Northwest Military Blogs: Army West Blog

Posts made in: March, 2016 (21) Currently Viewing: 1 - 10 of 21

March 2, 2016 at 11:37am

Defense Secretary to visit JBLM Friday

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. - Secretary of Defense Ashton B. Carter will
visit Joint Base Lewis-McChord Friday.

During his visit Secretary Carter will receive updates on the important
capabilities of units based at JBLM whose posture and power projection
capabilities play a pivotal role in DOD's rebalance to the Asia-Pacific

. He will visit the Washington Air National Guard's 252nd Cyber
Operations Group. The group is currently preparing to establish initial
operational capability. It's one of 133 teams to be established across the
Department, to defend DOD networks, systems, and information.

. Carter will visit a joint Air Force and Army capabilities static
display featuring a C-17 Globemaster III, a Stryker vehicle, a High Mobility
Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) vehicle, and vehicles and equipment from
the 1st Air Support Operations Group and the 22nd Special Tactics Squadron.

. Afterwards, he will visit I Corps Headquarters for an update and
discussion on Pacific Pathways. Pathways is the U.S. Army Pacific's premier
method to build readiness from tactical through Theater levels. Pacific
Pathways capitalizes on multiple training opportunities in several countries
with partner militaries over a three to four month period.

. Carter will meet with about a hundred Service members at a Troop
Event, thank them for their service, and give them an update on current DOD

A 15-minute press conference is scheduled to follow the Troop Event.

This is Secretary Carter's first visit to JBLM since being sworn in as the
25th Secretary of Defense in February 2015.

March 3, 2016 at 12:10pm

West Point pilot program held at JBLM

Maj. Jason Dupuis, soldier admissions officer for West Point, briefs the nearly 60 soldiers stationed at Joint base Lewis-McChord, participating in the first Rapid Application Completion Exercise at JBLM, Feb. 24. Photo credit: Staff Sgt. Mark Miranda

The Seventh Infantry Division, hosted its first Rapid Application Completion Exercise at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Feb. 24, with nearly 60 soldiers on hand to tackle a deceptively simple task - apply to West Point.

Soldiers started with the six-event Candidate Fitness Assessment, that consisted of a basketball throw from kneeling position, pullups or the flexed-arm hang, shuttle sprints, modified situps, pushups and a one-mile run. The six-test events of the CFA were administered consecutively with set start, finish and rest times.

Pfc. Stephen Kaufman, a corrections specialist with 42nd Military Police Brigade, 593rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command, found out about the opportunity from his squad leader and felt ready for the challenge.

"I did really well at the basketball throw and the sprint," said Kaufman. "I did pretty well overall I think."

The Garnett, Kansas, native said he has wanted to go to West Point and become an officer since joining the military, and took advantage of the chance to participate in RACE.

"I have always thought that West Point would be a challenge for me, and I like to challenge myself," said Kaufman. "It is a great opportunity to become an officer and to make a career out of it."

Maj. Jason Dupuis, soldier admissions officer for West Point, said this program has been years in the making, but now there is a faster way to seek out potential candidates.

"This new program is where a soldier can finish the entire application in one day, which is pretty remarkable," he said. "JBLM was selected because it is a very unique base with diverse set of talent and many different types of units of soldiers, who meet the basic eligibility requirements."

A West Point graduate himself, Dupuis said he went through the application process as an enlisted soldier, and finishing the application in a timely manner was the biggest setback.

"It is still the same application process," said Dupuis. "It's just reducing the hurdles, like the medical review board, and getting everything done in as short a period of time as possible."

During the course of RACE, unit sponsors helped the soldiers fill out their online paperwork and even register to take or re-take required standardized tests. Soldiers also benefited from having West Point admissions experts on site to offer advice.

"You have to do well on the SAT or ACT test," said Dupuis. "Soldiers spend money on other things, so a test or test prep is worth the money."

"Also taking full-length practice tests to timed standards and knowing your score, it's important," he added.

Ideally, Dupuis said, soldiers would enter RACE day with ACT or SAT scores already on file with West Point, a nomination from their company commander (necessary for admission) and some prep time for the CFA.

