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Jointness vital in transforming training

A senior Department of Defense official recently cited Joint Forces Command's top joint training priority, the Joint National Training Capability, as one of the cornerstones of training transformation in America's military.

Joint Service collage
By K.L. Vantran
American Forces Press Service

(WASHINGTON, March 3, 2004) -- Transforming joint training in the Defense Department is a continual journey, Paul W. Mayberry, deputy undersecretary of defense for readiness, said at the Defense Transformation Efforts and Opportunities Conference here last week.

"We are a nation at war," he said. "Because of our successes in these theaters, some have questioned the need to transform, but in fact it is the conditions from these wars that have only reinforced our necessity to transform the way that we train.

"Today's world is complex and filled with uncertainty and surprise," he added. "We no longer fight against known enemies with standing armies, but rather against faceless networks of terrorists. These adversaries try to exploit our weaknesses and they're agile enough to change their tactics on a daily basis."

Today's training, said Mayberry, must train commanders and staff at the strategic, operational and tactical levels. "We must train forces from top to bottom," he said. "(Forces) must be able to adapt plans and structures even while en route to theater. We must deliver training on demand as opposed to according to pre-set schedules."

The challenge and fundamental question, said Mayberry, is "How do we prepare our forces to be successful under arduous conditions against both known and unknown threats often operating in non-traditional environments and employing tactics that morph daily?"

Mayberry said capabilities-based training is the cornerstone for training transformation. "We cannot prepare for everything; we cannot do it all," he said. "We must have fundamental training systems that are sufficiently dynamic as well as responsive to changing and emerging requirements. (We) also have to be able to prepare and deliver our forces anywhere and any time."

Three new joint capabilities support the training transformation vision: Joint Knowledge Development and Distribution Capability, Joint National Training Capability, and Joint Assessment and Enabling Capability.

The Joint Knowledge Development and Distribution Capability must be able to address "lifelong learning needs of the total force," said Mayberry. "Our leaders must think intuitively 'joint.' They must be 'joint' earlier in their careers. We must try to achieve a mindset of being 'born joint.'"

It also is important to prepare forces collectively, said Mayberry. "We need to build a robust, live, virtual and constructive training environment that will provide training at the tactical as well as operational levels of war." The JNTC seeks to leverage the experiences and excellences of the services' major training centers, he added.

"(There is a) need to focus on measurement - to understand what we have done," continued Mayberry. "Are we, in fact, having capabilities that will enable success? What is the return of our investment? Are we truly being transformational, or are we just simply re-labeling things that we had on the books?" This, he added, is the focus of the Joint Assessment and Enabling Capability.

The goal is to enhance and measure joint performance, said Mayberry.

"Our ability to train and educate must be focused on the ultimate customer - the combatant commander," he added. "(We must) provide an adaptability that will allow us to quickly turn to different and emerging training requirements."