The Leader Development and Assessment Course, also known as Operation Warrior Forge, is held annually at Fort Knox, Kentucky. The U.S. Army's largest training exercise, LDAC is the U.S. Army Cadet Command's capstone training event. The 29-day course starts with individual training and leads to collective training, building from simple to complex tasks. This building-block approach permits integration of previously-learned skills into follow-on training.
This logical, common-sense training sequence is maintained for each training cycle. Every day at LDAC is a day of training. Below are some highlights:
- APFT: The Army Physical Fitness Test Committee provides an accurate assessment of each cadet’s fitness level by testing their ability to pass the Army Physical Fitness test. The test consists of two minutes of push-ups, two minutes of sit-ups, and a 2 Mile Run course.
- Land Navigation: The Land Navigation Committee develops, assesses and trains 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 where they must find 4 of 6 Points in 4 hours on day course and 2 of 4 points in 2.5 hours on the night course. Cadets who are successful will also be taught more advanced land navigation skills and associated tasks, which include mounted land navigation, range estimation, terrain analysis, call for fire and range / sector cards.
- CBRN: The Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Committee trains Cadets on CBRN tasks and develops the cadet’s confidence in the U.S. Army’s protective mask and JSLIST clothing. Cadets learn to correctly wear, operate and have confidence in their CBRN clothing and equipment. The culminating experience at CBRN is to experience the CS chamber. Cadets gain confidence in their equipment by training in the CS Chamber.
- Confidence: The Confidence Committee challenges cadet’s strength, agility, physical, and mental courage. Over two separate sessions, cadets gain confidence in their ability to mentally and physically overcome irrational fears and challenges. Cadets attempt to complete all elements of the obstacle, confidence, and water confidence courses. The cadets apply effective team building techniques while negotiating Squad Obstacle Course, Squad (Zodiac) Maneuver Course, and Leader Reaction Course. Each Cadet rappels from a 17 foot and 37 foot tower, executes the Confidence Course, Log Walk Rope Drop & Slide for Life during their training with the Confidence Committee.
- BRM/LFX: The Basic Rifle Marksmanship / Live Fire Committee is tasked with familiarizing cadets with select US weapons, capabilities and employment techniques. Cadets receive training in order to conduct zero/qualification with the M16A2 rifle. After a cadet has qualified on his or her M16A2, cadets will receive additional training in preparation for conducting a cadet lead cadre supervised Squad Live Fire, engaging targets from a variety of positions in a tactical setting, the culmination of all their BRM training. Each cadet will also receive training and will live fire familiarize with the M249 Squad Automatic Weapon (SAW) and the M240B Machine Gun (MG). Cadets also receive familiarization training with the employment, operational capabilities, and effects of an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED), and Explosive Formed Projectile (EFP) in order to better prepare Cadets to conduct tactical operations Upon completion of all BRM training, cadets are prepared for future collective training and have confidence in their weapon system.
- Cultural Awareness: The Cultural Awareness Committee exposes cadets to cultural factors; ethical dilemmas, politics, religion, economics and their potential impact on Military Operations and Mission Accomplishment within the Contemporary Operating Environment (COE). Cadets examine and reflect upon the impact cultural awareness has on military operations and gain an understanding that culture matters and that cultural awareness will facilitate mission success.
- FLRC: The Field Leader Reaction Course Committee builds teamwork among cadet squads in a tactical environment. Cadet squads are presented with 12 different problems to solve as the squad rotates through the course. Leadership is rotated for each problem. Within 45 minutes, each cadet squad leader will receive an operations order, conduct troop leading procedures, devise a plan, issue an operations order, and attempt to solve the problem.
- Tactical Leader Development: The Tactical Leader Development Committee creates a challenging tactical environment over seven days, that provides a unique opportunity founded in the contemporary operating environment (COE) and basic squad and platoon level maneuver doctrine to observe and develop leadership potential. Cadets successfully demonstrate small unit leadership skills in a training scenario that represents the COE, receiving one squad-level evaluation during the traditional Squad Situational Training Exercise (STX). Cadets are then provided an opportunity to lead in several platoon positions during the last two days of TLD. Cadets receive a second evaluation for their overall performance at TLD.
- Mission Command: The Mission Command Committee exposes cadets to modern Mission Command and training opportunities available in the modern Army. Through leadership discussions and hands-on familiarization, cadets gain an understanding of leadership on the modern battlefield and training simulations that are available to help them prepare for modern battle.
- Task Force GOLD: Task Force GOLD’s mission is to familiarize the cadets by synchronizing the Road to War Brief, ARI testing, Sex Signals Training, and the Accessions Briefing to establish an environment conducive to ensuring Cadets possess basic knowledge required to make informed decisions and successfully lead others. Through the leadership discussions and briefings, cadets gain an understanding of leadership that allow them to make informed decisions.
The purpose of the course is to train U.S. Army ROTC Cadets to Army standards, to develop their leadership skills, and to evaluate their officer potential. Most Army Cadets attend LDAC between their junior and senior undergraduate years after having contracted to join the Army. Successful completion of LDAC is a prerequisite to becoming an Army officer through ROTC.