GRAFENWOEHR, Germany (Oct. 16, 2013) -- The 7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command Simulation Center at Camp Aachen, in Grafenwoehr, Germany, recently hosted more than 1,700 U.S. and multinational Soldiers during the United States Army Europe semi-annual exercise Unified Endeavor, which will conclude Oct. 18.

Exercise participants included Soldiers of the NATO Rapid Deployable Corps based in Istanbul, Turkey, the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), from Fort Drum, N.Y., the 18th Airborne Corps and the 44th Medical Brigade, both based at Fort Bragg, N.C. The participants are supported during the exercise by Soldiers and civilian training professionals from Joint Multinational Training Command's, or JMTC's, Joint Multinational Simulation Center.

Trainers say the objective of the exercise is to train, rehearse, and contribute to the overall preparation of primary headquarters for units that will be assigned as, or attached to International Security Assistance Forces, known as ISAF, in Afghanistan.

The three phases of the exercise consist of academic training (how to develop a plan), development of the operations plan, and execution of the operations order. Each phase is designed to train Joint Task Force Component Commanders and their staffs, at the operational level.

"Unified Endeavor is a critical exercise and has been since the inception of ISAF -- today among the NATO partners, you have a common background and framework and a commonality of shared interests that have been forged by deploying together, serving together and training together in exercises like Unified Endeavor," said Lt. Gen. Frederick "Ben" Hodges, commanding general for Allied Land Command, the new NATO headquarters located in Izmir.

"Unified Endeavor is not simply about shared procedures, it's about shared understanding among the many different forces that we partner with," said Hodges.

Unified Endeavor is especially important to commands like Hodges,' which is responsible for standardizing and assessing all NATO land forces and ensuring interoperability within the NATO multinational command structure.

"This is such a fantastic place and, as far as training, there's no other place quite like it. Nobody can touch the capacity of JMTC in Europe," said Hodges.

"What I am thinking about now, after more than a decade of deploying and training together is how we can retain the interoperability and smooth cooperation that comes from exercises like this, after ISAF," said Hodges. "At NATO, we are always looking at that future at making training affordable, and Grafenwoehr is part of that."

Unified Endeavor culminates with a computer-simulated exercise designed to sharpen military commanders' joint and multinational war-fighting skills.

Exercise planners say the simulation center is ideal for exercises such as Unified Endeavor due to its capabilities, size and central location in Europe amongst U.S. allies. JMTC Soldiers and civilians at the simulation center regularly train with multinationals allies and partner nations.

Computer war gaming had been used successfully since the early 1980s, by the U.S. Army and provided potential cost-savings toward the training of not only joint staffs, such as those participating in exercises like Unified Endeavor, but also the preparation of U.S. and multinational Soldiers for combat missions.

JMTC trainers say regular training with models and simulations is just one of many tools available on the U.S. Army's Grafenwoehr and Hohenfels Training Areas. Used in conjunction with the live-fire ranges, maneuver areas, simulation and training resources, it will help prepare U.S. and partner-nation forces to prevent conflicts, shape strong international partnerships, and, if necessary, win decisively on any battlefield.

Page last updated Wed October 16th, 2013 at 00:00