Green Berets training has become ‘too easy,’ puts missions in jeopardy
Daily Mail · by · October 14, 2019
A shorter, revamped course for the United States Army Special Forces, also known as the Green Berets, has generated concerns that the elite soldiers won’t be able to face off enemies as effectively as they have in the past.
The once-two year training has been shortened, according to top Army brass, to shift the instruction away from one that was designed to weed out soldiers who struggled with every requirement to one that trains them better.
Green Berets complete their training upon arriving at their units, where the instruction can be customized to reflect the needs of the region where they are stationed, reports FOX.
Green Berets assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group are pictured above. A shorter, revamped course for the elite special forces service members has generated concerns that they won’t be able to face off enemies as effectively as they have in the past
Green Berets assigned to 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne) are pictured above entering the back of a CH-47 Chinook helicopter at Camp Mackal in Southern Pines, North Carolina. Part of the revamped Green Beret training course is held at the camp
The Army’s decision, military leadership says, comes in response to evolving security threats from North Korea, Russia, China, Iran and other potential adversaries on the world stage.
However critics say the army is more reacting to lagging recruitment numbers, which the easier training may help to improve with more graduates, and that the relaxed requirements are designed to eventually help women qualify for the special forces.
The easier training, critics also say, leaves service members ‘dangerously less capable than ever before,’ because they are not as well trained has they have been previously, reports FOX.
‘The danger of one unqualified officer making it through to command a Special Forces team is a balance that requires difficult choices,’ retired Brigadier General Donald Bolduc, a former Special Forces commander, told FOX.
‘The danger of one unqualified officer making it through to command a Special Forces team is a balance that requires difficult choices,’ retired Brigadier General Donald Bolduc, a former Special Forces commander pictured above, said in reference to concerns over the changes
The old training was designed for facing threats from more than a decade ago, say army leaders. ‘It wasn’t ‘what we need for 2028,’ said Major General Kurt Sonntag (pictured above), who until recently was commander of the Army Special Operations Center of Excellence
The old training was dated and designed for facing threats from more than a decade ago, say army leaders. ‘It wasn’t ‘what we need for 2028,’ said Major General Kurt Sonntag, who until recently was commander of the Army Special Operations Center of Excellence, which includes all the Special Forces training.
‘We need to reestablish our forte,’ he added, ‘which is our ability to work with partner forces, developing their capabilities to provide an advantage for them and the United States against our adversaries — North Korea, Iran, and China and Russia.’
There are more than 6,700 Green Berets, working in teams of 12 fighting doing specialized combat and counter-terrorism operations. Green Berets also offer battle-skills training to military forces in as many as 60 nations.
About a dozen died in combat this year, reports FOX, mainly while fighting alongside Afghan forces against the Taliban.
The revamping began when Major General John Deedrick, commander of 1st Special Forces Command, ordered that soldiers come out of their training with the basic skills they need, said Sonntag from the Special Forces training base at Camp Mackall, during a rare, two-day look at the course.
The training could then be sharpened once the soldiers arrived at their units, according to Sonntag.
‘If you try to make them an expert in everything, you’re gonna give me a Swiss Army knife that can do a little bit of everything but isn’t real good,’ the major general said in an interview in his Fort Bragg office. ‘I’d prefer to have him very good at the basics and then let me tailor what he’s gonna do in the long run.’
Some instructors, however, rejected the changes. One even complained in an anonymous 2017 email that ‘career-focused leaders’ were trying to meet graduation quotas, and had started paving the way with easier training for women to qualify for the special forces.
Some instructors rejected the special forces training changes. One even complained in an anonymous 2017 email that ‘career-focused leaders’ were trying to meet graduation quotas, and had started paving the way with easier training for women to qualify (pictured above)
Soldiers who failed their course requirements were being allowed to continue on, or were given a second chance, the emailed charged.
‘If they are concerned, I am concerned,’ said Bolduc, referring to the instructors’ worries.
The course has changed often over the decades, according to former instructors who spoke with the Associated Press. As a result attrition rates began increasing, as training expanded and added fitness exams, along with other requirements.
‘You can ratchet it up and up and up and up to the point where you don’t graduate anybody and nobody volunteers to come here,’ said retired Green Beret and former course instructor Chris Zets. ‘So, yeah, we’ve increased the standards, but then you don’t have anybody going to the force. So there’s a balancing act.’
The elite Green Berets, known for the head wear (pictured above) have several requirements in their training, but first must pass an assessment by superiors who identify soldiers that are cut out for the special forces, and those who aren’t. Many soldiers apply and fail
Green Berets have several requirements in their training, but first must pass an assessment by superiors who identify soldiers that are cut out for the special forces, and those who aren’t.
Many soldiers apply and fail.
More than 3,000 soldiers went up for their assessments in 2019, with only 936 passing and going on to training, and of that figure only 70 per cent gradated to become Green Berets.
Sonntag says he is firm about dropping unqualified soldiers, but that once they make it past their assessment, they focus should be on training them to meet the standards of the special forces.
Daily Mail · by · October 14, 2019