Written By Chris Spence
What is the importance of training in today’s world? Almost every organization relies on some type of formal training to initially train personnel for a specific job or task, incorporate new equipment, or, the type of training we will discuss in this blog post, repetitive task training.
In order to develop proficiency in any given task, that task must first be learned, then repeated regularly enough for an individual to become proficient. Every task has its own unique savings account that must be filled with time, sweat and effort. If the account is not filled sufficiently, your personal and/or organization’s expectations will never be met.
How can effective training be implemented to fill that account? Most training is broken down into key areas. In many government and military organizations, it is common to have annual, semi-annual and quarterly training requirements, in which planners must identify windows of opportunity across time, space and resources to find the time and backside support to meet those training requirements. Additionally, some organizations operate using annual training guidance, which is then broken down into forecasted training, scheduled at a minimum of six weeks prior to training.
By forecasting training, this technique allows the trainer or team to develop a comprehensive training plan based on their assessment of tasks that either need improvement, or need to maintain already acquired skills. On occasion, forecasted training is postponed or canceled due to unforeseen circumstances or the unavailability of resources needed to support training. In the military, when forecasted training is canceled, that already allocated block of time becomes an opportunity or un-forecasted training window. During this window, the types of training can be severely limited, because many of the support requirements cannot be met due to the availability of support assets.
All of the aforementioned training models have their place within an organization based on the organizational training requirements or certification requirements of its employees. The military and law enforcement use many of these techniques in order to ensure their personnel are trained and can effectively function within the guidelines of their job description.
Marksmanship, or target engagement training, is one of the most important repetitive training tasks for members of the military and the law enforcement community, because it directly affects their survivability. As a citizen would you feel comfortable if the military or law enforcement only trained with their service weapons once a year? Would you feel that they can effectively safeguard us? The obvious answers to those questions emphasize why repetitive training with firearms is so important.
Once basic firearms proficiency has been achieved, it has become a learned task. In order to improve upon that task and build muscle memory, it must be continuously repeated on a regular basis. If not, proficiency decreases and the time and effort spent building that muscle memory will be lost, thus, leaving our savings account all but empty.
As a former military planner, my goal was to have my team on the range as much as possible. This not only served to maintain our proficiency, but it also allowed us to train new personnel and help them become as effective as the older members on the team. We would forecast our training six weeks out and try to find range time at least once or twice a month. By developing a training plan and forecasting our training over the year, we were able to effectively conduct training and meet the goals established by the team. On many occasions, we were unable to conduct firearms training due to a lack of ammunition or range availability. We would sometimes augment that training with either Simunition or Ultimate Training Munitions (UTM), but these types of training systems require the same amount of forecasting as firing live ammunition, and the ammunition for these systems was only allocated in small quantities. Numerous times, our scheduled firearms training had to be replaced with another type of training altogether, because we lacked a solution that would allow us to train when ammunition and ranges were not available.
UNIT Solutions is currently designing the TTS4 non-lethal training platform. The system was developed using compressed air technology and is designed to replicate an actual M-4. One purpose of this design is to allow military and law enforcement personnel to continue training when ammunition or ranges are unavailable. The TTS4 was designed to mirror the fit, form and function of an actual M4, and includes accurate recoil. Recoil is vital to firearms training to develop and practice target reacquisition after the weapon is fired. By having accurate recoil, the muscle memory built with the TTS4 will easily transition back to a real M-4. If training is cancelled, the TTS4 can fill the opportunity training gap because the projectiles are not annually allocated, and there is no requirement to store them in an Ammunition Supply Point. The system can be used almost anywhere, without the need for a training range. The only limiting factor of the TTS4 is the imagination of the trainer on where and how they decide to conduct training.
The TTS4 allows trainers to conduct training when needed, and reduces the amount of paperwork and backside support required. Therefore, it increases the actual amount of time available to conduct training, instead of spending valuable training time to supporting training.
Christopher Spence works in Business Development for UNIT Solutions. Previously, he served for 25 years in the U.S. Army, including 17 years with the United States Army Special Forces.