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Individual Proposal (Text Only)

 

Increasing Tactical Competency by Extending Field Training Exercises

 

ROTC cadets have the unique opportunity to earn a college degree while preparing to commission upon graduating. Here at Iowa State University, ISU, this process has been producing high-quality officers since 1878. As a result, our battalion has an impressive reputation throughout our brigade and nationally. My group is arguing that while our program is strong, it can still be better. We are proposing that in order to increase the effectiveness of training, we should extend the length of Field Training Exercises. In this proposal, I will be demonstrating how the cost of a typical 3-day FTX (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) compared to a 5-day FTX (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday) is fiscally sensible while benefiting our cadets.

 

3-Day COST

Item Cost Percent
Transportation $2,200 33%
Camp Dodge Facilities $2,000 30%
Food $1,400 21%
Port o Johns $960 14%
Signs for Land Nav. $196 3%
Total $6,756 100%

 

The budget above displays the cost of a four-day FTX. To extend it an extra day, with three full days' training, the costs would only be increased $168. The only additional costs are for renting the "Port-O-John" and the orderly room. The rest of the costs are subsidized for us by the National Guard or supported by funds from Cadet Command. These funds are readily available; this is not an issue. The issue is cadet participation. The cost of a student missing three full days of class, as opposed to one day, is deemed too high. For this reason, we propose that a five-day FTX would only be mandatory for the MS III's and IV's.

 

Group Proposal (Text Only)

 

ROTC cadets have the unique opportunity to earn a college degree while preparing to commission as U.S. Army officers upon graduating. Here at Iowa State University (ISU) this process has been producing high-quality officers since 1869. As a result, our battalion has an impressive reputation throughout our brigade and nationally. While our program is strong, it can still be better. In order to increase the effectiveness of training, we should extend the length of Field Training Exercises (FTX). This proposal, will demonstrate how the cost of a typical three-day FTX (Friday, Saturday, Sunday) compared to a 5-day FTX (Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday) is fiscally sensible and would be extremely beneficial to our cadets.

 

FTXs are traditionally three days long with only one full day of training. Last fall, thunderstorms forced the cadre to cancel critical training including day and night land navigation, STX lanes, and FLRC. As a result, all cadets missed out on valuable training. Past solutions have been to offer additional evening classes for the MS IIIs and this springs FTX was lengthened by one day. Major Kevin White, Operations Officer for the Cyclone Battalion, agrees that this additional training time is extremely valuable, "even those five extra hours are important time for the MS IIIs evaluation." Extending fall FTX was ultimately decided impractical due to the large number of students who participate in extra-curricular activities.

 

Nevertheless, the problem still remains that FTXs are not long enough for cadets to receive a sufficient amount of training. If FTXs were extended to four days (Wednesday through Sunday) cadets would have two full days of training and the budget would barely increase. The two budgets outlined below, compare the cost of a three-day to a five day-FTX. The only cost thatincreases is the cost of renting the Port O-Johns ($150/day) and the orderly room ($35/day). Camp Dodge does not charge for terrain use, so conducting training in the field does not cost our program. Food mainly consists of MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) which also are no cost to our program. Only the hot meals our cadets receive are at expense to our program. No other costs increase with an additional two days added to the FTX. The rest of the costs are subsidized by the National Guard or free for our program. Total the additional financial cost for two more days only equals out to $370. This money is readily available since our battalion has an excess of funding from Cadet Command.

 

Another cost to consider is cadets missing two full days of school. In the past, this cost has been deemed too high, however we believe that since FTXs are only once a semester, these two days can easily be made up. Letters of excusal from our Professor of Military Science (PMS) would be issued to cadets and most teachers are understanding when it comes to ROTC activities.

 

Our proposal is fully supported by our upper classmen (MS IIIs and IVs); their motivation and willingness to train harder should have an impact on your decision .We believe you will see longer FTXs as a viable solution which the cadets fully support. This proposal also benefits you as cadre and our battalion. When our cadets score higher at LDAC, they increase the Cyclone Battalions rankings within the brigade and nationally; this enhances the reputation of our program and draws future cadets. High enrollment numbers increase the amount of funding allotted our program by Cadet Command. This in turn, reflects on you: the officers and NCOS assigned to our battalion as instructors. Program reputation also helps us obtain more Army School slots for cadets to attend over the summer. The responsibility of planning and conducting the actually training during an FTX is the responsibility of the MS IVs. Their class has been to Warrior Forge, they know the standards that need to be enforced, and how to train for success. They have been planning the operations of the battalion throughout the year; considering its needs and deciding how fulfill them. They are more than qualified to lead more extensive training exercises.

 

Tough decisions are never easy. As LTC Soupene, Professor of Military Science here at ISU says: "we must do the harder right over easier wrong." Spending more time training in the field is a sacrifice, but one we must make to ensure the best future leaders of our Army.

 

Bibliography

 

Soupene, Jay. Professor of Military Science. 2011. White, Major Kevin. Operations Officer, Iowa State University

 

James Salerno. 30 March 2011.