Army Pushed to Change Basic Training as Growing Problem Becomes Epidemic

Marching out of step is only part of the problem.

The United States Army is soon going to be unveiling a complete redesign of the iconic Basic Combat Training each new recruit is required to complete before becoming a soldier.

The change comes at the behest of company commanders who complain that new soldiers arrive to their unit with sloppy military appearance as well as poor attitudes with little to no discipline.

By summer, some recruits who enter the military will go through a new form of Basic that places a higher emphasis on drill and ceremony, inspections, military history, technical skills, and physical fitness.

New field training exercises will also be introduced to test recruits in their Warrior Tasks and Battle Drills—the critical list of skills all members of the Army are taught to survive and respond in combat.

The new program was compiled by reviewing the answers and comments from thousands of command surveys. They all point to the same issues in new recruits.

Major General Malcolm Frost, the commanding general at the Army’s Center of Initial Military Training, believes he has narrowed it down to one word: entitlement.

“What leaders have observed in general is they believe that there is too much of a sense of entitlement, questioning of lawful orders, not listening to instruction, too much of a buddy mentality with NCOs and officers and a lot of tardiness being late to formation and duties,” Maj. Gen. Frost said. “These are trends that they see as increasing that they think are part of the discipline aspect that is missing and that they would like to see in the trainees that become soldiers that come to them as their first unit of assignment.”

Along with more discipline and increasing the physical fitness of each recruit, Army leaders requested that they show up their new units with much higher technical and tactical proficiencies.

“We really tried to attack it by getting after more discipline and esprit de corps,” General Frost says.

One large aspect of this will be history lessons that show Army values in action, honoring those who have come before and paid the ultimate sacrifice.

On top of that, recruits will be put through much more of the Army’s oldest tradition: drill and ceremony.

Army leaders hope the changes will be effective at targeting the widespread entitlement and discipline problems.