Navy jumps on the training reduction train for 2019

The Navy is the most recent military service to cut back some of its training requirements in hopes of easing burdens on its sailors.

General Military Training (GMT) demands will be pared back in an effort to “empower commanders with a greater ability to decide what training their personnel should receive,” Vice Adm. Robert Burke, the chief of naval personnel wrote in a message to the fleet.

Among the courses being taken out of mandatory, Navy-wide training: Alcohol, drugs and tobacco awareness, stress management, hazing policy and prevention, records management and electromagnetic warfare.

Individual commanders will decide if they want their sailors to engage in those courses. Those that are still mandatory include cyber awareness, suicide prevention and sexual assault prevention and response, among others.

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The Navy is just one of the big three services to push training decisions down to a lower level.

The Air Force led the way nearly two years ago when it began a concerted effort to cut some of its ancillary and computer-based training.

And on Monday, Heather Wilson, the service’s secretary, said the service has rescinded 240 separate instructions over the past 12 months as part of a broader effort to reduce administrative burdens.

“We have an Air Force instruction on how many lockers have to be available at base gyms. I’m not kidding. And it takes approval from a four-star general to waive that,” she said.

Also, by November, the Air Force plans to cut the number of internal control measures individual units must report via a computer-based inspection system. The checklists involved in the Management Internal Control System (MICT) will be reduced by half, Wilson said.

The Army announced this summer it is following in the footsteps of the Air Force.

“Consistent with the new The Army Vision, the Secretary of the Army has signed memorandums that modify or eliminate certain training requirements to improve the warfighting readiness and lethality of our Army. These memorandums will be captured in an Army directive that will be published this summer. This directive will ensure that existing Army directives and regulations are updated to reflect the Secretary’s guidance,” read a release from Army spokesman Maj. Christopher Ophardt.

The Army’s cuts are ongoing and have already eliminated travel risk planning system, media awareness and combating trafficking in persons training.

Units are no longer responsible for chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear training or counter improvised explosive device training. Information from those courses will be incorporated into units’ mission essential task training as part of the operational environment.

Transgender and suicide prevention training are also no longer required.

The reason behind the reduced training is varied. Some military personnel leaders said reducing the training is part of getting away from an antiquated personnel system and affording troops more time to spend with their families.

Other leaders contend training is too burdensome and bureaucratic, taking away time troops could work on readiness or other important areas.

Read more of the DoD Personnel Notebook.