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Top Down / Bottom Up Approach to Training


The Top-Down/Bottom-Up approach to training is a team effort in which senior leader provide training focus, direction and resources, and junior leaders provide feedback on unit training proficiency, identify specific unit training needs, and execute training to standard in accordance with the approved plan. It is a team effort that maintains training focus, establishes training priorities, and enables effective communication between command echelons.

Guidance based on wartime mission and priorities flows from the top-down and results in subordinate units having to identify specific collective and individual tasks that support the higher unit’s mission. Input from the bottom up is essential because it identifies training needs to achieve task proficiency on identified collective and individual tasks. Leaders at all levels communicate with each other about requirements and planning, preparing, executing, and evaluating training.

Some leaders centralize planning to provide a consistent training focus throughout the organization. However, they decentralize execution to ensure that the conduct of mission-related training sustains strengths and overcomes the weakness unique to each unit. Decentralize execution promotes subordinates leaders’ initiative to train their units, but does not mean senior leaders give up their responsibilities to supervise training, develop leaders, and provide feedback.

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