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Changing Basic Training To Suit A Changing Army

The long-standing tradition of a 9-week basic training following a specific training format is all about to change. Currently in the testing phase at Fort Benning, the Army is experimenting with a couple new basic training schedules that will encompass a more hands-on approach to fighting today’s enemy, terrorism.

Under the current basic training regime, recruits spend 3 days on an FTX (field training exercise). The new experimental programs send recruits to anywhere from a 10 to 23 day FTX.

Field exercises will now focus on urban combat with more weapons training. Under the current basic training regime, recruits get only a brief introduction to the M-249 squad automatic weapon (SAW), a popular weapon in today’s army. Under the new programs, recruits will gain access to more heavy weapons, such as the SAW. Currently, both experimental basic training schedules are still 9-weeks long.

Less class time and more hands-on training will be the focal point of the new program, in the hopes that soldiers will be more battle-focused than in the past.

Unfortunately for recruits, the addition of these new exercises requires an increase in the recruit-to-drill sergeant ratio. Recruits selected to undergo the new experimental basic training regimen will definitely have a drill sergeant everywhere they look. I would suggest keeping up with my articles on surviving basic training, as well as reading The Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook.

After researching this new training program, it is in my opinion this program will provide numerous positive changes. Not only does this new program provide hands-on access to fighting today’s enemy, it carries over the “army of one” mentality that has proven very successful in the past. The world’s toughest army will only get tougher from here on out.

Download The Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook in less than one minute at Almost half off the paperback price with no shipping charge. The book dedicates a chapter to these upcoming changes to basic training.


Mike Volkin is the author of the Ultimate Basic Training Guidebook, available at

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