Those who don't make the cut can reapply as long as they still meet the requirement or may be eligible for the United States Military Academy Preparatory School, which provides 10 months of focused academic work and counts as a year of service toward retirement, 9/11 G.I. Bill eligibility and other benefits.

Even soldiers who fall short could realize long-term benefits from opening an application file and participating in the RACE program, Dupuis said. The physical exam required for USMA entry is the same for those who may consider the Green-to-Gold Program as a path to a commission.

March 4, 2016 at 9:53am

Laser weapons development by 2023

The Sodium Guidestar at the Air Force Research Laboratory’s Starfire Optical Range resides on a 6,240-foot hilltop at Kirtland Air Force Base, New Mexico. The Army and Navy is developing its own laser weapons systems. U.S. Air Force photo

Responding to lawmakers' questions about how close the Army is to developing offensive and defensive directed-energy weapons, Mary J. Miller responded: "I believe we're very close."

Miller, deputy assistant secretary of the Army for Research and Technology, and other experts testified before the House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities, Feb. 24. Miller's topic was the Army's Science and Technology, or S&T, Program for fiscal year 2017.

The Army's S&T effort is committed to pursuing high-energy lasers, she said.

Now, that effort has been "aligned to transition into a program of record in the fiscal 2023 timeframe," she said. It's already planned and funded.

"Why that long?" she asked rhetorically.

Because it's being done in a "step-wise demonstration of capability," she said. "We have to make sure the lasers work and do the full set of scopes against the threats we project. And those threats include the counter-rockets, counter-artillery and counter-mortar as well as (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and cruise missile threats."

Miller explained that the Army wants to understand the lasers' full capabilities "before we offer it to a soldier."

Operators need to trust what lasers can do, she added.

"Lasers have been promised for a long time, but they've never held up and delivered what was asked for, so the operators are rightfully skeptical," she pointed out. That's why the Army is taking lasers out into operational environments and testing them.

In the meantime, "there will be steps along the way where we spin off lesser capable laser systems that can do good things on smaller platforms. Those will come out soon," she concluded.

Dr. David Walker, deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology and Engineering, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Acquisition, agreed with Miller's logic for step-wise rollouts.

"We, too, have spun off lesser-capable laser systems," he said, following Miller's remarks.

The Air Force is flying every day with lasers under its transport aircraft, using them as infrared countermeasure system," so we too spun off lesser-capable laser systems, and as we get larger power outputs and better thermal management out of smaller package lasers, we will build those powers into defensive to offensive capability as well," Walker said.

The Navy's science representative described similar laser programs for ships, subs and marines.

March 10, 2016 at 3:54pm

Defense secretary visits cyber team

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter highlighted the importance of cybersecurity by spending part of the morning at the 262nd Network Warfare Squadron at Camp Murray during a visit March 4. Cyber operations experts from the 252nd Cyber Operations Group, which includes the 262nd, briefed Carter on their work to protect the Nation's nuclear assets, and Carter held a press conference in the 262nd conference room. He praised airmen of the 252nd for their commitment to service, their talent, and their connections to the high-tech industry.

"This building where we're sitting, and the mission represented by these guys standing with me, is famous throughout the country because of what it stands for," said Carter.

Carter discussed the role of cyber operations in protecting military communications networks and critical public infrastructure. He noted the importance of Guard cyber operations teams as partners with the governor and state officials in securing Washington state from cyber threats. And cyber units like the units of the 252nd could take on offensive missions in the future, particularly as the U.S. military seeks to "accelerate" its involvement in offensive cyber operations "to secure the prompt defeat of ISIL," said Carter.

It is valuable to have cyber operations teams made partly of servicemembers who also work in civilian technology jobs, said Carter. "They bring to the mission of national security that tremendous talent from outside that we otherwise would have to try to recruit and retain within the full-time, active component, which would be very difficult," he said.

Guard cyber operations teams "give our country and our fighting forces access to amazing talent and, of course, amazing dedication and amazing patriotism and amazing service on their part," he said.

Carter's itinerary at JBLM included visits with several Army and Air Force units. Carter also spent time discussing cybersecurity with executives from Microsoft, Amazon, and Boeing during his stop in the Pacific Northwest, which followed meetings in Silicon Valley, California, earlier in the week.

Carter's visit to JBLM was the first by a Secretary of Defense since Secretary Robert Gates visited in 2008.

