ALMARS : 046/17
R 211610Z DEC 17
MSGID/CMC WASHINGTON DC DMCS//
SUBJ/ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE BATTLE SKILLS TEST PROGRAM//
GENTEXT/REMARKS/1. As Marines, we take great pride in our ethos, Every Marine a rifleman, and our goal is for every Marine to possess the requisite knowledge and skills required to fight and win on the modern battlefield. One of the foundational hallmarks of the Marine Corps is that any Marine of any military occupational specialty can pick up a service weapon, cadre into a fighting unit, and employ that weapon in a tactical situation on the battlefield. The Marine Corps makes a significant investment in entry level training to achieve this end-state. Every enlisted Marine must graduate from Marine Combat Training to become a basic rifleman and every commissioned officer must pass The Basic School to become a provisional rifle platoon commander. This approach to basic training creates a shared bond and warfighting capability that ensures every Marine is prepared to fight and win in every clime and place.
2. Consistent with the Marine Corps Operating Concept that embraces our naval character, expeditionary mindset, tenets of maneuver warfare, and fighting as a combined arms force, it is imperative that we maintain our warfighting ethos and develop leaders at every echelon by renewing our focus on sustaining basic combat skills. We will achieve this objective by reinvigorating and integrating Battle Skills Test (BST) training and evaluation into unit and individual training regimens across the total force.
3. Effective 1 January 2018, commanders at all levels will plan, implement, and record BST training and evaluation as a part of their unit training plan. Marine Corps noncommissioned officers (NCO) will lead the charge at the small unit level, ensuring proficiency is maintained in individual BST skills through leader led and knee-cap to knee-cap training venues. NCOs are the center of gravity to success for the BST program, and preparing NCOs for the sustainment, training, and evaluation of their Marines is a leadership imperative. BST training will ensure every unit, regardless of mission, maintains a standardized level of proficiency in basic combat skills which in turn will enhance the unit's overall combat capability.
4. I have approved a concise list of 30 BST training and readiness events and associated training support packages (TSP) that cover the functional areas of history, Uniform Code of Military Justice, first aid, leadership, basic infantry skills, and communications. The TSPs for these designated events are available on the Marines.mil website. Unit commanders will utilize TSPs to train and evaluate their Marines. Individual BST training and evaluation will be recorded and tracked utilizing the Marine Corps Training Information Management System.
5. In order to ensure accountability for the execution of unit level BST training and evaluation, I have directed the Inspector General to include BST completion as an inspection requirement on the Unit Training Management Inspector General Checklist.
6. I understand and accept that this is an additional task to complete. That said, as we look to meet present and future challenges, it is crucial to recognize that our expeditionary readiness mindset and the warfighting capability manifested in the phrase every Marine a rifleman is built on individual proficiency in BST skills.
7. Robert B. Neller, General, U.S. Marine Corps, Commandant of the Marine Corps.//