Army SMA says don’t do mandatory training. Huh?

| September 21, 2022

Not sure if this is a breath of fresh air or evidence of insanity -there is a bloc of on-line classes which soldiers are mandated to complete every year. Without fail. And the Sergeant Major of the Army, Michael Grinston, says not to bother.

“Don’t do it,” Sergeant Major of the Army Michael Grinston told soldiers at a conference Tuesday. “Set priorities for your organization and fight for it.”

Army senior leaders want commanders to stop hounding their soldiers to complete the mandatory online training, part of a broader shift away from the Global War on Terrorism era and toward ramping up training for conventional warfare. That training is expected to be faster-paced and more complicated.

The classes are largely seen as a burden on the force, taking soldiers away from training and duties pertaining to their job, with most of the information covered in the online courses potentially included in more detailed training programs soldiers already must undertake. The online classes are also run off of clunky Defense Department websites that are known to crash often.

Not completing those courses isn’t reflected on a soldier’s record; instead, the data is usually shown exclusively in internal unit rosters for commanders to note who did the training. The only training that directly impacts the careers of enlisted troops are other lengthy online courses, needed to rise to the next rank.

Military Times

Not sure who blew smoke up the reporter’s butt with that last, anyone who was ever in for more than a few minutes knows that if something is a pet project of the commander’s, even if not mandatory, it’s at least as important as any other factor if you want advancement. Whether it may be painting rocks, CFC contributions, “volunteering” for unofficial projects… if you don’t show you are a gung-ho supporter, you’re gonna get left by the peer who does.  But in any case, one wonders: if this is so essential it is mandatory, why get told not to do it. And if being told not to do it, why is it mandatory?

Now if only SMA Grinston would turn a kindly gaze on some of the other politically corrrect trainings…


Category: "The Floggings Will Continue Until Morale Improves", Army, Dumbass Bullshit

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Still trying to wrap my head around this concept that training online equals combat ready or promotions. So, if one is a PowerPoint Ranger, do they go to the next rank?


Just ask Theodore Kosin.

Buenos Dias

Online anybody can say anything without bad things happening. I was shot 4 times in Vietnam and I still have at least 23 partially shattered bones.


The online training that is necessary to gain rank is the Distributed Leader Course (DLC), formerly Structured Self-Development (SSD). When it was first initiated back around 2010 I enrolled in and completed all available levels. I only needed SSD-3, but completed SSD-1 because I wanted to be familiar with it to assist my Soldiers, as well as SSD-4 because i knew I’d be required to complete it after I completed M-ANCOC in the near future. There was no SSD-2, as BNCOC Phase 1 served the same purpose. The thought process, as I understand it, is to bridge the gap between resident NCO Education System (NCOES) courses. Basically, continuous learning as opposed to multi-years gaps in education. For me, this didn’t work. I graduated BNCOC in 2007 and complete all levels of SSD in 2010. I wasn’t selected for SFC for almost seven more years, so by the time I attended the Senior Leader’s Course it had been 11 years since BNCOC and SSD had changed a few times over.


Despite the 12 year gap between SSD-4 completion and now, it is still reflected in my records. Doesn’t matter as I’m on retirement leave as an E7, but if I had wanted to compete I’d be as qualified as the next SFC who might have just finished DLC.

The classes like Cyber Awareness, Anti-Terrorism Level 1, Annual SHARP Refresher, and so on have gotten slightly better over the years. Most have a pre-test that will determine what, if any, sections of training must be completed. It’s frustrating to get a wrong answer or two, but 5-10 minutes of course content beats sitting through 45 minutes or more.

Ultimately, though, most of these classes are check the block courses for leadership to cover themselves. SPC Intel in S2 had a spillage? Well, she was current on Cyber Awareness and her classified document training, it’s on her. Nothing in the SHARP Refresher videos (which you could skip entirely if you passed test) couldn’t be demonstrated during the quarterly SHARP training.


I guess this newer comment section has a character limit, and I’m excessively verbose at times, so please forgive the multiple replies…

In my experience, mandatory online training boils down to 120+ Soldiers in an Infantry Company being told after lunch that no one is released until the company is 100% on (insert class here). There’s a scramble to get to the library or Education Center, because most Infantry companies only have two computers per Platoon. These unfamiliar with the content, or just plain slow, may take an hour to complete it, while others may have their certificate in a few minutes.

Then you have leaders who insist on everyone having the same completion date. This further complicates things as there are Soldiers like me who actually kept track of when training was due and completed it before it expired. “Sorry, it’s August now and your certificated is dated June, gotta redo it to get on the same page as everyone else.”


In addition to all of the above challanges, one has to consider those troops that struggle with English/Grammer. Like, which pronoun do I use here? Is my participle dangling? Did I insert my participle in the wrong place? When do we talk about a period? Monthly?

Remember when you did training that was specific to doing the job you signed up for? Pepper Ridge Farms remembers.

Buenos Dias

Because I respected the work you and others do I refused President Johnson’s offer to advance me offer to O-9 and retire me at O-9. I found a way to stop the trouble making way the 3 tribes were working to cause trouble and I stopped them- but many others did the HARD work.

Green Thumb

SMA Grinston is a fucking turd.

The Stranger

Short and to the point. I expected nothing less. 🤣

Skivvy Stacker

When I was in we had to actually use books to do any studying and learning.
That was much better than the guys from Vietnam who had to get their on-line learning from cave paintings.

RGR 4-78

Waiting for the clay tablets to dry so they could be fired seemed to take forever. 🙄 

Skivvy Stacker

And if you dropped them and they broke you’d go running off to your mummy.

Sorry, I just had to do that joke.


DON’T do you powerpoints, DO apply for food stamps. Any questions?


But the transgender, white rage, etc. training is excluded from that…

Buenos Dias

What is SMA?

Sergeant Major of the Army. Name changed to protect PII.

Herbert J Messkit

Battalion chemical officers heads explode. Half their QTB slides are now doo doo.

Prior Service

It’s easy to say this but how about showing me the rescinded regs (and congressional legislation in many cases) that makes this legit instead of putting every commander and senior NCO in a bind when someone asks for it. Saying “don’t do it” is worse than a joke because you are setting leaders up for failure, big time.