"It was heartwarming to have his level of attention and awareness," said Lt. Col. Robert Siau, commander of the 262nd, following Carter's visit. "It meant a lot to our airmen and squadron."

March 11, 2016 at 11:35am

Washington state recognized for innovation in serving incarcerated vets

For the third consecutive year, Washington state has been recognized as a Pillar of Excellence by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).  The award was received for an Innovative State Program for Incarcerated Veterans and was presented by VA Secretary Robert McDonald to the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA) and the Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) for their collaborative work serving incarcerated veterans.

"I am incredibly proud of the dedication shown by the Department of Corrections and the Department of Veterans Affairs," said Governor Jay Inslee. "These innovative programs are providing opportunities and tools for veterans to get back on their feet and once again become productive members of their community."

Approximately nine percent of the state's prison population are veterans and of those 65 percent have honorable or general under honorable discharges, making them potentially eligible for federal VA benefits. Twelve percent of the incarcerated veteran population entering prison are receiving disability or pension benefits and need to file paperwork with the federal VA to adjust these benefits during incarceration. WDVA and DOC have partnered since 2010 to help incarcerated veterans understand the importance of self-identifying their veteran status to prevent overpayment of federal VA benefits, and in some cases to allow for a portion of their disability compensation to go to their family during incarceration.

"The Incarcerated Veterans Initiative provides veteran offenders with information, and most importantly access, to wrap-around services upon release such as mental health, healthcare, transportation, housing and disability compensation or pension," said Alvarado-Ramos. "Our focus is on strong community partnerships and providing opportunities for each veteran to succeed once reintegrated back into our communities."

Best practices implemented through the Incarcerated Veterans Initiative:

Intake Video, Brochure and Poster - Shown to all offenders entering prison to highlight the importance of self-identifying veteran status.  A DOC website is also available for family members with information and VA forms.

Veteran Pods - Units within several Washington state prisons that house only veterans who have earned the ability to be there. The State has dedicated veteran units at Stafford Creek Corrections Center, Coyote Ridge Corrections Center, and the Walla Walla Penitentiary.

Veterans Reentry Mission Planning and Community Support Team - Partnership with WestCare to assist veterans in creating a focused reentry plan to reduce recidivism and promote healthier communities.

Service Dogs - Stafford Creek Corrections Center Veteran Unit allows veteran offenders to train service dogs for veterans. A partnership with Brigadoon Dogs has made this program possible and it has resulted in nine service-trained dogs.

Veteran Service Centers - Stafford Creek Corrections Center provides a monthly services clinic, coordinated by WDVA and DOC, which brings community providers to the prison to help veterans get connected with benefits prior to release.

Community and Professional Partners - Organizations such as WestCare, Northwest Justice Project, Goodwill Industries, Community Veteran Centers, and the Centers for Excellence provide individualized assistance to veterans once they enter the community.

"When our servicemembers take their oath, they make a commitment to protect our freedom and democracy," said Corrections Secretary Dan Pacholke. "The veterans who come to the Department of Corrections often reflect upon their oath, and the reasons for their current incarceration.  By housing veterans together, it builds a community that enhances well-being through pro-social interactions and increases their potential for a successful reentry back into society."

Future Initiatives:

While much work has been done, WDVA and DOC continue pursuing changes that will ensure veterans - who are in receipt of federal VA disability compensation or pension - do not end up with large overpayments of benefits while they are incarcerated.  Veterans who are in receipt of VA benefits should be in a far better position to succeed as they exit the justice system; however, when their benefits aren't turned off during incarceration, veterans can be left with tens of thousands of dollars in overpaid benefits.  This puts veterans at serious risk for homelessness at a time when their VA benefits should be there to help get them back on their feet.  WDVA and DOC will continue working with our partners at the federal VA and our state and local justice systems to identify veterans and help file the required documents to suspend benefits during incarceration.

About the Pillars of Excellence:

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs worked together to establish the Pillars of Excellence Awards to identify and formally recognize outstanding state programs that support or exemplify VA's strategic goals and priorities.

