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Like a good football team, every infantry squad must have at least three pre-rehearsed techniques (plays) for each category of attack (counter ambush, chance contact, day, night, urban, short-range infiltration) and defense (ambush, urban, rural). Otherwise, they will be too predictable in combat. Most squads are already familiar with the single attrition warfare procedure for each in the manuals, so this session will provide a well-tested “maneuver warfare” variation. More importantly, it will show companies how to develop their own “state-of-the-art” third squad technique through a new “bottom-up” style of training. Because any tactical shortfall — whether individual, buddy team, fire team, or squad — can invalidate an otherwise valid strategy, unit training must constantly refine subunit capabilities. Moreover, it must generate initiative and tactical-decision making ability at the lowest echelons. In bottom-up training, commanders choose combat scenarios to be solved (worst-case are best) and then let their NCOs develop composite techniques with which to solve those scenarios at least cost. Group opinions won’t guarantee tactical excellence; only simulated casualty assessment can do that. Company grade officers must only contribute indirectly—choosing situations to be solved, arranging training support, suggesting techniques from history, monitoring casualty assessment, and recording what’s been learned. With a SNCO facilitator, the NCOs then conduct 20-minute unit-training supplements during any delay to the existing schedule.
Session attendees will experience an abbreviated company training cycle. After discussing the latest tactical trends and training methods, they will participate in a planning conference (technique needs), battle drills and situation stations (technique development), tactical demonstration (officer assessment), free-play exercise (technique application), and lessons-learned field day (Privates’ opinion). So far, 41 battalions, nine schools, and seven special operations units have received this free two-to-three-day package. For Marine units, travel and billeting costs have been mostly funded by the Marine Corps University.