As the Army builds new commands focused on the future and staffs out teams to modernize its forces, the hub teaching the soldiers of today and tomorrow the craft of warfighting is the Maneuver Center of Excellence.
It’s always a busy place, from initial enlisted and officer training to mid-career command work to testing new concepts and gear. But perhaps now more than ever, MCOE is in the midst of a generational shift in how the Army prepares for and wages war.
Its commander, Maj. Gen. Gary Brito, spoke about all of the many moving parts across the Army and what the maneuver force’s center is doing to move the needle further.
“Broadly speaking on all that we’re doing here is increasing lethality and proficiency for the entire maneuver force,” Brito said in an interview with Army Times leading up to the Association of the United States Army’s annual meeting.
Some of that started with big changes last year in infantry One Station Unit Training which will become the new infantry OSUT for all this month as armor OSUT starts its pilot phase of transformation at the same time.
As of October, 10 cycles of infantry OSUT will have completed the 22-week transformation, Brito said.
That included more weapons, land navigation, combat lifesaver, urban, platform and other skills training. And delivering a finished product, not a work-in-progress, soldier to the operational forces.
“In short, we’ve moved beyond familiarization to proficiency to increase lethality across the infantry force,” Brito said.
And a new, more combat-oriented, way of both training and qualifying soldiers with their weapons, also recently emerged and is being conducted by OSUT trainees. That’s the “Dot-40,” an overall to Army individual weapons training strategy that was released in July.
Those same OSUT soldiers have also been immersed in the new Army Combat Fitness Test, something that the rest of the forces still has time to adapt to before they are taking it for score.
And MCOE doesn’t just get to simply focus on the foundational and demanding training they must deliver. They’re also closely tied in with key cross functional teams, especially Soldier Lethality, Synthetic Training Environment, and even Next Generation Combat Vehicle.
That’s, in part, because each of the teams, regardless of their aim, start and end with the individual soldier, and that’s where MCOE links in.
And more advancements are coming.
Brito said that MCOE is “leaning forward aggressively” with robotics. That will mean unmanned-manned teaming experimentation and evaluation with portions of MCOE that will mean early testing of tangible technology with the soldiers who’ll be using it closest to the enemy.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.