WDVA has previously received Pillars of Excellence for:

2015 - Innovative State Programs: Washington State Transition Model

2014 - Increasing Access to VA Benefits and Services: WDVA/HCA Benefits Enhancement Program

2014 - Eliminating Veteran Homelessness by the end of 2015: Ending Veterans Homelessness in Washington State Program

March 11, 2016 at 11:49am

Self-test kit warns soldiers of biological exposure in the field

The Nett Warrior is an integrated dismounted leader situational awareness system for use during combat operations. Photo credit: U.S. Army Program Executive Office Soldier

An infantry unit goes into an area recently held by insurgents and finds evidence of a biological agent laboratory. Chemical biological experts arrive on the scene in protective suits and determine that they were weaponizing ricin. The warfighters in the unit need to know if they have been exposed, and fast.

The U.S. Army Edgewood Chemical Biological Center's newly developed biological self-test kit can quickly get that answer and automatically send it in to the warfighter and his commander.

Known as SmartCAR, the device uses a colorimetric assay, much like a home pregnancy test strip, to identify the presence of a pathogen of concern such as ricin, anthrax or plague.

The warfighter or a field medic can take a saliva or stool sample, place it in a small vial containing a reagent that will bind the pathogen of concern, then place a drop of the solution on the strip. The strip is placed inside the handheld SmartCAR which then reads whether there is one line on the strip, meaning no exposure, or two lines on the strip - bad news.

The SmartCAR then transmits the results over Nett Warrior, a fielded integrated dismounted situational awareness system that displays tactical data on a smartphone. Information passes through Nett Warrior and up the chain of command.

If the test is positive, the warfighter and field medic know to immediately begin treatment, and the information is automatically entered into the warfighter's medical record. The commander immediately knows about this individual warfighter, and if more are exposed, knows how many and where they are. This provides the commander with vital situational awareness to cordon off the area and notify the chain of command.

TATRC took delivery of the prototype in June 2014 and is now demonstrating its capabilities to other military organizations to determine their interest in adopting it. 

March 11, 2016 at 11:53am

'Ghost Brigade' touches all corners of the world

Spc. Kristen Hoham from C Company, 296th Brigade Support Battalion, 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, takes a patient’s blood pressure during a medical engagement, in Muang Khom, Thailand, Feb. 18. Photo credit: Spc. Loren Keely

In one corner of the world, in the sweltering heat, a U.S. soldier instructs a Thai soldier how to apply a tourniquet to a limb. In South Korea, U.S. soldiers conduct gunneries with their Republic of Korea Army counterparts in the bitter cold. Misty rain falls from the graphite skies of Washington on soldiers pushing through the tough conditions of their combined arms live fire exercise at Yakima Training Center.

At any given moment, soldiers of 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team "Ghost Brigade", 2nd Infantry Division, are engaging in missions and training around the U.S. and the world.

Each year, U.S. and dozens of nations participate in an event known as Operation Pacific Pathways. It consists of multiple exercises in which U.S. soldiers, marines, airmen and sailors train with soldiers from our allies in the Pacific. These operations aim to build tactical and technical cohesion, strengthen army-to-army relationships within the Pacific, and increase interoperability through humanitarian efforts and improved cultural exchange.

Pacific Pathways began this year with Operation Cobra Gold, which was co-hosted by the U.S. and the Thai government from January to February in Thailand. Cobra Gold focused on global security in the region and support for regional stability. Ghost Brigade soldiers united with the 31st Regiment of the Royal Thai Army to conduct command post exercises designed to perfect security operations and thwart piracy.

In the second phase of Pacific Pathways, Operation Foal Eagle, soldiers from 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, deployed to South Korea. The 2-3 Inf. soldiers and the ROK Army's 8th Infantry Division are scheduled to conduct platoon and company-level training, gunnery and situational training exercises, cultural training and a Joint Security Area tour.

Pacific Pathways will wrap up with Operation Balikatan, which will take place in the Philippines toward the end of March and continue through April.

Meanwhile, back in the U.S., the 23rd Brigade Engineer Battalion is gearing up to go to Fort Polk, Louisiana, to the Joint Readiness Training Center in support of the Defense CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive) Reactionary Force mission. Upon completion of the rotation, soldiers of the 23rd BEB will be ready to provide support to civil authorities in the event of a CBRNE disaster in the homeland. The rigorous training focuses on all aspects of recovery operations to include saving lives and eliminating potential human suffering.

