This Army Communicator edition is mostly devoted to a revolutionary new way of training the Signal Regiment’s soldiers and leaders for the future. We’re developing a state-of the-art information-technology training program that will transform the way we train soldiers for the objective force. Your understanding of our plan and support of our objectives are critical to the program’s success!
It’s no secret. IT training demands are growing exponentially, and training can’t keep pace. Our current institutional-training model focuses almost entirely on lengthy periods of resident instruction, with significant gaps of time between them. Even as newly trained soldiers arrive in the field, commercial-off-the-shelf equipment dates what they’ve learned in the school. I know many of you are running your own "unit universities" to fill the IT training gaps and meet your unit’s specific needs.
To overcome this shortfall, the Signal Center is aggressively leveraging new education-and-training methods and technologies that are dating traditional methods of instruction. "Lifelong learning" is the overarching objective we envision, and it will include both traditional resident instruction and web-based technology-assisted training. Our goal is to provide better-trained soldiers to the field faster who will continue to grow technically and tactically wherever they serve.
The Signal Center’s newly established University of Information Technology will underpin lifelong learning. UIT will provide the entire Signal community with resident and non-resident training support, including technology-assisted learning materials, just in time and on demand at the individual soldier’s location. We’re establishing the UIT Resource Center to enable 24/7 reachback and access to the university’s digital library from any location worldwide.
We’re developing a suite of exportable simulation software to support technical (science) and tactical (art) education and training – "learning by doing." We’re partnering with unit training centers to establish a network of extension campuses at distant locations where high concentrations of Signal soldiers can learn at the "teachable moment" right where they reside. UIT will be the "home" university enabling lifelong learning and fostering professionalism among all members of the Signal Regiment wherever they serve.
Assignment-oriented training will be the key to getting better-trained soldiers to the field faster. Instead of training each soldier on everything, we will "tailor" training to the soldier’s first assignment location. Our pilot program for 31R (multichannel-transmission-systems operator-maintainer) AOT started Oct. 29. We anticipate great success and are anxious to expand AOT to other Signal military-occupation specialties. You’ll see graduates in the field starting in February 2002, and I’d like field feedback on how well these AOT soldiers perform. Next, we plan to begin AOT training for MOS 31S (satellite-communications-systems operator-maintainer) in March 2002.
Follow-on training and continuous self-development is a critical element of lifelong learning. Soldiers in the field will share a greater responsibility for their own self-development – we’ll provide the tools, but it will be the soldiers’ duty to use them. A culture change will be required in the units, as commanders must provide time for individual soldiers to develop and learn on their own at the teachable moment.
The Signal Regiment is leading the way in transforming the Army’s approach to training. Please become familiar with our concept and understand where we’re going. I need you join our effort to ensure our IT soldiers and leaders remain the best in the world. If you desire more information after reading the articles, you can view our master plan at http://www.gordon.army.mil/usascfg/uittf/default.htm. I welcome your thoughts and feedback.