Here in the second most liberal city in the nation there is a bumper sticker that I see fairly often. It says, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if schools had all the money they need and the Army had to have bake sales to buy bombs?”
For the last two Army training courses I’ve been to, I wonder if that is not the case. At both courses the leadership complained about not being able to get proper funding. In the case of WTC, a good portion of the staff had just been mobilized in support of OIF. Both schools were very obviously lacking funds to operate effectively. Both schools also suffered a compressed schedule which was the result of the Army attempting to avoid paying soldiers attending the course the higher BAH rates they get when on orders for more than 29 days.
It is a mantra of Army training to teach to standard not to time. Yet, the Army seems to being setting schools up for failure. In this last course that I attended, the schedule allowed for one day off in a 29 day course. This means that the instructors only get one day off as well. And still the pace was so fast that many simply memorized what they thought they needed for the test so that they could pass the class. Few of us actually retained the information that was disseminated. Moreover, in order to understand Civil Affairs it is important to grasp the concepts involved which is much more difficult than simply digesting information. It is impossible to teach to standard when you are not provided the time necessary.
It is a pity really. The 38B Reclassification Course has some very dedicated people who would very much like to train and develop skilled Civil Affairs operators to send down range. They work very hard to do a good job with the limited resources that they are given. The same was true of Warrior Transition Course. The Army needs to deliver on its own doctrine and provide the time and resources so that the trainers can spend their effort on training soldier rather than on compensating for the limitations that the Army puts them under.
[posted with ecto]