Army may slash “Warrior Task”” training.

The Army is set to cut down on the number…

The Army is set to cut down on the number of skills it teaches incoming Soldiers at boot camp and further constrain its “onerous” list of required training for all Joes across the force.

According to Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, the Army’s chief of initial military training with Training and Doctrine Command, the service has recommended that the list of so-called “Warrior Tasks” be cut from a whopping 32 to 12 and that it further slash the “Battle Drills” required of all Soldiers from 11 to four.

“They’ve steadily grown over the years and become too onerous and too [specific] to an infantry Soldier instead of a basic Soldier,” Hertling told during a Feb. 24 roundtable interview with military bloggers. “They were something that were not very well known in the force … and they had become too lengthy.”

The Warrior Tasks and Drills — formalized in 2005 — followed calls from then-Chief of Staff Gen. Pete Schoomaker in 2003 to make basic training more relevant to current combat operations.

The tasks include firing the Army’s entire inventory of infantry weapons, including the Mk19 grenade launcher, .50cal machine gun, and M249; being able to call in a medical evacuation flight; knowing how to maneuver in an urban combat environment; react to an unexploded ordnance hazard; and fortify a temporary fighting position.

“If I asked any group of Soldiers to name one of the Warrior Tasks and Drills, they couldn’t do it … even I didn’t know them,” Hertling added.

The tasks and drills were so specific and took so long to even introduce to Soldiers, much less teach to proficiency, that new Joes were suffering from “task overload” and trainers saw a lot of the effort as a waste of time.

So in October 2009, a group of 150 drill sergeants, trainers and other Army experts got together to cull the list and determine “what should be the defining tasks — what should every Soldier be able to do,” Hertling said.

The group cut both the drills and the tasks by more than half, including pulling the requirement to be able to shoot the .50cal machine gun and set up a Claymore mine — skills Army experts deemed irrelevant to the job of many Soldiers in the force.

“The Claymore is sometimes used in Afghanistan, but you would never use it without some additional training,” Hertling said. “Yet we were teaching every single Soldier how to use it.”

With the .50 caliber machine gun training, Hertling said if you looked at the numbers, trainers were “spending an awful lot of time and consuming an awful lot of resources just to give an introduction to something that the great majority of Soldiers would never do again.”

The slashed list of tasks and drills has been approved by all division commanders and is now sitting on Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey’s desk for final approval, Hertling added. The revamped list was fed into changes in the basic training syllabus which TRADOC officials just completed updating this month.

Read rest of Christian Love’s story at

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  • Jon B.

    We should not play with our soldiers’ lives. It will not serve any purpose to either our soldiers or the nation to cut corners on training.

    If the current amount of Warrior Tasks are too lengthy to be conducted within an eight week basic training cycle; then, extend the cycle!

    Every soldier needs to be prepared. Needless to say, our current and potential adversaries are now aware that our non-combat arms’ soldiers will be made a little more vulnerable by the brass considering this reduction [ and adjusting their tactics accordingly].

    Cutting the Warrior Tasks is not only being negligent; it’s stupid.

  • Jason

    When I deployed to Iraq, I ended up manning a 50 cal on a Hummer while we conducted convoy operations. I am a Combat Medic (68W) by MOS but when they called me back to service I was listed as infatry to fill holes in the unit that I deployed with. I pulled my medical duty as an (advanced combat lifesaver)

    I saw other Soldiers whose MOS’s were desk jobs, and they were driving trucks or manning weapon systems.

    Every Soldier needs to be given the ability to fight and use the weapons in the US inventory.

    This is about the scumbag we have as president cutting the defense budget and weakening our defenses, the end.

  • Front sight jones

    Okay, I can see not training the Claymore but… Not everyone gets the M2 or Mk19 training at premob at least. Only the ones who are assigned to that weapon system.

    The sad news here is that there is no mention of increasing the one soldier skill that is [a] really lacking and [b] really needed in Afghanistan.

    What is that you ask? Rifle Marksmanship. We train Soldiers to engage targets to only 300 meters,[if you want to call what we give them real marksmanship training].

    At least half of all engaements initiated by the Taliban in Afghanistan begin at 500 meters if not 700 meters. This means that only 19% of the direct fire weapons available in our TOE can be used effectively against the enemy. Those weapons are of course the M2, Mk19, M240B and maybe the M249.

    To see how far we have devolved in what was once an honored realm, note that in WWI Soldiers were trainied to fire to 600 yards and those who qualified as sharpshooter or expert were trained to engage targets out to 1,200 yards with iron sights. But soldiers in those days came from a society that valued marksmanship as a manly skill.

  • Manny Fuentes, Jr.

    I think that it is better to have become familiar with all the weapons (for a just in case scenario), than to just let someone not be able to return fire in case of that kind of an emergency.
    But, I guess the Army knows best….right ?
    Isn’t that the same training that PVT Jessica Lynch got ? The type of training that let her NCO’s NOT to ensure proper weapon’s maintenance was being done ? That’s why she was the sole survivor. Because everyone else’s weapon was gummed up with sand.
    But, then again, who am I ? No one important. But, if people want their soldiers to stand a better chance of surviving in a hostile environment, why not give them all the training that will better ready those troops ?
    Just a question.

  • Phillip Jones

    Sounds like we are training postmen, not soldiers. Soldiers need basic into to all smalla rms, the front lines are all over these days. Training saves lives!