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Combat Training Center (CTC) Program

What is it?
The mission of the Army CTC Program is to provide realistic Joint and combined arms collective training for Soldiers, leaders, staffs, and units according to Army and Joint doctrine. The CTC Program includes several organizations. The Battle Command Training Program (BCTP), based at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, provides training and leader development for corps, division, and brigade commanders and their staffs. The Joint Readiness Training Center, located at Fort Polk, Louisiana, trains primarily Infantry Brigade Combat Teams (IBCTs). The National Training Center, located at Fort Irwin, California, trains primarily mechanized BCTs. The Joint Multi-National Readiness Center at Hohenfels, Germany trains primarily BCTs assigned to Europe. Regardless of training location, all units face a highly skilled opposing force that uses our enemy's current tactics, techniques, and procedures.

What has the Army done?
Since 2003, the CTCs have been conducting mission rehearsal exercises (MREs) and mission readiness exercises for corps, divisions, and BCTs deploying to Iraq or Afghanistan. The CTCs have drastically changed their training to ensure that Soldiers are prepared for counterinsurgency operations (COIN) in the Central Comman in area of responsibility. The MREs are tailored to prepare units for the specific conditions found the tactical, operational, and cultural terrain for which they are scheduled to deploy. The CTCs have reconfigured the training areas to replicate current operational environments and include improvised explosive device lanes, tunnel and cave complexes, and walled compounds. Additional buildings and shantytowns, populated with Iraqi or Afghan natives living in the United States, have been spread throughout the training areas to better replicate the environment that the Soldiers will encounter in Iraq and Afghanistan. Forward operating bases were added to replicate realistic living conditions and to enable practice scenarios for force protection requirements. Although the CTCs retain the capability to train for major combat operations, the current focus is on COIN and the integration of lessons learned from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The Army leadership has approved several initiatives designed to ensure that the CTCs continue to support the Army Force Generation (ARFORGEN) process. These initiatives include establishing both an overseas and stateside-based exportable training capability while also restructuring the BCTP. Because current CTC capacity will not be able to meet the projected training requirements for 76 BCTs, the Army is assessing whether to establish a second stateside-based site in the upcoming Program Objective Memorandum cycle. The restructuring of the BCTP provides the Army with the annual capability to support ARFORGEN with up to 20 BCTP simulation-driven Soldier exercises for combat headquarters (corps, division, brigade), as well as 21 support brigades and 15 theater/expeditionary support brigades.

Why is this important to the Army?
The CTC are essential to the success of the Army; they ensure Soldiers, units, and leaders are well prepared for the full spectrum of operations. No other means of training provides the Army with the ability to efficiently redistribute lessons learned through training or from the battlefield and to maintain the consistently tough and realistic training environment that our Soldier teams require for success in the current or future operating environments.

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