BCT Changes Oct. 1

The Army has recently set October 1 as the date to make some changes to Basic Combat Training, emphasizing fitness, individual skills, and personal character development over combat-specific skills, as the Army transitions away from conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The new curriculum still includes basic first aid and qualifying with their assigned weapon (with and without optics), but will wait until Advanced Individual Training for more advanced medical training and other, more specialized weapons. Since soldiers won't be deploying almost immediately after finishing up training, it's less necessary to try and fit in combat-related skills right away.

The new BCT will also change the land navigation exercise, reducing the number of soldiers in a group from four to two - ensuring that all soldiers participate in the map reading. The larger groups mean that sometimes only one or two soldiers would be actually reading the map, and the rest would just follow along.

Another big change comes to the beginning of BCT, as an initial fitness test will be added in the first weeks of training, to gauge whether a recruit will need more than 10 weeks to be able to pass the final Army Physical Fitness Test that takes place at the end of training. The goal is to lower the number of recruits that fail BCT due to inability to complete the APFT or injury.

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