Applying Standards

by Captain Andrew L. Hergenrother
To be successful in combat, the Army must train continually to develop and maintain combat ready soldiers, leaders, and units that can perform assigned tasks to specific standards.
--FM 25-101
Battle Focused Training

Applying standards to training is essential to all battlefield operating systems (BOSs). The Intelligence BOS is no exception. FM 34-1, Intelligence and Electronic Warfare Operations, clearly states, "Standards provide commanders a means of measuring intelligence readiness and equipping subordinates with clearly defined training objectives."

We are all familiar with task, conditions, and standards. How often have we heard, "Train to standard not to time?" General Carl E. Vuono stated in FM 22-100, Military Leadership, "A leader must know, and always enforce, established Army standards." Yet, do we really know what are standards, where to find them, and how to apply them?

What is a Standard?

Staff Sergeant Judd Sweitzer wrote an article for The NCO Journal, Summer 1994, titled "The Standard is the Standard is the Standard." In it he states, "We must train our soldiers to standard. We must challenge our soldiers, push them to meet our most strenuous demands, and hold them responsible for their actions. If we can do this during peacetime, they will be ready for the rigors of combat." For me, there is no clearer reason for establishing and enforcing standards than the fact it saves lives.

Finding Standards

For those in the military, standards are associated with a clearly defined set of conditions applied to a specific task. The Army provides standards for military training in field manuals, training circulars (TCs), mission training plans, drill books, soldier manuals, and Army regulations (ARs). Where training standards are undefined, leaders and trainers establish them based on existing doctrine, ARs, and the guidance of superiors. In so doing, leaders must ensure the standards are challenging, attainable, and easily evaluated.
The development of standards applicable to intelligence and electronic warfare (IEW) is uniquely challenging. Military intelligence (MI) professionals operate at all levels. MI soldiers train to be everything from geopolitical analysts at national-level agencies to ground surveillance radar operators supporting infantry battalions. With all the diversity associated with IEW operations, the application of standards remains key to successful training and mission accomplishment.
The U.S. Army Intelligence Center and Fort Huachuca published three key manuals that provide standards for training and evaluating tactical IEW operations. They are--

Changing Standards

Changes in technology, doctrine, and potential adversaries have forced commanders to refocus their mission essential task list (METL). No longer is the training emphasis on fighting mobile armored and mechanized warfare against a known, well defined enemy. Today's Army must have the ability to respond quickly and decisively to global requirements. Thus, commanders must reevaluate and update old standards. This dynamic process of fine-tuning standards is a leader's responsibility and applies to all BOSs.
General William W. Hartzog, Commanding General, U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), in a May 1995 message1 to the field, highlighted the dynamic environment that exists in the Army today. In this message, he established support requirements for the Experimental Force (EXFOR) in the Advanced Warfighting Exercise (AWE) for Task Force XXI. General Hertzog specifically tasked his TRADOC organizations to deliver new doctrine, training, combat development, and experimental design initiatives to the EXFOR, the 2d Armored Division at Fort Hood, Texas, by 1 June 1996. He expects doctrinal updates in tactics, techniques, and procedures from platoon through division. Training deliverables focus on digitization of the battlefield. The combat developers must look at organizational design from team through brigade. This includes an evaluation of the communications and digital operational architecture. Finally, General Hartzog expects a complete experimental design to be tested and ready by 1 June 1996 no small task. However, this deadline is indicative of the fast-paced environment in which we live.

Battle focused training must
be understood by all commanders.

It is no wonder that MI professionals must be more than analysts, operators, and maintainers. In addition to being the subject matter experts on tactical- through national-level IEW systems, they must understand communications and automated processing technology. The MI soldier must also be on the cutting edge of developing and executing information operations. This diversity of skills, knowledge, and focus makes it difficult for MI leaders to establish IEW training standards.

Applying Standards

We now know what a standard is, and where to find tactical IEW standards. What remains is how to apply them. The lessons contained in FM 25-101 are indispensable if commanders are to apply standards effectively.
FM 25-101 states, "Commanders must establish a safe, realistic training program that is based on and enforces the Army's standardsof performance." Further, commanders must "observe and assess theexecution of subordinate training at all levels to ensure trainingis conducted to standard. Leaders must demand training standards be achieved.... It is better to train to standard on a few tasks than fail to achieve the standard on many. Soldiers will remember the enforced standard."
Battle focused training must be understood by all commanders. The unit METL is derived from war plans and external directives. Once approved, the next higher level of command consolidates the METL of subordinates. The higher command screens the METL to determine which tasks are critical to the success of its METL. These now become the battle tasks of battalion and higher units. This analysis allows commanders to focus on a few key tasks. Once narrowed down to a few tasks, the application of conditions and standards becomes less difficult.
The commander is the primary trainer. He is responsible for ensuring that training is to standard. A commander can only do this if actively involved in all aspects of planning, execution, and assessment of training. Anything less than the strictest adherence to established standards reduces mission effectiveness and could ultimately costs lives in some future force projection operation.
1. Memorandum, HQ TRADOC, 22 May 1995, subject: Deliverables to the EXFOR by 1 June 1996.
Captain Hergenrother is currently the commander of Company D, 309th MI Battalion, at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. His previous assignments include company executive officer, mechanized infantry battalion S2, armor brigade S2, light infantry brigade S2, MI battalion assistant S-3, and division G2 operations officer. He served as a G2 operations officer during Operation JUST CAUSE. His degrees include a Bachelor of Science from the University of Albuquerque and a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence from the Defense Intelligence College.