The Ukrainian Armed Forces are facing challenges in their training methods, including a lack of uniformity, mission command, effective training, and combined arms operations. The outdated Soviet mentality among some officers and the absence of an experienced noncommissioned officer corps further contribute to these issues. To address these problems, the article suggests implementing a thirty-day “train the trainer” program conducted by Western contracted military instructors, in collaboration with Ukrainian military veterans, to improve uniform combined arms training and mission command.
- Lack of mission command: Junior officers in the Ukrainian Armed Forces fear making mistakes and often seek guidance on decision-making authority. The planning process requires separate orders for each operation phase, limiting flexibility and inhibiting quick responses to unexpected opportunities.
- Lack of effective training: The current training philosophy is based on the outdated Soviet model, lacking true combined arms training involving infantry, artillery, and armor working together. The absence of an experienced noncommissioned officer corps further hinders effective training and mission command at lower levels.
- Lack of combined arms operations: The Ukrainian Armed Forces struggle with synchronizing operations between different units, resulting in high rates of fratricide and failed operations. The relationship between armor and infantry is not symbiotic, and artillery fires are not properly coordinated with maneuver. Communications between units and with senior leadership are unreliable, and sustainment is not synchronized with operations.
- Inefficiency in training centers: The armed forces’ separate training centers for each service and the lack of instructor exchange result in varying degrees of competence across services and units. The absence of common doctrine and tactics leads to misunderstandings and miscommunications during joint operations.
- Inconsistent external training efforts: While volunteer organizations and NATO provide training to the Ukrainian Armed Forces, the focus is often on basic soldier skills and specialty training. Extended periods away from the front lines can disrupt operations, and the training efforts do not always adapt to the Ukrainian military’s specific needs and constraints.
- Recommendations: Implementing a thirty-day “train the trainer” program conducted by Western military instructors, in collaboration with Ukrainian veterans, is proposed to improve uniform combined arms training and mission command. This approach aims to capitalize on advanced Western military equipment and enable Ukraine to overcome Russia’s manpower advantages.