FORT JACKSON, South Carolina — The Army's pre-basic training courses are here to stay and will likely be a fundamental tool for the service to fill the ranks amid falling academic performance and growing obesity among young Americans.
The Future Soldier Preparatory Course was launched as a pilot program in August last year, with most of it held here at Fort Jackson. Early results suggest it could be a massive success — winning virtually universal praise from Army officials — as it helps the service climb out of the biggest recruiting slump in decades.
Starting in October, the course will move from that pilot stage into a permanent school in the Army's portfolio, opening up more resources and funding, and signaling the preparatory courses will likely be an integral part of the service for the foreseeable future.
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“Our insistence on not lowering the standard to enter basic training means that we have to be ready to remove obstacles for those that want to serve,” Brig. Gen. Jason Kelly, commander of the Army Training Center and Fort Jackson, told Military.com in an interview. “So, this is a program of record. Next month, that will be true. We're moving away from pilot.”
As of Tuesday, 10,260 soldiers had attended at least one of the prep courses and moved on to basic training — a 95% graduation rate, according to data provided by…