January 9, 2018

US Marine Battle Skills Test FAQ

Battle Skills Test

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

 What is the purpose of the Battle Skills Test (BST)?

The program’s purpose is to reinforce the Marine Corps legacy of “Honor, Courage, and Commitment,” as well as our ethos of “Every Marine a Rifleman.”  Marines have been taught to value their Corps’ history; to be morally and physically resilient; to be offensively minded; lethal with their weapons; and, proficient in basic infantry skills.  In short, Marines have been taught to be prepared for combat.  The BST Program is essentially sustainment training, preparing individual Marines to be ready for the next fight.

Why is the Marine Corps modifying and reinvigorating the BST Program?

The BST program has existed in various forms for several decades.  Training methods have adapted over the years, but the intent has always been to sustain designated, individual, non-military occupational specialty specific common skills across the Marine air-ground task force (MAGTF).  Previous versions ranged from written tests to 150 events sustained and recorded every year.  Now, is the moment when the Corps seizes the opportunity to return to mastery of common skills required to shoot, move, and communicate.

How were the tasks for the BST selected?

A review of 178 sustainable tasks from entry level training, recruit training and Marine combat training, was conducted and tasks deemed most critical to the success of Marines throughout their careers were selected.  These tasks were then vetted by the total force and subsequently approved by Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC).

What are the 30 Skills that make up the BST?

  1. Apply a tourniquet
  2. Communicate using hand and arm signals
  3. Conduct immediate action
  4. Conduct observation
  5. Corrective action with a service rifle
  6. Describe the use of deadly force
  7. Defend a position
  8. Describe Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) Article 15, Non-judicial punishment
  9. Describe UCMJ Article 31, Rights of the Accused
  10. Describe MAGTF organizations
  11. Describe operational security
  12. Describe the Code of Conduct
  13. Describe the phases of Tactical Combat Casualty Care
  14. Describe the stresses of combat
  15. Describe your rights as a Prisoner of War
  16. Explain the decision cycle process (OODA loop)
  17. Handle detainees
  18. Identify Anomalies
  19. Identify indicators of improvised explosive devises
  20. Identify significant events in Marine Corps history
  21. Identify the historical significance of Marine Corps uniform items
  22. Employ a map and compass
  23. Operate a VHF radio
  24. Prepare for combat
  25. Search an individual
  26. Stand a sentry post
  27. Submit a message
  28. Treat a cold injury
  29. Treat a heat injury
  30. Weapons handling procedures with a service rifle


Who is required to participate in Annual BST Training and Evaluation?

Marines, Private to General, will participate in the BST Program as an annual training requirement; the program will be considered no different from the rifle and pistol range, or physical fitness test/combat fitness test.  Combat makes no distinctions about rank, and all Marines must be ready to pick up a weapon, fight, and win.

Are Navy personnel required to receive BST?

No.  This is a service training requirement for Marines.  Sailors assigned to Marine units should be encouraged to participate.  However, at present there is no requirement for Sailors to attend BST unit training and evaluation.

Who can teach the Classes?

Per CMC guidance, this training should be conducted primarily by noncommissioned officers (NCO) and small unit leaders.  The goal is to make sure Marines are proficient in the common skills.  In addition, the BST program also provides a training opportunity to develop NCOs and small unit leaders through leader-led training.  The BST program will ensure small unit leaders are engaged and accountable for the training and evaluation of their Marines.  It also affords commanders the flexibility to train their Marines whenever and wherever it makes sense.

How will the events be evaluated?

The program leaves the methodology of evaluation up to unit commanders.  However, the use of the “teach it, test it” method is highly encouraged.  This allows the NCO or the small unit leader to train their Marines and then immediately evaluate them on the subjects they just trained on.  Conducting training and evaluation by utilizing this method provides NCOs and small unit leaders’ maximum flexibility and immediate feedback concerning the quality of instruction, retention of knowledge, and skills proficiency.

How much time does it take to complete the BST program?

Although the training and evaluation vary per task, the average task take about 15 minutes of training with 3 to 10 minutes per Marines for evaluation.  Overall, the time to train is about 7.5 hours to train and 2.5 hours per Marine for evaluation.  Approximate times to train and evaluate per task are provided in the training support packages (TSPs).

How will training be recorded?

In the Marine Corps Training Information Management System (MCTIMS), within the Unit Training Management (UTM) module under Individual Marine Management (IMM) functions along with all other annual training.

How do Marines access the training materials?

Marines will be able to access the TSPs and the relevant evaluation checklists by visiting the TECOM public facing SharePoint site at and selecting the annual training tab.

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