In Washington, the Ghost Brigade can routinely be found training at the Yakima Training Center. Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, trained hard during their two-week rotation at YTC in early February. The training consisted of platoon live fire exercises and tactical operation center procedures.

The 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry Regiment, wasn't too far away, conducting their own training at YTC. The 5-20th Inf. practiced room clearing, platoon exercises and even a live fire exercise.

Comprehensive training doesn't always have to occur overseas with joint armies or even at major training sites. Often, the fundamentals are learned and perfected right at home. The 1st Squadron, 14th Cavalry Regiment, conducted its combined arms live fire exercise in mid-February at JBLM. The Warhorse Squadron trained through the Presidents Day weekend, certifying troops and companies in day and night live fire scenarios. Individual platoons also used the time to complete situational training exercise lanes, rehearse self-recovery operations and brush up on maintenance operations.

In the month of February alone, 1-2 SBCT has had mobile command posts in Thailand, South Korea, Yakima Training Center and on JBLM. The ability of the Ghost Brigade to execute seamless, concurrent operations in multiple locations across the world shows how proficient and agile a unit can be, given competent, professional leaders and soldiers alike. It is the perfect example of amazing functionality, widespread influence and mission readiness that the Ghost Brigade undoubtedly accomplishes. 

March 11, 2016 at 11:56am

Eliminating the first contact with an enemy force

Photo illustration by Peggy Frierson

"We should be thinking about having a robotic vanguard, particularly for maneuver formations," said Dr. Bob Sadowski. "There's no reason why the first contact with an enemy force should be with a man-platform, because it means that platform is at the greatest risk."

Sadowski, the Army's chief roboticist at U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center, or TARDEC, in Warren, Michigan, spoke at a robotics conference here, March 2.

A robot doesn't feel pain and suffering if it gets blown up, he continued. "We want it to be the bullet catcher who takes those rounds."

Besides taking the hit, robots could pinpoint and uncover the direction from which the enemy is firing, he added.

Realizing that the enemy is also developing these systems, he said. "So if we don't play in this space, we're not even going to understand what the enemy is doing."

Over the last 10 years, the Army has focused on logistical challenges in Iraq and Afghanistan, Sadowski said. A lot of soldiers were lost in convoys that encountered improvised explosive devices and the funding and research went into stopping that.

The Army's demonstration of driverless vehicles took place in May 2014 at the Department of Energy's Savannah River Site in South Carolina, where a convoy consisting of seven different tactical vehicles drove completely unmanned at speeds exceeding 40 mph.

Once that technology matures and is fielded, the problem is that "if you replace sixteen drivers with sixteen autonomous vehicles, you've just lost sixteen M-16s that the drivers would be carrying to protect the convoy," Sadowski said, "So you'd need to consider arming the autonomous vehicles, with a soldier being the remote triggerman."

Possibly by the end of this year, that experiment at Savannah River will morph into an extended warfighter experiment, or, an Army warfighter assessment at Fort Bliss, Texas, he added.

Today, the effort is still in logistics, but current thinking and doctrine is that robots should be more than logistics; they should be in the fight as well, he said.

The Marines tried this with a robot in Afghanistan, a mule-like device that followed a patrol dismounted, he said. It was rated for 1,000 pounds but the Marines loaded it up with 2,000. Then they complained it was too slow.

So in the future, Sadowski said perhaps robots need to be able to talk back and say, "Sir, I can't carry that."

Currently, testing of vehicles is being done on-road, but off-road is where soldiers fight, he said.

Future robotic development may go to warp speed by using modeling and simulation, saving time and money by plugging scenarios into computers and testing vehicles in dirt, mud, snow, sand, rain and so on, he said.

To get a peek at the future, look at what's being done already, he said. The Army teamed with Sikorsky and Lockheed Martin to rig a UH-60D helicopter to fly autonomously carrying a robot as its payload. It flew without the aid of a pilot to its destination, dropped off the robot and flew back.

Had it had problems along the way, say with its engine, a sensor was programmed to look for possible landing sites along the way. As well, the robot payload, which was slingloaded, was balanced by the computer, which gave it even more stability in-flight than a pilot could have done, he said.

Robots will someday interact with other robots like that someday.

