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CTC [Combat Training Center] innovations prep units for Iraq, Afghanistan
Army News Service ^ | June 17, 2005 | Gary Sheftick

Posted on 06/18/2005 9:51:49 AM PDT by 68skylark

Hundreds of Arab linguists have been hired at the Army’s combat training centers to replicate current conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Caves and tunnel complexes have been built, along with walled enemy compounds. Iraqi police stations, power plants and local security forces have been simulated. And these are just a few of the innovations over the past few years to adapt the CTCs to the “contemporary operational environment” of the War on Terror.

Brigade-sized tank battles at Fort Irwin, Calif., for the most part, have been replaced by a smaller-unit counter-insurgency focus, said Brig. Gen. Louis W. Weber, the Army’s director of training, G3/5/7. But he’s quick to add that the National Training Center still retains a capability to focus on the high-end spectrum of war.

In fact, he said NTC rotations this summer may begin with a brigade-sized tank charge across the desert, not unlike the armored advance across Iraq two years ago. After the major battles, the 4th Infantry Division rotations will then focus on stability operations, similar to what the Soldiers may face when they return to Iraq.

The 4th ID rotations will be “a little more complex, a little broader,” Weber said, adding that it’s being done upon request of the 4th ID commander, who wants to focus on the full spectrum of operations, like synchronizing fires and battlefield operating systems.

“We’re tailoring rotations to the unit commander’s need,” said Lt. Col. Frank Pannocchia of G3 who helps resource and monitor all activities at the maneuver combat training centers – NTC, the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, La., and the Combat Maneuver Training Center in Germany.

The majority of rotations at the combat training centers are now mission rehearsal exercises to prep units for deployment, Pannocchia said.

The CMTC pioneered the mission rehearsal exercises at Hohenfels, Germany, in 1995 to prepare units there for deployments to Bosnia, Pannocchia said. CMTC was the first to populate MOUT sites and other areas in the box with civilian on the battlefield or COBs. They did this for the first Stabilization Force rotation, known as SFOR1.

Now all the CTCs focus the mission rehearsal exercises on replicating Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lessons observed in Iraq and Afghanistan are rapidly transmitted back to the CTCs with the assistance of personnel from the Center for Army Lessons Learned, known as CALL. In addition, observer-controllers at the training centers go forward to Iraq and Afghanistan to bring back the latest in enemy techniques, tactics and procedures.

One of the first lessons observed during the initial stages of the Afghan conflict was that more training was needed on urban operations, said Weber, who commanded the Operations Group at NTC three years ago.

So facilities were built at NTC for Military Operations in Urban Terrain, or MOUT, and staffed with Arab-speaking role players.

“We’re trying to establish some cultural awareness within the units,” Weber said, adding that deploying Soldiers learn the “do’s and don’ts” of working in a foreign culture. He said unit leaders also experience the challenge of working through translators.

Now all CTCs populate their MOUT villages with a number of Farsi speakers to accurately replicate the current environment and add cultural challenges to training scenarios.

“That shows how flexible the CTCs are as well,” Pannocchia said.

Units rotating through any of the CTCs now have the opportunity to practice working side-by-side with Iraqi or Afghan security forces and coalition partners, he said.

Recent rotations have brought partnership units from other nations to the CTCs, Pannocchia said, to train alongside U.S. formations. A CH-47 and AH-64 helicopter unit from the Royal Singapore Air Force recently trained at JRTC. And a New Zealand Air Force transport unit of C-130s recently took part in a rotation at Fort Polk, La., before heading for Afghanistan.

Saudis and Egyptians recently participated in the Leaders Training Programs preceding CTC rotations. Great Britain and Sweden want to send some of their Special Forces to JRTC in the near future, Pannocchia said.

The CTCs are now adding more integration with Army Special Operations Forces, including Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations teams into rotations, Pannocchia said. He said it’s all part of lessons learned in Iraq and Afghanistan where conventional forces must work with Special Operations.

Other innovations at the CTCs to replicate Iraq and Afghanistan include:

• Realistic convoy live-fire training

• Improvised Explosive Device, or IED simulators

• Emphasis on detention operations

• Increased medical training and medical Rules of Engagement

• Responding to media on the battlefield

• Synchronization of the logistical and medical units with the Brigade Combat Teams

• Greater use unmanned aerial vehicles, called Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

• More flexible and free thinking Opposing Force

• Emphasis on Information Operations

“In the last couple of years, every formation has been deployed,” Weber said.

He added that the CTCs will continue to do everything they can to prepare units for deployment.

“Innovations at the CTCs are not a new phenomenon,” Weber said. “They have been innovative since we created them,” he said, adding “that’s why we created them.”

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; US: California; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: afghanistan; iraq; iraqoef; oef; oif; rebuildingiraq; training; translators

Soldiers from the 48th Brigade Combat Team interact with Arab role-players in one of the National Training Center's mock cities at Fort Irwin, Calif., April 19.
Staff Sgt. Carmen Burgess
1 posted on 06/18/2005 9:51:50 AM PDT by 68skylark
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To: 68skylark
It takes long, hard work to train the next generation of communist/fascist/Pol Pot-like troops.
2 posted on 06/18/2005 9:52:38 AM PDT by 68skylark
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To: 68skylark

and they are all wearing their MILES gear!

Laser TAG!!!!

3 posted on 06/18/2005 9:53:03 AM PDT by MikefromOhio (LOL!!!)
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To: MikeinIraq

One of them has a suicide belt on, I'd guess -- hopefully they'll "tag" her quick.

4 posted on 06/18/2005 9:54:35 AM PDT by 68skylark
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To: 68skylark


I didnt catch that....

5 posted on 06/18/2005 9:57:53 AM PDT by MikefromOhio (LOL!!!)
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To: 68skylark
It takes long, hard work to train the next generation of communist/fascist/Pol Pot-like troops

Yeah, but lil' Dickie supports the troops, so it's no problem... ;~)

6 posted on 06/18/2005 9:58:55 AM PDT by TADSLOS (Right Wing Infidel since 1954)
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To: 68skylark

Do the gals still need to get showered off every five days, by regulation?

7 posted on 06/18/2005 10:00:13 AM PDT by Meldrim
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To: MikeinIraq

I'm only guessing -- having been through a few role-plays myself.

8 posted on 06/18/2005 10:01:47 AM PDT by 68skylark
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To: Meldrim
If I recall, the standards for soldiers are a 3-day shower interval for women and a 5-day schedule for me. But in the field training operation where I learned that fact, we all went the full 17 days with no showers.

Hopefully civilian role-player live in much more comfort than the troops they're training -- otherwise there wouldn't BE many civilian role-players

9 posted on 06/18/2005 10:04:56 AM PDT by 68skylark
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To: Meldrim

I meant to write "a 5-day schedule for men."

10 posted on 06/18/2005 10:12:08 AM PDT by 68skylark
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To: 68skylark

I will always think that the sight of the "Regiment" attacking into the 'Valley of Death' is an incredible sight.

11 posted on 06/18/2005 10:39:14 AM PDT by Yasotay
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To: Yasotay

I was out there this week, the Regiment was in the real Valley of Death - Iraq, the 58th Engineer Company was just returning from its one year tour, and the desert was as green as I've ever seen it. Amazing how fast things grow back when you stop doing those MRD attacks.

12 posted on 06/18/2005 7:56:02 PM PDT by centurion316
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To: centurion316

That just seems so surreal, the desert being green and the Regiment in Iraq.

13 posted on 06/19/2005 9:37:14 AM PDT by Yasotay
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