U.S. Army Combat Training Center Program
What is it? The mission of the U.S. Army Combat Training Center (CTC) Program is to provide highly realistic and stressful joint, combined arms training for Soldiers, leaders, and units according to Army and joint doctrine. The CTCs produce bold, innovative leaders to deal with complex situations, flexible Soldiers with the warrior ethos, and well-trained units in preparation for their wartime missions. The CTC Program includes the following organizations: The Battle Command Training Program (BCTP) based at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. BCTP supports realistic, stressful training and leader development for corps, division, and brigade commanders and their staffs of Army Service Component Commands / Army Forces. The Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) located at Fort Polk, Louisiana primarily trains light infantry Brigade Combat Teams against a "live" replicated opposing force. Though JRTC primarily trains light forces, it can and has trained heavy (mechanized) forces and Stryker Brigade Combat Teams. The National Training Center (NTC) located at Fort Irwin, California primarily trains heavy Brigade Combat Teams against a "live" replicated opposing force. Though NTC primarily trains heavy forces, it can and has trained light infantry forces and Stryker Brigade Combat Teams. The Joint Multinational Readiness Center (JMRC) at Hohenfels, Germany primarily trains Brigade Combat Teams assigned to the United States Army in Europe against a "live" replicated opposing force in a Contemporary Operational Environment. JRTC, NTC, and JMRC also plan, coordinate and conduct Mission Rehearsal Exercises to prepare units to operation within a joint or multi-national force during stability and support operations or contingency operations.
What has the Army done? Training innovations at the Combat Training Centers are continually incorporated to replicate the current Contemporary Operational Environment in Iraq and Afghanistan. Training is specifically tailored to prepare units for the conditions in the combat zone. Over the past two years, the CTCs have reconfigured the training areas that replicate threat environments to include tunnel and cave complexes and walled compounds. Additional buildings and shantytowns throughout the training area were added with regional names to better replicate the urban environment the Soldiers will see in theater. Forward Operating Bases were added to replicate and stress the force protection requirements and measures that units will have to develop in theater. While the CTCs have retained the capability to return to high intensity unit training needed for other potential theaters of war and the new modular brigades, the current focus has shifted to counter-insurgency operations and lessons from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
What efforts does the Army plan to continue in the future? The CTCs are fundamental to Army unit readiness and leader development. The Army will always continue to review and determine strategies that will help mitigate problems in the future while maintaining the best possible training environment for the current force. The Army continues to identify adjustments to the CTC Program to support modular force and ARFORGEN training requirements. One of the major recommendations of this assessment is the establishment of Exportable Training Capability (ETC) to support training of Brigade Combat Teams during the Reset/Train Phase of the ARFORGEN process.
Why is this important to the Army? Overall, the training environment at our CTCs is one that emphasizes rapid change, adaptation to current activities, and anticipates the future needs for units in theater. The complex, event-driven scenarios challenge the Brigade Combat Team to execute multiple, simultaneous missions and uses cause and effect interactions to produce realistic results that prepare units for their next stop - combat operations in Iraq or Afghanistan.