You said it all Brad when you said it is a tool. You can make something useful or you can make sawdust... of the audience's brains.
I have used Powerpoint since the version with Windows 3.1 and made all the usual mistakes except that, fortunately, that version of PP was not features rich.
Features such as slide transitions, text animations, slide animations, sound effects and so on are all useful, sort of, if used wisely and sparingly.
I do use slide transitions but the least obtrusive and the same one throughout.
I am surprised at the US military, usually they have training courses and manuals for everything. Clearly if slides that the one shown are used they have not bothered when it comes to Microsoft.
First rule of anything:
KISS - Keep It Simple, Stupid
I was fortunate to be sent on some training courses many years ago. Not the sort of Technical college training courses where some tutor works through the Microsoft tutorials, usually a step or two ahead of the class and which will show you all the wonders of wizards and effects, but a training course on presentations.
By the time you have given your firsts presentation and then watched yourself played back on video you are ready to listen and learn.
last year I gave another of My power point presentations at a conference in Antwerp. The audience reaction showed mine to be the best - topic, relevance, interest and presentation.
It has been a long path.