Soldier proficiency training.

That type of training takes place at Fort Carson. At the PCMS, small-arms live-fire ranges provide for live-fire training opportunities to develop and improve Soldier and team proficiency and competence in the use of small-arms weapons, up to .50 caliber machine guns. Small arms live-fire ranges provide live-fire training opportunities to develop and improve Soldier and team proficiency and competence in the use of sophisticated weaponry. Simulated weapons systems, such as the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES) provide many of these opportunities.

In addition to large maneuver areas, the PCMS provides RC Soldiers .and other units stationed at Fort Carson with the capability to conduct individual weapons qualifications, as needed. However, most of this training occurs at Fort Carson. Existing live-fire individual qualification ranges at the PCMS include the 9 millimeter pistol range, rifle range, the machine gun range, the grenade-launcher range (using only practice grenades), and the maneuver live-fire range.

Fort Carson can support the land-area requirements of platoon and limited company maneuver operations but does not have the contiguous maneuver acreage to support doctrinal battalion or BCT-level training. Training projections for Fort Carson establish that Fort Carson can meet platoon-level maneuver requirements, but the PCMS will support most company and all battalion and BCT maneuver training, furthering the need for an expanded training area to prepare Soldiers for combat.

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