What is Advanced Camp?
Army ROTC Advanced Camp is a 35-day training event designed to develop a Cadet’s critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and to forge them into tough, adaptable leaders who can thrive in ambiguous and complex environments. Advanced Camp is the capstone leader development opportunity for all Cadets between their Military Science (MS) III and MS IV years of ROTC.
Advanced Camp focuses on problem-solving in an operational setting to develop leader competencies; those intangible traits and attributes allow leaders to thrive in challenging conditions. Advanced Camp consists of 10 regiments composed of more than 6,000 Cadets.
Cadets reinforce basic skills through squad (9-13 Cadets) level leader development exercises, and transition to platoon (40-50 Cadets) level operations in a company construct. Advanced Camp consists of four phases, mirroring a deployment to an allied country which requires U.S. assistance.
Advanced Camp is divided into four phases:
Phase I (Reception & Staging)
Consists of the Cadets’ travel to Fort Knox, CST in-processing, senior leader briefs, and the Army Combat Fitness Test (ACFT), Phase I is conducted over five days.
Phase II (Integration)
Focuses basic skills reinforcement in squad level exercises. Cadets will build confidence through the Field Leaders’ Reaction Course (FLRC) and rappel tower. Cadets will refine their Soldier tasks through land navigation, first aid, basic rifle marksmanship (BRM), hand grenade, and CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear) training. Phase II is conducted over 10 days.
Phase III (Deployment & Field Training Exercise)
The deployment phase transitions the Cadet platoons from rehearsing Soldier tasks and battle drills into platoon-level exercises against a fully resourced, ‘near peer’ opposing force (OPFOR). The major Advanced Camp event is the field training exercise (FTX). During the FTX, Cadets must plan offensive, defensive, and stability operations, leading fellow Cadets in the execution of their plans. This event is conducted in a non-scripted operational environment that allows Cadre to add complex situations to test the Cadets’ performance at each stage. Phase III is best described as a ‘crawl, walk, run’ training program and is conducted over 13 days.
Phase IV (Redeployment & Reintegration)
Cadets perform deliberate recovery, prepare peer evaluations and self-assessments, and conduct physical training to include the must pass 12-mile road march. Cadets receive a Cadet Officer Evaluation Report (COER), discuss successes and opportunities, graduate, and return to their homes. The final phase is conducted over 7 days.
Below are some Advanced Camp Highlights:
The RECONDO badge is awarded to Cadets who display superior skills at Advanced Camp. They must exceed the standards in APFT, confidence courses, land navigation, marksmanship, first aid, CBRN, and the 12-mile foot march.
The land navigation training outcomes develop, assess and train Cadets in basic dismounted land navigation skills. Cadets demonstrate their ability to perform basic land navigation skills during day and night conditions on a verified course in varied terrain. Cadets are also taught advanced land navigation skills and associated tasks, which include mounted land navigation, range estimation, terrain analysis, and call for fire.
This includes rappel training, the slide for life, log walk/rope drop, and confidence and obstacle courses. Confidence training is designed to challenge the Cadets’ physical courage, build confidence in personal abilities, and help them overcome fear. At the rappelling site, each Cadet executes one 70-foot rappel and several 37-foot rappels. Cadets demonstrate confidence in their ability to overcome fear of heights by executing the confidence/obstacle course, log walk/rope drop and slide for life.
Basic Rifle Marksmanship (BRM)
The Basic Rifle Marksmanship (BRM) training familiarizes Cadets with select US weapons, capabilities and employment techniques. Cadets receive training in order to conduct zero/qualification with the M4/M16A2 rifle, to gain confidence in their assigned weapon and in their training by engaging targets on the range. After a Cadet has qualified on his or her assigned weapon, upon completion of all BRM training. Cadets are prepared for future collective training and have confidence in their weapon systems.
Cadets are trained on selected first aid tasks. By the end of the training, each Cadet is capable of applying life-saving first aid techniques to ensure battle buddy survivability on the modern battlefield. Instructors utilize training aids and resources to teach and test to the Combat Lifesaver standard on the following tasks: evaluate a casualty, airway management, CPR, chest wounds, control bleeding and treat for shock. The Cadets also participate in a squad level situational exercise that incorporates administering first aid in a tactical setting. Cadets gain an understanding that every Soldier, regardless of rank, must be able to administer aid to their fellow Soldier.
The First Aid Committee is tasked with training and testing Cadets on selected first aid tasks. By the end of the training, each Cadet is capable of applying life-saving first aid techniques to ensure unit member survivability on the modern battlefield. The committee utilizes training aids and resources to teach and test to the Combat Lifesaver standard the following tasks: Evaluate a Casualty, Airway Management, CPR, Chest Wounds, Control Bleeding and treat for Shock. The Cadets also participate in a squad level situational exercise that incorporates administering first aid in a tactical setting. Cadets walk away from training with realization that every Soldier, regardless of rank, must be able to administer aid to their fellow soldier.
Field Leader’s Reaction Course
FLRC is designed to develop and evaluate leadership, and to build teamwork early in the training cycle. Course administration is accomplished using the established Cadet organization and chain of command. Cadet leadership potential is assessed by cadre that are certified as observer, controller, trainers or OCTs. Cadets are provided the opportunity to get early feedback on their leadership strengths, weaknesses, styles and techniques from the OCTs.
Chemical, Biological, Radiological & Nuclear (CBRN)
Cadets are trained on CBRN tasks to develop confidence in the U.S. Army’s protective mask and chemical protective clothing. Cadets learn to correctly wear, operate and build confidence in their CBRN clothing and equipment. Cadets will gain an understanding of the leadership challenges and constraints associated with operating in a CBRN environment. The culminating experience at CBRN is exposure to the effects of live tear gas in the CBRN gas chamber.
In the first block of tactics instruction, Cadets learn individual battlefield skills, movement formations, techniques and procedures necessary for subsequent tactical training at the squad level. Small unit tactical training is a vehicle to teach and evaluate leadership. It introduces conditions of stress that parallel those found in combat.
Tactical training introduces new skills, provides performance-oriented reinforcement opportunities and increases the degree of difficulty and sophistication of training events. Cadets learn the skills necessary to function in a tactical training area. This building-block approach provides the best opportunity for Cadets to learn and for Cadre to assess their leadership potential.
Outcomes for Advanced Camp include:
- Assessing organizational capabilities and limitations to increase team cohesion and operational effectiveness.
- Developing agile and adaptive leaders that solve problems and thrive in ambiguous, complex operating environments.
Advanced Camp OPFOR
Approximately 1,300 Cadets participate in this program that provides an in-depth tactical experience for Basic Course Cadets. The AC OPFOR program is approximately 30-days in length and allows Cadets to test their leadership abilities at the Fire Team and Squad levels from troop leading procedures to tactical operations against Advanced Camp Squads and Platoons.