December 16, 2022

Have Soldiers Forgotten How to Use a Map and Compass?


Journalist: Steve Beynon

As of now, passing isn't required to graduate. But the high failure rate is a troubling sign as the service gears up for conventional warfare, with future conflicts expected to see the wide use of cyber weapons, which can knock out the GPS tools soldiers relied on during the Global War on Terror era.

"Land navigation is a critical military skill; it doesn't matter if you're not combat arms," Katherine Kuzminski, the senior fellow and program director for military, veterans and society at the Center for a New American Security, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank, told "Soldiers need to know how to navigate, especially in a degraded environment. It's increasingly going to be an issue for the military. This generation grew up with GPS."

While the troops in BLC serve as something of a sample of the general rank and file, shallow land navigation skills haven't impacted the service's elite schools to the same extent. In Ranger School, only about 6% of students fail navigation tests, according to Army data.

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  • Katherine L. Kuzminski

    Deputy Director of Studies, Director, Military, Veterans, and Society Program

    Katherine L. Kuzminski (formerly Kidder) is the Deputy Director of Studies, and the Director of the Military, Veterans, and Society (MVS) Program at CNAS. Her research special...