In Australia, an experiment will take place where an operator in the U.S. will remotely guide a robot through the outback with just a second of latency from control to action using satellite technology, he said. It will also be red-teamed, he added, meaning that operators will try to hack into it to take control away from the "friendly" operator.

An early example of using unmanned aerial vehicles was demonstrated by the Japanese during World War II, Sadowski said. They tied incendiary bombs to balloons and fire-bombed the U.S. Northwest. The furthest a balloon got was Michigan, 10 miles from TARDEC. 

March 14, 2016 at 3:44pm

Rocket firing delayed

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. –Test firing of Reduced Range Practice Rockets (RRPR) this week at Joint Base Lewis-McChord is delayed.  The firings are delayed because an important safety feature on the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System vehicle alerted field artillery Soldiers Friday that there was insufficient tree-top clearance at the firing point.

Leading up to this week’s scheduled test firing, about one acre of trees were removed from the Hayes Hill firing point on JBLM Lewis Main to ensure the 27 HIMARS rockets would not hit any trees during launch.

A field artillery crew rehearsed with the HIMARS vehicle on the Hayes Hill firing point on Friday to prepare themselves for Tuesday’s first RRPR test fire.  During the rehearsal the HIMARS fire control computer indicated that more (tree) clearance may be needed to ensure the rockets could be fired safely and accurately.

This week’s RRPR test firing is delayed while JBLM and field artillery experts work through several options to determine whether the tests can be done in the future. At this time, no decision has been made. The earliest the tests could be conducted is next week, March 22-24.

The base will only conduct the tests when they can be done safely and accurately, thereby protecting the surrounding communities and the Soldiers who are conducting the tests.

We understand the communities’ interest in these tests. Moreover, we appreciate everyone’s patience while we consider our options, and we apologize for any inconvenience this delay may cause our neighbors.

March 17, 2016 at 2:52pm

Soldier 'Job Book' back

Photo credit: Spc. Alexander Rector

"Job books" will return to the Army at the end of this month, in digital form, allowing soldiers to track such things as physical training, weapons qualification, mandatory training, scheduled classes and unit training schedules.

Command Sgt. Maj. David S. Davenport, the command sergeant major for U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, said it'll be March 25 when the new Digital Job Book goes online in beta form, within the Army Training Network.

"The digital job book - by proponent - lists the critical tasks that soldiers need to be proficient on, by skill level," Davenport said. "It allows leaders to record that training. What's powerful about it is it also allows chains of command to come in and insert tasks they want to work on as well."

During a TRADOC-led online "town hall" last week, Davenport said the new Digital Job Book is a reincarnation of the job books of days past, which were paper, about three inches by an inch and a half in size, and carried around in cargo pockets. Soldiers initialed which tasks they had completed.

The books allowed soldiers to always know how current they were on training, and also allowed them to convey that information to their leadership.

"So when the sergeant major was out running around, he could ask soldiers what they were training on," Davenport said. "And leaders would take that book to training meetings and plan training for soldiers."

Davenport said the Digital Job Book will synch with the Army Training Requirements and Resources System and Digital Training Management System.

Army National Guard Command Sgt. Maj. Brunk W. Conley said squad leaders "need to be all over this," and that they should sign up for the beta test of the Digital Job Book and start annotating their own and subordinate training. "We have to get back into a training mentality with our first-line leaders."

Back in 2007, the Army transitioned from using drill sergeants in Advanced Individual Training to AIT platoon sergeants. Davenport said the move was made as a way to "recognize that period of transformation that (soldiers) were going through - less total control."

Now, Davenport said, the Army is looking at putting drill sergeants back into the AIT environment.

"It's a recommendation. Of course, we have to see about funding. But, we are trying to do everything we can to make sure our solders are successful when they transition to their first unit of assignment," Davenport said. "We lose about twelve percent in the training base, of the cohort that we get. And we want to make sure they are the fittest, and most disciplined and well-trained soldiers that we have as we give them to their first unit of assignment."

Davenport didn't say that AIT platoon sergeants weren't doing a good job now - he said instead that drill sergeants are "a way to invest in the training of our soldiers ... We've done the cost analysis; we're moving the case forward to see if it's first of all feasible, affordable and sustainable. Anything we do you have to look through those filters to affect change."

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