Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Army: Training to Get Tougher, Not Easier, Amid Drawdowns | Military.com

Army: Training to Get Tougher, Not Easier, Amid Drawdowns

Army training gets tougher, not easier, now that Soldiers have left Iraq and the drawdown has started in Afghanistan, service leaders said.

President Barack Obama's new defense strategy, unveiled Thursday, could lead to cuts of some 80,000 Soldiers from the Army's end strength over the next 10 years. Other budget cuts will further reduce funding for training, thus forcing commanders to emphasize home station training and get the most out of the Soldiers who remain in uniform.

Soldiers used to Iraq and Afghanistan deployment cycles over the past decade must now ready themselves for a "country agnostic" approach to training, officials say. Senior service leaders often joke how they have repeatedly failed to predict the next war.

This time, Army officials plan to hedge their bets.

A defined enemy, not to mention a cadre of Soldiers returning from repeat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, meant trainers have had at least a predictable task in drawing up in scenarios. But preparing for what lies ahead now presents a challenge, said Col. Michael Barbee, director of the Army's Combat Training Center Directorate.

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