The basic training of the United States Army is being redesigned to better train in-coming millennial recruits. The newly enlisted generally lack discipline and act with the sense of entitlement that is often attributed to the younger generation.
The new program will focus on teaching strict discipline with emphasis on drilling, inspections, and pride. There will also be increased attention to physical fitness, marksmanship, and battlefield first aid skills.
In an effort to instill the key survival skills needed in combat, the program will be a return to the importance of the Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills. This is a result of the observed behavior of new soldiers that come out of training seriously lacking obedience.
The officers and senior Army leaders are complaining about the soldiers’ appearance and bad attitude.
New recruits are reported as being careless with equipment, their uniform, and showing poor work ethic. In a push for more disciplined soldiers, the Army is hoping the drill sergeants will help. Drill sergeants may be returning to advanced individual training, the education programs that follow basic training to improve their skills as well.
Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport, the senior enlisted soldier for Training and Doctrine Command understands that the three things a soldier should be when they arrive at their first assignment are to be fit, disciplined, and well trained.
Maj. Gen. Malcolm Frost, commanding general of the U.S. Army Center of Initial Military Training, stated, “What leaders have observed in general is they believe that there is too much of a sense of entitlement, questioning of lawful orders, not listening to instruction, too much of a buddy mentality with NCOs and officers and a lot of tardiness…”
Frost goes on to say that these trends are increasing and that the most prevalent problem is discipline. The problem is discipline… in the Army.
Our new soldiers lack discipline, are not good at basic tasks of a warrior, and do not especially excel at battle drills. Laugh out loud millennials!
This is a far cry from the WWII vets, with their stories of bullet addled bombers with teeth painted on the nose. It also does not match up to those who voluntarily serve multiple tours in the Iraq and Afghan wars. What must the Vietnam Vets think?
The new plan will also focus on manifesting the spirit of the Army or the esprit de corps. In basic training, soldiers will be shown a short film that highlights the battles that produced previous war heroes.
There will also be a return to Drill and Ceremony, which stresses attention to detail. Officers hope that this will help with the lack of discipline and respect for what it means to be an Army soldier.
Overall, physical fitness standards will be increased, combat training hours will also increase 11 more hours. The newly enlisted will then hopefully come out of basic training ready for what lies ahead.
Still, the stereotypical entitled millennial is not a new phenomenon. It is reported that up to 40% are living with their parents well into adulthood.Many leave college with worthless degrees and a mountain of debt.
While some of this is a result of a poor economy during the Obama administration, illegal immigration and increasing automation of the workforce is slowly eroding the future earning capacity of many younger citizens.
However, the millennial recruits have more to overcome than economics. Many are distracted by social media, making face to face interactions more difficult. As the recruits move higher in the ranks, the advanced skills of the officer class will necessarily be negatively affected.
In 2010, the Army announced that it was developing new training for the millennial learner, with improvements to basic training and advanced schooling. By focusing on “Smart Training,” the soldier is taught to think critically and be more dynamic.
Although the Army’s move into the technological age had a great impact on learning, it does not seem to have improved or sustained the discipline and combat training that the soldier needs to be all that he or she can be.
Perhaps the new discipline programming will work in concert with the technological advancements to create an even stronger and smarter soldier than today.
From the Infantryman to the General, the Army should be a model of lock step discipline that every great warrior class displays. The country is here rooting you on, recruit.