Sgt. Maj. of the Army: Extending Training Would Bolster Readiness, Lethality

WASHINGTON --

Infantry soldiers could receive another eight weeks of training, stretching the instruction from 14 weeks to 22 weeks, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey said during a forum at the Pentagon, June 25.

Soldiers train on the firing line.
Army Staff Sgt. Chance King, with the 1st Infantry Division’s Sustainment Brigade, shows soldiers how to place the buttstock of the M249 squad automatic weapon to gain a clear and steady sight picture during a field training exercise at Fort Riley, Kan., Dec. 7, 2017. Extending infantry training an extra eight weeks would increase readiness and lethality, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey said June 25, 2018. Army photo by Sgt.1st Class Victor Gardner
Soldiers train on the firing line.
Army Training
Army Staff Sgt. Chance King, with the 1st Infantry Division’s Sustainment Brigade, shows soldiers how to place the buttstock of the M249 squad automatic weapon to gain a clear and steady sight picture during a field training exercise at Fort Riley, Kan., Dec. 7, 2017. Extending infantry training an extra eight weeks would increase readiness and lethality, Sgt. Maj. of the Army Daniel A. Dailey said June 25, 2018. Army photo by Sgt.1st Class Victor Gardner

The extended training will kick off in a pilot program beginning in July and ending in December, Dailey said. Following the pilot, it’s expected the redesigned One Station Unit Training, or OSUT, would start in 2019, he added.

OSUT is a training program in which recruits remain with the same unit throughout Basic Combat Training and Advanced Individual Training. Army training programs are conducted this way, including those for infantry, M1 Abrams crew, combat engineers, cavalry scouts, and military police.

The goal of the extended training is to improve infantry readiness, lethality and proficiency before the soldiers arrive at their first duty station, Dailey explained.

“We want to make our soldiers more capable; we want to give those units receiving those young men and women a better product, and we owe the young men and women coming to the Army the best training we possibly can [give them],” he said.

Dailey said extending the training is neither new nor urgent. “We've been looking at it for a long time,” he said of the additional eight-week instruction.

Balancing Requirements

“We know we can get a better product if we make it long. If we kept people in basic training for a year, we could make an even better product. This is a balance between requirements, resources and readiness and time. So, there's no urgency driving this other than the fact that we know that we can do better,” the SMA said.

The Army has packed a lot into basic training, and it needs to be extended, he said.

“We can do better, and the nature of the complex environment we live in is really what’s driving us to give our units a more capable product in the end,” Dailey said.

Extending OSUT involves increasing readiness and thus preparing for the future, he said. “The pilot program is the first step toward achieving our vision of the Army of 2028,” adding to increased lethality, he added.

Some areas of concentration in the 22-week OSUT pilot include additional weapons and vehicle maintenance training and extended field training exercises, he said.

Extending training in other combat arms is dependent upon the results of the infantry pilot program, the SMA said.

(Follow Terri Moon Cronk @MoonCronkDoD)