Is it effective to conduct so much of our training certifications and screenings online? It seems to me that an inordinate amount of training is being completed on Web-based systems.

As a platoon sergeant, it seems like a couple of times a month I must get each of my soldiers to sit behind a computer to conduct yet another obligatory training.

Anti-terrorism training, accident-avoidance courses, now mental health screenings are conducted online.

It seems like we are developing a culture of “check the block” training and evaluations, to have verification of performing our duties as leaders.

Instead of sitting down face to face with our soldiers to evaluate how they are doing, we sit them behind a computer for 20 minutes and have them complete yet another survey.

Company commanders will call it a success when their stats are 100 percent. But what exactly have we done for our soldiers? Showed them how much we care by sitting them behind a computer? Verified they are safe drivers by evidence of the certificate they printed out? Ensured that they are operations-security-knowledgeable by their online quiz?

Now a mental health screening: What happens when, by evidence of their “check marks,” we have a soldier in desperate need of help? Will his first-line supervisor get an e-mail via AKO (Army Knowledge Online)? Or maybe a phone call to his company commander? Or will that data just get stored in some mainframe in Washington for “statistical analysis”?

I understand they are trying to do something, but if all we can come up with to evaluate and educate our soldiers on some very important topics is a Web-based system, we as leaders need to come up with a better plan, a plan that is “human-based,” with meaningful interaction with our soldiers.

Staff Sgt. Andrea AquinoCamp Adder, Iraq

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