MCB Quantico, VA --
Annual training requirements for Marines will be reduced by an estimated five hours as of May 1 by changing some courses currently taken on MarineNet, the Marine Corps’ online training portal, and transitioning them to leader-led discussion groups. In addition to reducing the time it takes to complete annual training, the added benefit will be that the quality of annual training will be increased.
“This type of training optimizes an exchange of learning, provides feedback and best of all it puts the small unit leaders kneecap to kneecap with their Marines to the greatest extent possible,” said Leon Pappa, Deputy Branch Head for the Ground Combat Standards Branch , Training and Education Command (TECOM).
According to Pappa, it has been a theme of the Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller to reduce the “number of rocks in the rucksack” for Marines. Therefore, at the end of last year, Neller tasked the commanding generals of Marine Corps Combat Development Command (Lt. Gen. Robert S. Walsh) and Training and Education Command (Maj. Gen. James W. Lukeman) to reduce the number of hours spent on annual training by implementing more leader-led discussion training. It is estimated that transitioning to leader-led classes will shave at least five hours off of the annual training requirements this year.
“With annual training it is really refresher training because the bulk of annual training requirements were completed in initial entry-level training. It takes less time under this system to refresh,” said Pappa.
The topics which have been chosen to move from MarineNet to leader-led discussions include hazing prevention, tobacco cessation, Unit Marine Awareness and Prevention Integrated Training (UMAPIT, which includes substance abuse, family advocacy and suicide prevention), records management, violence prevention, combating trafficking in persons, and social media conduct, a recently added annual training requirement by the Commandant of the Marine Corps. Aspects of social media have been included in several other courses as well as in entry-level training, but as a new annual requirement, will become more relevant and sustainable as a leader-led class.
To ease the transition into more leader-led training, TECOM has already developed Training Support Packages (TSPs) that can be used by leaders conducting the training and they are available at https://vcepub.tecom.usmc.mil//sites/directorates/mtesd/LeaderLedAnnualTraining.
“We’re not just going to have commanders delegate training to their small unit leaders without giving them some tools and resources to use,” said Pappa.
There are some exceptions to leader-led training as it will not be required by Marines serving in the reserves and Marines assigned to individual augmentee, joint, interagency or independent duty assignments/billets. These Marines will still complete training on MarineNet. And, Marines who have already completed the annual training classes being transitioned to leader-led discussions via MarineNet, will have satisfied remaining FY17 annual training requirements after the change goes into effect May 1.
In addition to cutting the hours spent on annual training, the leader-led discussions will make it easier to complete annual training requirements vice scheduling against the competing demands for computer spaces at the Learning Resource Center.
“For example, a unit may be in the field and they are waiting for trucks to come and they have an hour to kill. Instead of just waiting around, leader-led training can be conducted and they can get some of their annual training requirements out of the way,” said Pappa.
In the future, more adjustments to annual training requirements may take place. During the third quarter/FY17, TECOM will solicit input from Marine Corps stakeholders and sponsors of annual training requirements to develop a new Marine Corps Order on Annual Training, replacing the MCBUL 1500 construct.
Pappa says that it would be ideal to transition all annual training to leader-led since there are so many benefits to it. However, this is just not possible. DoD mandates that certain training be done on MarineNet (such as cyber awareness and PII) and some training is required to be done by subject matter experts, such as sexual harassment training.
The important thing to stress with the trend being toward having as much leader-led training as possible is that the MarineNet is not being eliminated, Pappa said.