Brig. Gen. Patrick R. Michaelis
Commanding General of Fort Jackson
We face unprecedented challenges in recruiting new soldiers. Among a myriad of causes, America’s youth are less qualified than ever for service, with many unable to meet physical and academic standards. Obesity rates exceed 20% among children aged 12 to 19. Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) test scores have dropped 9% since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In total, only 23% of young Americans are fully qualified to enter the military.
Since the creation of the all-volunteer force in 1973, it has been the hardest recruiting command that has had to work to meet recruiting targets and, despite their best efforts to attract quality recruits to join the army, the Recruiters can’t help but find that many young Americans don’t have the resources they need to be physically ready or get the education required to perform well on standardized tests. The Army recognizes that the societal challenges facing our youth are not going away, so we will do something about it ourselves and build the next generation of soldiers.
On June 17, Fort Jackson received the initial order to create what is now called the Future Soldier Preparatory Course. The Preparatory Course is a three-week training opportunity hosted here at Fort Jackson and it is our endeavor to invest in America’s youth so they can unlock their true potential and meet our standards. Volunteers will get the chance they deserve to serve the nation. In both strands of the course – fitness and academic – recruits will train and study to meet our strict requirements.
The 120th Reception Battalion Fitness Company will lead the fitness component of the readiness course. It solves the problem that many children don’t grow up with the focus, investment, time, resources or diets needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Recognizing this, the goal of the fitness component is to train and educate recruits to safely lose 1-2% body fat per month by coaching them through the health and fitness program army holistic. Recruits will meet regularly with dietitians, athletic trainers and other fitness experts. We’ll give them the chance to build healthy habits and meet Army body fat composition standards.
The 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry Regiment, also known as Task Force Opportunity, conducts the academic component of the preparatory course. The academic component addresses the issue that standardized tests are losing their value for college admission and the reality that virtual learning has degraded the value of education throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Distance learning isn’t easy, and some Americans don’t have the constant internet access needed to attend online school. In the Academic Program, recruits will enter an immersive learning environment modeled after the Basic Skills and Education Program (BSEP). For three weeks, Task Force Opportunity instructors will focus on teaching word knowledge, reading comprehension, arithmetic reasoning and testing skills, abilities that anyone must master to achieve success. good results on any standardized test. At the end of the three weeks, recruits will retest. If they improve their scores enough, they will be able to renegotiate their contracts and choose from an expanded list of career areas based on their new score. If they don’t improve, they can repeat the course.
In both components, recruits have a maximum of 90 days to meet Army standards. To maintain a quality force, recruits who do not improve are not guaranteed to continue their basic combat training. Recruits in the fitness and academic streams that are recommended for separation may be separated for unsatisfactory performance while at entry level. This type of separation allows for quick release and allows recruits to re-enter the service smoothly after six months.
The first preparatory course recruits will arrive at Fort Jackson in the coming weeks. We are currently conducting rehearsals to ensure that the first class of recruits receive the quality instruction needed to succeed in the program. We will learn a lot over the next few months and will certainly evolve the course to make it an absolute success.
We invest in volunteers who have a strong desire to serve. We would be doing a huge disservice by turning down motivated candidates who have the noble goal of joining the military but simply don’t have the chance to grow up in an environment that could help them achieve their goals. We take some luck out of the equation and help motivated, disciplined individuals achieve their goals and unlock their innate potential. In doing so, we will build the quality military needed to deter potential adversaries and, if necessary, fight and win our nation’s wars.
|Date posted:||08.04.2022 13:33|
|Location:||FORT JACKSON, South Carolina, USA|
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