What is it? The mission of the Combined Training Center Program (CTC) 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 prepared for their assigned mission. The CTC Program includes the following organizations:
What has the Army done? Since 2003, the CTCs have primarily been planning, coordinating, and conducting Mission Rehearsal Exercises (MREs) for maneuver BCTs and Mission Readiness Exercises (MRXs) for commanders and staff to prepare units to operate in the Contemporary Operational Environment (COE) within a joint or multi-national force during stability and support operations or contingency operations. Training innovations at the CTCs are continually incorporated to replicate the current COE in Iraq and Afghanistan. The CTCs have drastically changed their training approach to better prepare Soldiers to meet the demands of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The MREs are specifically tailored to prepare units for the conditions in the combat zone, either Iraq or Afghanistan, to which they will deploy.
The CTCs have reconfigured the training areas that replicate threat environments to include Improvised Explosive Device (IED) lanes, tunnel and cave complexes and walled compounds. Additional buildings and shantytowns, populated with Iraqi or Afghani natives, throughout the training area were added with regional names to better replicate the urban environment the Soldiers will see in theater. Forward Operating Bases (FOBs) were added to replicate and stress the force protection requirements and measures that units will have to develop in theater. While the CTCs retain the capability to train to major combat operations 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.
Why is this important to the Army? Overall, the training environment at our CTCs must be rapidly adaptable to the COE as our enemies change tactics and our operations shift. Additionally, the CTCs must assist in anticipating the future needs for units in theater. The complex, event-driven scenarios use cause and effect interactions and challenges the brigade combat team to execute multiple, simultaneous missions. This dynamic and demanding training prepares units for their next stop – combat operations in Iraq or Afghanistan.