Below is a commentary from the leader of the U.S. Army Armor Center’s Scout Leader’s Course at Fort Knox KY. They are adapting the new Army training and education doctrine called Outcomes Based Training and Education (OBT&E), in which Adaptive Leaders Methodology (ALM) is described in detail in my book Raising the Bar. In Raising the Bar it is called the Adaptive Course Model (ACM), but the Army changed it to ALM.
Begin the commander’s commentary.
Commentary #1 2009 -Scout Leaders Course Is Adapting: Enter the Army
Reconnaissance Course and Outcomes Based Training and Education (OBT&E)
With 8 years of experience behind us and the prospect of persistent conflict before us, the task at hand is to find an “aim point” along the spectrum of conflict against which to organize, train, and equip our formations and develop our leaders. What the nation needs is a balance of capabilities that can be applied by agile leaders when we confront an adaptive enemy. Or, if you prefer, a balance of capabilities that can applied by adaptive leaders against an agile enemy. GEN Martin Dempsey, 10 MAR 09
How does the Scout Leaders Course (SLC) achieve the outcome that GEN Dempsey, the Armys chief trainer, clearly defined? With the increase of reconnaissance units and Soldiers in the Armys organization, the SLC is directed to transform in conjunction with other Army courses into the
Army Reconnaissance Course (ARC). The ARC increases its student load from approximately 250 Soldiers trained in FY09 to 1300 Soldiers by FY12.
Additionally, the scope of the program of instruction (POI) includes all of the varied organizations and missions of reconnaissance units
from ACR scout platoons to IBCT battalion scout platoons. Underlying both of these requirements is the moral mandate to prepare reconnaissance leaders for war. (See the terrific high-level discussion in the Small Wars Journal (SWJ) on how to properly define war and warfare.
We are attacking this tough mission by leveraging OBT&E.
What is OBT&E? Outcomes Based Training and Education promotes the development of adaptive thinking, individual initiative, collective agility and most importantly, confidence of participants in all aspects of training and education. It enhances learning in training settings while it also encourages a more grounded understanding of complex topics in
educational settings. It may offer trainers a bridge to bring training/educational philosophies and actual practice closer together.
Rather than a radical departure or an entirely new methodology, OBT&E
serves as an application of concepts associated with visualization of training
purposes and goals. OBT&E empowers leaders by fostering initiative and accountability, empowers trainers to produce meaningful results, and empowers Scouts with the knowledge and confidence about their
capacity to be effective and why that is important. OBT&E links the battle
command and mission command outlined in FM 3-0 to Army training requirements and enables our Scouts for success in full spectrum operations.
How does the SLC get there? The ARC pilot iteration is 23 MAR-21 APR 09. P/3/16 CAV requested and received permission to outsource some assistance in the preparation of the new course and Wexford Group (whom contracts for the Asymmetric Warfare Group (AWG) who I work with many of their outstanding trainers) was awarded a contract. The squadron and troop leadership have taken advantage of the real training expertise resident in the Wexford Group and combined it with the enormous
combat and training experience of our cadre to improve and expand the current POI.
We are in the final phase of material and instructor development at this writing. The Outcome of the course is to produce reconnaissance leaders who are observably better than other Soldiers at reconnaissance skills in tough, demanding conditions that replicate combat as closely as
possible. Scout leaders are faced with very complex problems that have
ramifications high above their echelons. Our aim point is to foster the skills that will allow junior Scout leaders to solve problems that are not even readily defined.
Rest assured that the cadre are holding the line on traditional scout missions (zone, area, route reconnaissance, screen, and area security), yet we are presenting these recurring tactical problems in contexts that force the
leaders to make tough decisions and then execute courses of action with the best information available.
For more information on a particular supporting segment of OBT&E, I recommend the following reading: Raising the Bar: Creating and Nurturing Adaptability to Deal with the Changing Face of War by Donald E. Vandergriff. This short, easy-reading monograph identifies and explains the reasons why Army training needs to improve and ways to do it. He focuses on instructor
development and experiential learning through tactical decision exercises and force-on-force free play.